How To Finish Maple Wood? [Know The Steps]


How To Finish Maple Wood

The beauty and grace of maple wood are irresistibly impressive. So it is commonly used for flooring, furniture items, cabinets, doors, etc. But will the maple wood look the same for years? No. To maintain the beauty and shine of the maple wood, finishing it from time to time is very important. Refinishing maple wood brightens it as well as increases the lifespan of the wood. 

However, different types of wood have different ways of finishing. In the case of maple wood, a series of activities are done to finish it. Now here comes the challenge. Many people miss out on the steps and often mess it up. To do it correctly, knowing the steps is very important. And this is exactly why I am here today. 

With years of experience and skills, I am here to discuss the best way of finishing maple wood. Be it in doors or cabinets, floor or walls, these finishing tips will be always useful. If you see your maple wood becoming dull and shineless, this article is for you!

4 Simple Steps To Finish Maple Wood: Learn In Easy Steps

In this part, I will explain the finishing process of maple wood in 4 steps. Note that in these four steps, there will be smaller parts. I have divided the process broadly into four steps but it is more than that. You will need to repeat many of the tasks and redo many things to get the best result. 

Without further discussion, let’s get into the steps of finishing the maple wood: 

Step 1: Sand The Maple Wood

The first part of finishing the maple wood is to sand it. Sanding removes the damaged areas and cleans away the fragile parts making them durable and sturdy. But before sanding, choose a ventilated area. 

Using 120-grit sandpaper, start sanding the surface of maple wood until it becomes plain and smooth. Make sure you go towards the direction of the grains. Otherwise, sanding may make the maple wood rough and messed up. 

Next, sand the surface once again with 220-grit sandpaper. This will deeply polish the surface removing all the damaged parts. This can be harsh on the wood. But ultimately, it improves the condition of the maple. 

Sanding is done, right? So now, wipe away the sawdust from the wood and use a vacuum cleaner to clean the area. Touch the surface to check for any unsmooth area. If you find any, sand the area once again and clean up. 

Note that you may also work with an electric sanding machine. But for the final sanding, you will need to sand with your hands anyways. 

Step 2: Apply Linseed Or Dutch Oil On The Maple

Applying linseed oil or dutch oil is a crucial part to get the best finish. But many people miss this out. You should not skip this as linseed oil strengthens the wood, penetrates deep into the core, brightens the stain and color of the wood, and makes the wood scratch and moisture-proof. So yes, you must apply linseed oil on the maple. 

If you want a deeper stain on the maple, you can use dutch oil. The application procedure will be the same. Note that wearing gloves is necessary during this process. 

In a bowl of linseed oil, slightly wet a rag in this. Starting from the middle of the wood and moving towards the edges, apply linseed oil using the rag. You can apply more on the wood to spread the oil equally throughout the wood. But don’t apply extra. Rub the rag back and forth in the direction of the grain for the best result. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes to let it penetrate the wood. 

Now wipe away the extra oil with a soft rag. In the same way, you applied the oil initially, apply the second layer of linseed or dutch oil on the wood. Leave it for a day to get completely soaked in by the wood. In the end, if you are satisfied with the color depth, you can move to the next part. Otherwise, you can put on more coating of linseed oil on the wood. 

Step 3: Stain The Maple Wood

Staining the maple wood helps you to get the desired color and is responsible for the glossy and tiptop look. It penetrates deep into the wood and gives it the color it shows. 

But before you stain, brush a coating of pre-stain on the wood. You can get a ready pre-stain at any hardware shop. This is important to let the stain sit well on the wood. Okay, so after applying a coat of pre-stain, let it settle for 10 to 15 minutes. Then use a rag to remove the residues of the pre-stain from the wood. 

Now just as you applied the linseed oil, you have to apply the stain. Use a rag or a brush to soak the wood with the stain. Choose a stain color you like, wet a rag in it, strain the extra stain, and start working from the middle. Move towards the sides following the grains and put a coating. Don’t overapply it but spread the stain equally throughout the maple wood. 

After 15 minutes, wipe away the extra stain from the wood with a soft cloth. Then let it sit for 4 to 6 hours. Come back again and touch it at any point to check if it is sticky. If yes, you need to wait until it dries out completely. 

As it dries out, apply a second coating of maple wood stain. After 15 minutes, wipe away the extra stain and let it dry out for 4 to 6 hours. Once it dries out, you can move to the next step if you are satisfied with the color depth. If not, you can apply another layer of stain. 

Step 4: Apply for A Clear Coat Protection

A clear coat protective layer on the maple wood top simply protects the wood from damage. All that you have done yet is kind of locked under the layer of the clear coat. 

So first, shake the bottle of the polyurethane clear coat can. Then with a stick, stir the coating inside the can to remove the bubbles and bring a uniform consistency. 

