Over the last few months, we have been looking at the various preparatory steps involved in applying stain to wood. Today, we come to the conclusion of this series as we look at how to apply stain. While I have been mentioning this in most of my earlier posts, I would like to reiterate that stains help augment the grain patterns and give them a more enhanced look. If you landed here directly, do consider checking all the other posts in the staining series.
Complete guide to wood staining
Applying wood stain technique
How to apply stain
The application of stain is much like how we applied sealant in the last tutorial. The following are the materials required :
  • A bottle of stain (Asian paints / MRF / Wudfin / Sheenlac )
  • Gada Cloth
  • Thinner (If you need the color to be lighter)

Application procedure

  • Pour the stain into a bowl
  • Mix thinner only if you want the shade to be lighter
  • Dip the gada cloth in the bowl of stain
  • Dab it to squeeze the excess stain
  • Apply the stain along the grains covering a small area
  • Allow a minute or two for the stain to be absorbed by the wooden surface
  • Before the stain is dry, wipe of the excess stain off the surface (using a dry piece of gada cloth)
Applying wood stain - How to
How to apply wood stain
  • Repeat the procedure until you have covered the entire surface area of the wood
  • Give it about 30 minutes drying time before you apply the subsequent coats
  • Apply multiple coats as desired
  • Remember to apply varnish or other top coats for long term durability
And that is about it. Just one thing though. Much like any other activity, achieving perfection in staining takes lot of patience and practice. You may probably not get it the first time. But it is not rocket science and with little repeat effort, you will be happy with what you can do to your small furniture and other craft projects.

Follow these steps and let me know how you fared in staining. If you think I missed something or something can be done in a better way, leave me your comments.
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Before looking at how to use the sanding sealer, do understand three important things :
Complete guide to wood staining

Materials required 

  • Sanding sealer
  • NC Thinner
  • Gada Cloth (for applying the sealer)
  • Sand paper (220 grit)
All the above materials are easily available in the local hardware store.

Sealing wood
Materials required - Sealing Wood


  • Pour 1 part of sanding sealer in a bowl
  • Mix 2 parts of NC thinner to the sealer
  • Stir thoroughly to ensure the mix is consistent
  • Dab the gada cloth in the mix and apply it on the surface of the wood
  • Cover a small area in one stroke
  • Before the layer dries, wipe off the excess sealer using a dry cloth
  • Using the same method, apply the sealer across the entire surface area of the wood
  • Allow it about 1-2 hours of drying
  • Lightly sand the dried surface of the wood (Remember ? It is a sanding sealer)
  • Apply two to three coats of the sealer to achieve a really smooth surface. Remember to sand in between coats.
How to seal wood
How to seal wood
This sets the surface ready for the stain to be applied. The application of stain on the surface of the wood is very similar to that of how the sealer is applied. Will very soon post the stain application procedure. Meanwhile, do leave us a feedback in the comments section. If you think, staining can be done in a different and easier way, feel free to leave me a comment.

As we step into the fourth year of Woodooz tomorrow, we wanted to look back at our most favorite project ever. This center table - The first thing we ever made. Still remember how when we started, we had absolutely no clue how to go about it. The internet had loads of information, the plywood store guys were not so helpful and we had no expertise whatsoever to even think that we could pull it off.

It has been an enriching ride here in Woodooz with learning opportunities coming our way every other day. It is this table that made us ask the question, "Can we make it ourselves?" every time we wanted something for the home. Three years on, and we still proudly use this table in our living room.. It may have its minor defections, but to know that we built it from scratch has always given us immense pleasure.

The table has seen many a steaming coffee spills and yet has stood the test of time. Many a dinners have happened around it. We have used it for all our Scrabble and Rummy sessions. And to think how many conversations it has started only makes this table a personal favorite of ours. 

