Finishing

Tip 1 Staining ash:

Wheelback double bow half front view

Wheelback double bow coloured with instant coffee

This is always difficult to achieve without the ash looking obviously stained and artificial. It’s easy to colour but not so easy to make it look natural. My solution to this problem is to use instant coffee – Nestle Gold Blend. Add 7 heaped teaspoons of coffee to about 250 ml of warm water and stir to dissolve. Use as follows:

  1. Apply with a rag to the bare sanded wood. The stain is forgiving of poor technique but some care must still be taken to avoid uneven staining.
  2. Allow to dry thoroughly and then sand with 500 grit paper.
  3. Re-apply stain
  4. Allow to dry and rub down with 0000 wire wool
  5. Vacuum off and wire wool debris and apply finish in normal way. There should be no need to seal the wood as the pores are filled with fine sawdust and the grain has been thoroughly sanded.

I have used this staining method a number of times over the past three years with great success. I have one particular chair that has been sitting in full sun for 3 years and the stain shows no tendency to fade, so in British conditions it appears to be effectively light-fast.