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How to Stain Tree Slabs

If you cut a slab from a tree trunk to use in a project, you'll need to allow it plenty of time, often several months, to completely dry out.

Stain your slab to correct discolorations.
Before it dries, it'll be "green," and if you try to apply stain at this time your work may be undermined by cracking during the drying process. While it will take some time before your slab is ready to use in a furniture or crafting project, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that your one-of-a-kind piece will stay attractive for years. .

Fill any cracks or holes with wood filler and allow the filler to dry.

Sand both sides of your slab starting with coarse sandpaper, then use medium grit and finish the job with your hand sander using fine paper. Wipe away any dust with your rag.

Spread out your tarp across your work area and place the slab on top of it.

Dip a clean rag into the stain and smear a light coat of stain over the top of the slab, blending and rubbing as you go along. Continue to apply stain until the slab's top is completely and evenly covered. Allow the stain to dry for a day or two to determine whether an additional coat will be necessary.

Turn over the slab and repeat the application process on the side. Once the self-sealing stain is dry, your work is complete.

Things You Will Need

  • Dry tree slab
  • Wood filler
  • Belt sander
  • Hand sander
  • Fine, medium and coarse grit sandpapers
  • Rags
  • Tarp
  • Oil-based stain, self-sealing

Tip

  • You'll have better results if you apply a few coats of mineral oil to each side of your slab before you dry out your wood.

Warning

  • Use stains in a well-ventilated area.

About the Author

Katherine Harder kicked off her writing career in 1999 in the San Antonio magazine "Xeriscapes." She's since worked many freelance gigs. Harder also ghostwrites for blogs and websites. She is the proud owner of a (surprisingly useful) Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University.