Center Table / Coffee Table
While I intend to do a "How to build your coffee table" using Sketchup illustrations (unfortunately, we never thought we would have a need to put up a DIY post ever and so we never took pictures at every step), I will leave you with the details on the materials, tools that I used to get this done. Do remember to leave us a, "Happy Blog Birthday" message and make our day :)

Materials usedTools usedFor the finishMiscellaneous
Deal wood for the legs
Plywood for the table top
One side teak (OST) for the top finish
Rubber bushes
Electric Drill
Drill bit for pilot hole
Drill bit for counter sink
4 inch screws
Glue (Fevicol SR)
L Shaped clamps
Headless nails
Screw Drivers
Emery (Sand) Paper (Grade 80, 100, 120)
Ramson wood sealant
MRF Wood stain
Clear Gloss Varnish
Gada Cloth
Vinyl Gloves

Table Measurement
Height 10.2 inches
Length 3 ft
Breadth 2 ft
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One of the most common questions that I get on mail and on comments is, ”Where do I start if I want to develop interest in carpentry” ? Not that I have gained enough authority on this subject, but since am quite often faced with this question, I decided to write about what worked for me. The objective of this post is not to make a professional woodworker out of you, but to draw your attention towards basic carpentry and the everyday projects that you can build around the house. So here goes - My 17 point recipe for starting a carpentry hobby:
Carpentry as a hobby
Starting a hobby in carpentry / woodworking
  1. Don’t let anyone make you think that DIY woodworking is not for the Indian conditions. It is as much possible here as much as it is elsewhere.
  2. Your first project: Choose one that is easy to make. Completing a DIY project, however small it may be, will encourage you enough to take up the next one. Start with something like a smartphone stand or a photo frame or whatever you want to make. My first project was a center table.
  3. Take a plunge and give your project a jump start. Don’t let something you don’t know slow you down. You will learn as you progress.
  4. Gift yourself a basic electric drill. You must own one.
  5. You don't need to have an entire collection of tools before you start. Buy them as and when you need them. I bought my collection of tools over a period of 3 years.
  6. There is no shame in outsourcing wherever you don’t have the skills or tools. I cut my plywood at the plywood store. I don’t have the space or proficiency to own and use a circular saw at home.
  7. Plan, plan, plan. Put your design in paper before you start the actual execution. Use a design software if necessary. It will save you materials,cost, time and energy.
  8. Keep your design simple and easy to make. Worry not much about joints to start with.
  9. Space can always be a constraint for an apartment dweller. Use whatever little space you have efficiently. A guest room or a balcony can be life savers. Just make sure you clean up once you are done.
  10. Read, read, read. Every bit of information is available on the Internet. Google and Youtube have been my best friends. Buy or borrow a book if necessary.
  11. Join like minded communities or forums. This will help you reach out to professionals who can provide valuable inputs.
  12. Join woodworking classes if your city has one to offer. It will put the foundation in place and help build more confidence.
  13. Practice, practice, practice. Nailing, screwing, gluing, cutting, sanding  – All come with practice.
  14. There is paint or stain, and clear varnish. Don’t confuse yourself with other finishing methods in the beginning. You will naturally transition to the next level with every project.
  15. Enjoy what you do. Carpentry is beyond the hard labor that it seems to be and beautifully functions as a hobby you can pursue with fervor.
  16. Take a break once in a while. This can be addictive and you don’t want it to get on your nerves.
  17. And finally, give utmost importance to safety. If you work in haste, you will repent in leisure.
Do you think you can add some more ingredients to my recipe ? Please let me know in the comments section.
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The sanded surface of the wood looks very smooth. But in reality, if you inspect closely, the wooden surface will have minute pores and jagged valleys. Application of stain directly on top of the sanded surface may, and I repeat, may result in uneven absorption of the stain. While the color is taken in well by most portion of the wooden surface, some portions may look patchy because of poor absorption of the applied stain.
Complete guide to wood staining
NC Sanding sealer
Sanding Sealer
Other posts in the staining wood series
1. Introduction to stains
2. Steps in staining wood
3. How to sand wood 
4. Wood sealers explained
5. How to seal wood
6. How to stain wood

Secondly, while sanding results in desired smoothness, it does not necessarily make the surface completely flat, and this you would notice when you run your palm / fingers along the sanded surface.

Sanding sealers help in overcoming the above two issues. Here's what sealers do when applied on a wooden surface:
  1. They fill the pores along the wooden surface and make it smooth to the touch 
  2. The allow for consistent absorption of stain coat preventing patchiness
  3. They also bring out the splendor of the grain pattern when stain is applied
  4. Each layer of sealer can be sanded with fine grit sand paper (hence the name sanding sealer) adding increasing levels of evenness to the surface
There is also an opinion that sealers should actually go on top of the stain and is not an equivalent of pre-stain conditioners. However, in my personal experience, since sealers are used with thinners, I have seen the thinner removing the stained color from off the surface. Most carpenters I have had a word with state that they actually mix the stain and sealer and apply it in one go. I have not tried it and hence not able to comment on it.

