• July 19, 2023

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Pigment Oil Stains

There are advantages and disadvantages to using pigment oil stains. While you may enjoy the advantages of this stain over the other two types, you should be aware of the disadvantages before deciding to use this stain for your wood refinishing project.


o Pigment oil stains are easily prepared.

o They are highly versatile and are ideal for all types of joinery, from baseboard blocks to custom joinery.

o They are very easy to apply, even by children.

o They do not lift the grain. Consequently, there is no need to sponge or re-sand. This saves you a lot of work when using this type of stain in finishing wood.

o They can be used on thin sheets without the risk of the glue coming loose.

o They are cheaper to apply than water stains. As a result, they are used in cheap furniture and often in home finishes.

o They are good for use on the inside of boxes where it is difficult to pick up the grit and resand. Large wooden furniture such as wooden railings, or a wooden cabinet, for example.

o They generally contain a certain amount of some drying oil, such as linseed oil, and when they dry they leave a thin film similar to a varnish that protects the wood to some extent.

o A drying oil, such as linseed oil, unless bleached, will darken the wood even without mixing with any color.

o Oil colors can be mixed with wood filler, allowing stains and fillers to be combined in a single operation.

o Oil stains can be used successfully on certain highly absorbent woods, such as cypress, which becomes very rough and porous when water staining is attempted.

o Stains that contain a drying oil, such as linseed oil, do not penetrate as deeply into the wood as they do when using turpentine. However, dyes with drying oils as the vehicle give a flat, even shade because they do not penetrate unevenly into points due to uneven waviness or end grain around or near the knots.

o Attractive effects can be produced with several of the pigment oil stains on some of the close grained woods such as poplar, cherry, maple, white pine and even walnut which is somewhat porous.


o Oil stains do not penetrate deeply, so they are easily cut with sandpaper or wear away quickly with use.

o Oil stains are difficult to re-stain. Therefore, the right color must be ensured with a coat. (If the stain is lifted with benzene, another darker color can be applied

with some success).

o Oil stain pigments are opaque and remain on the surface to some extent; they darken the grain and cause a loss of transparency.

o Oil stains are more expensive than water stains and do not cover as much surface area gallon for gallon.

o If applied too slowly, or not rubbed in soon enough, an oil stain can get too deep into the pores to dry quickly. Later, it can ooze out and cause


o Oil stains require several days to dry properly. For this reason, if you choose to stain mantel shelves, or entire mantels, for either an electric or gas fireplace, you should wait until it is completely and utterly dry until you start a fire.

o Oil stains are likely to “lift” or flake off to some extent with the filler.

o The color shades available in pigment oil stains are more limited than in water stains.

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