What is the benefit of a water based stain?

Water-based stains have very low odour, and are easy to use and clean up.
They are also available in an extensive range of colours. To thin stain use distilled water.

Is grain raising (with water based products) a concern?

In short—no, but it is a question of personal taste. The grain does not feel rough to touch; it has a more textured feel. This means that the pattern of the timber can be felt through the timber finish. Many customers prefer to be able to feel the timber. If several coats of varnish are applied then grain raising is not a concern because the varnish will seal over the grain that has been raised, thus creating a smooth surface.

What is the definition of stain?

Stain is coloured liquid that does not offer a sheen or protection, it simply colours the timber. Some stains can also provide a protective coating, however we believe that a stain should simply colour the timber. A better result is achieved when clear coats are applied separately.

Why do some trades people combine solvent-based stain with lacquer?

Combining solvent-based stain with lacquer removes the process of staining timber separately. This often provides a low quality finish because the colour tends to be suspended in the varnish on the surface of the timber, rather than seeping into the grain. This means that the grain becomes obscured and the beauty of the timber is diminished.

How do I apply the stain?

Pre-sand the timber with 180 grit sand paper prior to applying stain. Apply to raw timber only.
Hand staining:
Stir well before use. Apply with a clean, soft lint-free white cloth. Coloured cloths should be avoided as dyes in the cloth may cause discolouration of the stain. Apply the stain to wet the entire surface, leave for a few minutes and then wipe off with a second cloth, always working along the grain. Failure to wet the entire surface may result in uneven stain penetration, patchy drying and uneven colour. The skill employed during wiping off is important, this will greatly enhance the evenness of the colour, grain definition and highlight the timber’s natural figuring. If sufficient depth of colour cannot be obtained with numerous applications, a spray colour should be incorporated into the finishing process.
Spray application:
The stain can be applied using a spray gun and wiped off with a clean lint-free cloth.
The stain can be applied by dip application but it is advisable to ‘rag off’ afterwards to achieve an even degree of staining and enhanced grain definition.
Over coating:
Allow to dry for 4 hours (at 25°C) before over-coating with lacquer. A solvent-based product must be used as a first coat sealer. Water based sealers can subsequently be applied.
Thinning stains is generally not required and is discouraged. However if thinning, use clean water and thin by no greater than 5%.
14-18 square metres per 1 litre per coat. This is a rough guide only; the coverage will be largely dependent on the type of application.
Clean up:
Clean up with water.
Always test the colour on a small section of timber prior to staining. No claim will be recognised once stain has been applied.

What is the difference between AKWA stain and Eco stain?

AKWA stain is a water-based stain for use under solvent-based topcoats only. Once AKWA stain is sealed with a solvent-based topcoat, water based topcoats can be applied. ECO stain is a water-based stain that can be used under water-based topcoats.

Can solvent-based lacquer be used with ECO stain?

Yes, however using AKWA stain is more economical.

Why does colour vary?

Timber is a product of nature and therefore there will always be slight variations in grain, colour and tone. The Traditional Stain Company stain is translucent and gives a natural look that highlights the beauty of the timber. It is not the stain that varies, but the timber itself. Due to the nature of timber, even a clear coat finish will produce variations in colour. When matching flooring to furniture and cabinetry, care must be taken to match the colour grain and species of the raw timber product.

Can stain be used outdoors?

Like most stains the colour will fade outdoors, therefore it is not recommended for outdoor use.

Can I stain internal timber doors?

Yes, internal timber doors can be stained to match other indoor timber such as floors, doors, joinery and furniture.

Can stain be applied to topcoats?

No, water-based stain can only be applied to raw timber.

Can stain be mixed with lacquer?


Can I mix colours from the AKWA range?

Yes, you can make your own colours by mixing them together. Simply add distilled water to lighten the tone.

Can solvent-based topcoats be used with water-based stain?

Yes, with AKWA stain it is essential.

Can I use water-based top coats?

Yes, however only with ECO stain. AKWA stain requires a solvent-based topcoat prior to applying water-based topcoats.

Can ECO stain be diluted?


Do overlapping marks appear?

No, always keep a wet edge and try to complete entire areas or rooms at a time. If you need to stop, try to do so in a doorway or at a join. This will make it easier to blend the colour when you continue.

How do I ensure consistency of colour on furniture and cabinetry?

Whether you are fabricating and staining yourself, or employing a cabinetmaker, it is essential to check that the raw timber is matched for grain and colour. This will ensure that the colour is consistent once stained.

Why should I use The Traditional Stain Company water based stain?

Water-based stains are safe and easy to use. It allows you to do away with ventilation masks because there are no toxic odours. It is also easy to clean up and best of all it provides a rich natural look.

Why do some finishers prefer solvent-based stains?

In the past, water-based stains lacked the richness of colour that is now achievable. It was difficult to get the consistency of tone and colour over large areas. With The Traditional Stain Company products large areas can be covered quickly and easily with consistent colour.

What are VOC's?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) refers to organic chemical compounds which have significant vapour pressures that can affect the environment and human health. VOC's are numerous, varied and ubiquitous. Although VOC's include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds, it is the anthropogenic VOC's that are regulated, especially for indoor use where concentrations can be highest. VOC's are typically not acutely toxic but have chronic effects.

For additional information on VOC's, visit the following websites:

Australian Government, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
Safer Solutions - keeping your home healthy and green.
Haymes Paints - what are VOCs.

What is s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?

An MSDS is a document produced by manufacturers about hazardous substances or products.
General information on MSDSs can be found on the Safer Solutions website Click here.

You can download a copy of the Traditional Stain Company MSDS here.

Whilst every attempt has been made to provide information that is accurate, it is not reasonable to say that staining advice can apply to every timber finishing situation. All timbers have a different make-up and consequently influence topcoats in their own way. For example, a species of timber that is newly cut will colour differently to the same species that has been cut for 2 years, similarly one that has been cut for 2 years will colour differently to one that has been cut for 10 years. Timber finishing advice is always a guideline only.