For now, we have already seen how sanding is a mandatory surface preparation step in the staining process. The next post is all about sealers and how they can be applied on wooden surface. Have you stained furniture before? Did you have to work with sealers? Leave me a comment and share your experience.
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Do it yourself is fun. The pleasure I derive from finishing a project is immensely fulfilling. The near end of one assignment almost immediately marks the beginning of the next envisioned idea. And there are countless conceived designs that are waiting to be executed. My grouse though is that most of the ideas are still only in their conception phase. I find it extremely hard to maintain the consistency with which I would like to indulge in this hobby.  And that, quite naturally, affects the frequency of posts you see here. While there are many factors, there is one main challenge that I face in being able to sustaining the DIY steadiness.


There is me time, we time, free time. There is work time, travel time. And amid all this I have to squeeze in hobby time. While working on a DIY project is one thing, making a post on it is another thing altogether. My last post on building a shoe rack took 6 hours of my Sunday to make just the illustrations. And the shoe rack itself took close to 12 effective hours spread across multiple days.

The fact that woodworking is an addictive hobby, it is not difficult to understand that you would soon get sucked into it much like any other pastime. Sometimes I am glued on to it for hours together completely oblivious to the passage of time. Spending time compromising on other priorities is quite concerning right?  Though at one point, I would have easily declared “not finding time” as a made-up myth, I am coming to realize that it is an apparent truth and a reality.

It is easier to read and hear about things like, “You have to work around your obstacles if you are really passionate about something”, and other such philosophies. But in reality, it becomes quite impossible to make compromises for just a hobby, even if it means am obsessively passionate about it. Right ?

Do you relate to the situation? How do you handle it? Leave me a comment. Am sure it would make me feel better.

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Yeah, I was equally shocked when I heard this news about closure of Google Reader from end of this month for two reasons :
  1. I follow close to 70+ remarkable crafts / home décor / arts / DIY and related blogs on Google Reader
  2. There is a possibility of losing existing RSS followers of Woodooz who currently are using Google Reader
The purpose of this post is two fold :
  1. Tell our existing subscribers to migrate from Google Reader (if that is what you are using) before it is too late
  2. Tell all the non-subscribers to go ahead and start subscribing to our RSS feed

Here’s two reasons why you should not worry about subscribing to the Woodooz feed :
  1. Our objective is to post 1 post every week. Sometimes, we post two. Most times, we fall short of meeting even this objective. Bottom line :  You will not see a torrent of updates from us everyday.
  2. Woodooz is all about Indian Woodworking, DIY, Arts and Crafts. I reiterate. It is all about only that. We completely avoid digressing, deviating, going off tangent, wandering, and straying (add every other synonym that you can find to this list). Except of course for an occasional post like this. 
If you are new here and not sure what to expect from subscribing, do take a moment to view our gallery to understand what we do here. If you are still not convinced… come on… Just go ahead and subscribe.
And for everyone else, please make sure you migrate your feeds to your new reader. Remember to not miss out on reading all your favorite blogs.  If you are clueless about an alternative to Google Reader, check out Feedly. I had all my feeds migrated to Feedly and am mighty happy with the interface. 

Also, remember to visit our subscription page to know how else you can connect with us.
And just in case you are still wondering... NO ! We are not shutting down. Woodooz is here to stay.

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Making a shoe rack or a cabinet may seem complex and quite a task for a home DIYer, but you would be surprised to know how easy it is when you break it down to simpler steps. This is a step by step tutorial for making your own cabinet (like the one below) at home with just an electric drill, screws and screw drivers. Before you move further, do take a moment to read about pilot holes and butt joints. For the first time, I am trying to put up a 'how to' series by merely using illustrations. Would love to hear your feedback on this.

Materials Required

  1. 1 number of 12 mm plywood for the top (27.5 inches x 13.5 inches). This will be the cabinet top
  2. 2 numbers of 12 mm plywood for the sides (21.5 inches x 12 inches)
  3. 1 number of 6 mm plywood for the backing support (25.5 inches x 12 inches)
  4. 1 number of 12 mm plywood for the bottom (24 inches x 12 inches)
  5. Additionally, you would also need 12 mm plywood for the following (Not shown in the image below)
    • The shelf
    • The cabinet doors
  6. Rubber bushes (4 numbers)
  7. Door knobs (2 numbers)
Measurement of materials required
Dimensions for the shoe rack
You can get these materials in your neighborhood plywood store and you can have the plywood cut either at the same store (like I did), or in a timber store for a minimal cost. All you need to do is give them the dimensions. Of course, you can have it cut yourself if you have the necessary tools.

