Wear latex gloves when dealing with stain. Also a mask. Also work in a ventilated area, like outside.
Oh, I mentioned earlier that you should test your stains before doing anything, right? Yeah, do that. Give the stain’s can a few good shakes, open it up, dip a rag in, and smear it on some scrap that is the same wood as your enclosure. Do that with all of the stains. Let it sit for 4-6 hours. Which looks the most awesome? Use that one.
Staining isn’t hard. Just get a rag full of stain – I use old t-shirts – and wipe it on the enclosure, going with the grain. Be liberal with the amount and get everything covered and wiped in. It’s ok to handle your enclosure while staining if wearing gloves – it won’t mess it up, but do not lay it down while staining such that any stained part of it touches the surface.
If you have any spots of wood glue that didn’t get wiped or sanded off you’ll know right away. It’ll show with the stain. Sorry, you messed up and can either let the stain dry, sand it off, and re-stain, or live with it. Best thing is just get it before staining.
If you’d like to make your wood especially dark or whatever, just let the stain dry in accordance to the instructions printed on it, and then add another coat. Usually after an hour or so you can add another coat, though.
Let it dry on somethings so it can touch the absolute least amount of stuff. Like this.
If you have a work bench, I like to take a 2×4 that is a few feet long and use a clamp to clap it on the edge of the work bench. This gives you a nice place to “hang” your enclosure while it dries.
16 hours later.
Noice, the stain dried and it looks nice. We’re nearing the end folks. It’s just time to add some protection and finish to your enclosure. I said to use a spray finish like shellac or polyurethane. Just do that.
This stuff can smell bad and be bad for you. Wear a mask and do it somewhere ventilated. Outside is ok, but anything floating around in the air is gonna stick to the finish. Good luck.
Take your enclosure and put it on something flat. I use broken down Amazon boxes. Just something that’s large and can get full of crap without worry. Shake up your spray and let it rip. By let it rip, I mean, position the nozzle about 10″ away from the surface of your enclosure and use light and swift swipes to coat it. We’ll be doing multiple spray runs and even is better than heavy.
Do one coating and let it dry. Give it an hour, come back, and do it again. How many times you do this can depend on what you’re using, but in general, you’ll want to do it a number of times. You may also find that after a coat there are little bumps or hairs showing. Yep, it wasn’t smooth as a baby’s bottom. It’s now time to use some really find sandpaper (1000-1500 grit or so) and sand it all down, damp cloth wipe everything a few times, and spray it more. Even if it looks rough after sanding, the spray finish will fill in the micro scratches caused by sanding and shine it up. Just keep doing this until you’re happy.
Well, would you look at that, you made a nice box! Errrr… enclosure! It’s shiny, woody, imperfect, but damn looks awesome. Congrats. I’m proud of you.