Wet a paintbrush in the can of a clear coat. Now apply it from the center towards the edges. From the edge, work again towards the center, move it back and forth and cover the maple wood surface. After applying the initial coat, leave it for at least 5 hours. Come back to see if it is sticky or not. If found sticky, leave it again to let it dry completely. 

Next, sand the surface gently with 220-grit sandpaper towards the grain direction. Sanding helps the layers to settle firmly and makes the wood sturdier. After you sand the surface, wipe away the dust first. Then apply a second layer of polyurethane clear coat and leave it to dry. If not satisfied with the gloss, you can apply another coat of clear coat after the second coating dries out. 

And yes, that is it!

2 Ways To Finish Maple Wood With Dewaxed Shellac And Dye:

Apart from the process mentioned above, you can finish maple wood in two other ways. These are two easy ways out to make your maple wood item look stunning and top-notch. So if you want an alternative to finishing the maple wood in the traditional way, you can follow any of these options. 

Here are the two different ways to finish maple wood: 

1. Applying Dewaxed Shellac: 

Dewaxed shellac is for those who love the original color of the wood and want to finish it without changing the color. Not only that but this also works as a sealant on the wood protecting it from water, moisture, and humidity. Also, as it allows you to apply a lacquer clear coat on it, you get a better finish. 

Here I briefly note down the steps to use the dewaxed shellac: 

  • Start by sanding the maple wood with 220-grit sandpaper. Then wipe away the dust;
  • Now dip a rag in the shellac can and apply it evenly on the wood. Be very fast as shellac dries on the wood very fast. Try not to put extra layers of shellac on the wood. Let it dry for 15 minutes;
  • Next sand the layer once again with thin sandpaper; 
  • For a dewy and glossy look, apply the shellac coating once again. If needed, apply a third coat; 
  • Let the layers dry. In the end, you can apply a lacquer clear coat or paste wax for a shiny and polished look. Make sure to buff it for a fine finish.

2. Apply A Dye: 

Applying a dye on the maple wood means to deeply color the wood. You can choose a dye color of your choice to get the desired color. On top of that, use a clear coat to protect the wood dye. 

Here are the steps to apply a dye on maple wood: 

  • Start with sanding the wood with 220-grit sandpaper and wipe away the dust; 
  • Mix a dye of your choice with denatured alcohol to dilute it. The ratio will be 25-50% dye and 75-50% of denatured alcohol;
  • With a rag, apply the diluted dye to the maple wood. Start from the center to the edges and work fast. Let the dye get absorbed for about 10- 15 minutes; 
  • Then sand the surface lightly to remove the extra layer of dye;
  • Apply another layer of dye on the surface, let it dry, and sand it; 
  • Now apply the third layer of dye and let it sit;
  • In the end, wet a rag with denatured alcohol and put a layer of it on the wood surface. This evens out the dye and makes it glossy; 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What Finish Should You Use On Maple? 

Commonly, linseed oil or dutch oil is used to finish maple wood followed by applying a wood stain and clear coat. Apart from this, you can also use a dewaxed shellac finish which gives a subtle dewy look.

On top of that, apply a polyurethane clear coat to protect the wood from heat and moisture. Another easy alternative is to dye the maple wood to get a fine finish on it. 

Do You Need To Seal Maple Wood? 

No sealant can completely protect maple wood from warping or damaging. Regular maintenance is necessary to maintain its condition. However, applying a sealant on maple wood surely improves its moisture resistance and durability.

For instance, applying linseed oil before staining is basically sealing the wood. So yes, it is always better to seal maple wood. 

What Kind Of Stain Do You Use On Maple? 

Staining maple wood is sort of a difficult task. The tight grains don’t soak in stains easily. This is why you need to sand between the layers of stains. However, if you want a really deep color, using a dye is a better option than using a pigment stain. It sustains for a long time and gives deep color. 

Can You Use Polyurethane On Maple? 

Yes, you can apply a polyurethane clear coat on maple. In fact, you should apply it to ensure that the maple is protected from moisture and external conditions. Not only does it improve the lifespan of the maple but also gives a glossy and dazzling look to the maple wood. 

What Stain Colors Look Good On Maple?

Stain adds color to maple. So it is important to choose the right color that looks good on the natural tone of maple. Here are some options of colors you can apply on maple wood: 

  • Natural maple color;
  • Golden brown oak shade;
  • Light brown creamy cinnamon;
  • Coffee brown walnut stain;
  • Deep reddish-brown mahogany;

These are some common options you can look into. 

Final Thoughts: 

Finishing maple wood is not as difficult as you may have assumed. Now if you follow the steps mentioned above, it should be very simple for you.

To improve the condition of maple wood and make it appear brand new, finish the maple wood now!

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