Does Douglas Fir Stain Well? All You Need To Know!

Does Douglas Fir Stain Well

Douglas fir is a popular wood type that use for making boats, aircraft, and many other small and large constructions. It has good durability and workability.

Therefore, Douglas fir is used for many woodworking projects, and they last longer with proper finishing.

When I was finishing my Douglas fir woodworking projects, I was always wondered Does Douglas fir stain well?

Here’s what I’ve found:

Yes, Douglas Fir does stain well, but it’s not easy. The uneven texture and variable porous structure of Douglas fir make the wood difficult to stain. The red and orange hues of Douglas fir can pop through the stain, and you need to have good preparation and patience before staining.

But that’s a quick snapshot and there’s a lot more to know about does Douglas fir stain well.

So, in this article we’ll deeply discuss about does Douglas fir accepts stain, what is the best stain for Douglas fir, and how to stain Douglas fir.

Furthermore, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about Douglas fir as well.

So, let’s keep going!

Is Douglas Fir Good for Staining?

Yes, Douglas Fir is good for staining, but you need to have a lot of preparation and patience. The variable porosity and uneven texture of Douglas fir make the wood so hard to stain.

Staining Douglas fir to get its natural shade is a challenging task.

The vertical grain pattern differs according to the porosity of different areas of the wood and hard to achieve the color as we wish.

Careful preparation and patience are the keys to success in Douglas fir staining.

The bright red and orange color hues of Douglas fir can pop through the stain. Therefore, it’s important to know what the best stain products for Douglas fir staining are.

What Is the Best Stain for Douglas Fir?

Even though mostly any stain works well with Douglas fir, Gel stain is considered the best stain product for Douglas fir.

Gel stain is easy to apply on Douglas fir than many other stain products.

It is closer to paint and helps to get the uniform color all over the wood without surface blotchiness.

The thickness of gel stain limits the absorption, and it helps to apply the stain evenly and spread it more before sinks compared to liquid stain types.

So, let’s find out how to stain Douglas fir properly without making any mistakes.

How To Stain Douglas Fir?

Before staining Douglas fir you need to have good preparation and patience. Because staining Douglas fir is not an easy task.

Here’re the requirements you need to have before the staining project.

Tip: If you’re going for an oil stain instead of a gel stain, apply wax paste or linseed oil to protect the wood.

For any other type of stain product, apply lacquer, polyurethane, or varnish topcoats to seal and protect the wood.

Here are the steps you need to follow when staining Douglas fir. They are,

  1. Clean and sand the wood.
  2. Remove dust.
  3. Apply wood conditioner.
  4. Apply the stain.
  5. Let the wood dry completely.

So, let’s discuss each step you should follow to apply stain on Douglas fir perfectly.

 1. Clean and Sand the Wood

Because of being a softwood, Douglas fir doesn’t need deep sanding for surface preparation.

But sanding is essential to accept the stain by gaining a nice and smooth surface.

By sanding with 100-grit sandpaper, you’ll be able to remove dust, debris, and surface inconsistencies.

When you’re sanding, make sure to apply even pressure throughout the wood.

Otherwise, the surface will not gain uniform smoothness and cause surface blotchiness once the stain is applied.

A sanding block is recommended to do the sanding with even pressure.

Sanding along the direction of the wood grain helps the wood to accept the stain so well and avoid making any scratches or unsightly marks on the wood.

When you’re sanding the wood pores will open and make them available to accept the stain.

But make sure not to use high grit sandpapers, because they’ll close the wood pores and make them difficult to accept the wood stain

2. Remove Dust

Once you’re done with sanding, clean the whole wood using a rag or clean cloth to eliminate sawdust. Because if you apply stain without removing sawdust, the stain bubbles may occur.

The remaining dust and debris can be eliminated by using a sponge or clean cloth.

Cleaning and sanding are the most important part of any woodworking project.

3. Apply Wood Conditioner

Douglas fir is considered a difficult wood to stain because of its uneven texture.

But by applying wood conditioner prior to wood stain, you’ll be able to apply the wood stain evenly throughout the wood surface.

By applying a pre-stain wood conditioner before staining, it will help the wood to take stain evenly without getting blotches and streaks while applying stain.

For a woodworker, my advice is using a wood conditioner before staining is a must with wood like Douglas fir.

Because wood conditioner will help to avoid making most of the wood staining mistakes.

Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner is great for this task which I personally recommend.

But always make sure to take both stain product and wood conditioner product from the same manufacturer to avoid any incompatibilities.

Two coats of wood conditioner are recommended because, as soon as you apply the first coat of wood conditioner, it will absorb as you rub it.

The second coat will be set on top of the wooden surface and make the wood ready to accept the stain.

Apply wood conditioner evenly through the whole surface and is set for another 15 minutes.

After that remove the excess wood conditioner using a clean cloth and apply the second coat and let it dry for another 15 – 30 minutes.

4. Apply Wood Stain

Once the second coat of wood conditioner is dried completely, you can start applying wood stain to the Douglas fir.

Make sure to apply thin coats of gel stain to avoid drying issues. Because gel stain has a thick consistency and thick coats of stain can lead to a tacky surface.

Apply stain along the direction of the wood grain for better acceptance and make sure to apply all over the wood with uniform pressure without missing any spot.

Remove excess wood stain using a clean cloth.

Make sure to focus on how much pressure you should apply to the paintbrush. Because the pressure is high the resulting color is deeper. 

if you’re using gel stain, one coat of gel stain is well enough for the job. But if you’re using any other type of wood stain, at least two coats of stain are recommended.

Make sure to let the first coat of stain dry completely before applying another coat. Because proper drying helps to avoid many wood stain mistakes.

5. Let the Wood Dry Completely

After the application of each coat of wood stain, let the wood dry for nearly 24 hours before applying another coat of stain.

If you apply another coat of stain even before the previous coat dried, that can lead to a serious problem and your whole project can be ruined and will have to start over from the beginning.

So, drying is so important when staining.

Applying thin coats of stain will reduce the drying time and improve the process efficiency.

Does Douglas Fir Stain Like Pine?

Pine is so hard to stain, not like Douglas fir. Pine has uneven density and wood stain hardly penetrates through the wood.

Therefore, most people tend to paint pine wood rather than apply wood stain.

But Douglas fir is comparatively easy to stain and wood stain will absorb so easily due to the porous structure of Douglas fir.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Does Douglas Fir Stain Well?

In this article we have deeply discussed about does Douglas fir stain well and is Douglas fir good for staining by taking the unique characteristic features of Douglas fir.

Gel stain is considered the best wood stain for Douglas fir and only one coat of gel stain is enough to make the project succeed.

Furthermore, we have discussed how to stain Douglas fir without making any wood staining mistakes and answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about does Douglas fir stain well and how to do that.

So, let’s begin your next woodworking project with Douglas fir. Have fun in woodworking!

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

1 thought on “Does Douglas Fir Stain Well? All You Need To Know!”

  1. I would love to verify that the door you did above is Douglas fir and find out what brand and color of stain you used. That’s exactly what I am looking to do to my door. I’m referring to the pic that says:
    “1st coat of gel stain done. Looking pretty good”

    Thanks for all the info in this article


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