Finishing Instructions

Preparing the Surface

Your furniture has been pre-sanded, but most unfinished pieces need additional fine sanding. Sand lightly over the whole piece using 100 to 220 grit sandpaper (grit depends on the type of wood). The objective in pre-sanding is to open the pores of the wood consistently so it will accept the stain evenly plus, remove any dirt or oil that may be in the wood during shipping. Also sand any areas that are not very smooth. You don’t need to sand extensively, just enough to get the super rough areas. The main reason for not sanding much is because once you put a wet substance on wood, it swells the grain and makes it rough again. This is very normal. The sanding you do between your coats of finish will smooth this out. This step should only take you 5 to 10 minutes.

Staining

Once you have sanded your piece, wipe off the dust created by sanding with a dry cloth. You are now ready to stain your piece of furniture. Stir the stain to be sure it is thoroughly mixed. Using a cotton cloth (old T-shirt), wipe on the stain with the grain. Do a test spot in an inconspicuous area so you can be sure of the stain color before proceeding. Stain one surface area at a time. Once you have stained it, you should go back over it and smooth out any rag marks you may have created while staining with a clean rag. Let your stain dry a minimum of 8 hours. We recommend over night in more humid conditions. If you desire the color to be a little deeper and darker, add one more coat of stain the same way you did the first. More than two coats of stain will not do much to the color. Once the staining is done, do not sand, only sand after the Polyurethane.

Applying the Top Coat

You are now ready to put on your first coat of finish. Make sure that the stain is completely dry before you put your finish on. Apply the Arm-R-Seal the same way you put on the stain, with a cotton rag. Again, wipe it with the grain and just what the wood will accept. Let that coat dry overnight. The next day, lightly sand with the grain using 600 grit sandpaper,  0000 steel wool or a fine sanding sponge. Your piece of furniture is going to be pretty rough, but this is normal. Wipe off the dust with a dry cloth. Apply your second coat of Arm-R-Seal the same as the first. Again, lightly sand the entire piece after the second coat is dry. This time it should be almost completely smooth. Again, wipe off the dust with a dry rag. This is your last coat of finish. Apply it the same as the first two. Let it dry overnight. If it is not as smooth as you would like it to be, you can apply a fourth coat. Sometimes this is needed because the wood absorbed more of the finish. After your final application, do not sand. It is ready to use.

Enjoy your masterpiece!