Tools and supplies required

  1. An electric drill
  2. Screw driver set
  3. Some star head screws (2 inches)
  4. Fevicol SH or an equivalent wood adhesive

Make the basic structure

  1. The idea is to make the basic structure or the shell of the cabinet using simple butt joints. The top plywood plank is placed on the side vertical planks which are further joined together in the bottom (Check image below)
  2. Place the top on the vertical side planks. The dimensions are such that there is a space of 1 inch on all sides of the top planks.
  3. Similarly place the bottom plank between the two sides and fix the three together.
  4. Secure the planks together using 2 inch screws (indicated by dots) as shown in the image below. For additional reinforcement, you can use adhesive. To make it easier for driving the screws in, drill a pilot hole extending from one surface to the other surface.
Shoe rack DIY
Shoe Rack Do it Yourself

Fix the shelf and the doors

  1. When cabinet is made with butt joints, there is every bit chance that it would be weak and would wobble if considerable weight is applied. To overcome this issue, the backing support in the rear is mandatory. It is your personal choice and you can decide to cover the entire rear with the backing support.
  2. Install the shelf. You either drive screws into the shelf through the sides or you can also use shelf brackets. The advantage with shelf brackets is that you can remove the shelf to make more space when desired or you can adjust the placement of the shelf at any height you need at any point in time.
  3. Installation of the cabinet door is beyond the scope of this post. 
  4. However, you can learn the trick from this detailed post on installing a cabinet door.
A do it yourself shoerack
Make your own shoe rack
Attach rubber bushes to the bottom of your shoe rack to ensure that the rack is not placed directly on the floor. You can also have a simple knob installed. Whether you want to have a single door or a double door is up to you. But any length of the cabinet beyond 1 feet 9 inches, a double door would be preferable.
Shoe Rack illustration
DIY Shoe Rack
Of course, you will have to suitably finish it using stains or paint. Hope you find this useful. If you find information lacking, or need more inputs on this one, feel free to shoot a mail to contact@woodooz.com. Do leave your comments and let me know what you think of this DIY.
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I cannot even sit down to explain how frenzied life has been over the last month and a half. Being away from home and working long hours without weekend breaks has been demanding on both of us. Indulging in DIY was the last thing on our minds. A mini vacation is all we needed to de-stress, re-energize and pick ourselves up.
Nature photography
Much needed vacation to Thekaddy
The short retreat to Thekaddy was quite a welcome escape from all things that have been keeping us occupied and pre-occupied. It is always good to slow down, loosen up and relax and that is all we did. I learned a trick or two from Preethi in using her camera and I went click click click. Maybe I should learn photography properly to up the quality of pictures that we post here in the blog.

Well, sadly, we are back now and back to the usual rigmarole.  Still not sure how much time I would be able to spend on Woodooz for a short while now. You will see the frequency of posts coming down in the next two months, but only to pick up the lost momentum from thereafter.

For now, giving the customary DIY how-to posts a break and leaving you with pictures from our trip. Please do remember to not give up on us when you don't see a post for a long time.

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Wood joinery is an important aspect of Woodworking as it is critical to how strong and durable your project will be. Joinery involves putting two pieces of wood together. While there are many joinery techniques available, for a hobbyist who is beginning to learn the nuances of carpentry, butt joint will be the easiest and safest bet.  Two reasons why I say this :
  • No additional skill is required to join wood using this technique
  • No special tool is required
While appropriate joining methods need to be adhered to when making complex furniture at a professional level, butt joint would suffice for your everyday small DIY projects. 
Wood joinery
Butt Joints - Ideal for the beginner carpenter
When two pieces of wood are merely joined or butted together at right angles to each other, it is called a butt joint.  Since it involves fixing two surfaces using adhesive as the only joining medium, the strength of the joint is solely dependent on the glue potency, and hence is naturally weak. 

There are many ways to strengthen the joint and complement the effect of the glue. I use screws (which run deep into the surfaces that are being joined) to provide additional reinforcement for all my butt-jointed  projects. Whether it is the center table, or a clock frame or a lampshade frame, it is butt joints that I have used all the way.
Wood joining technique
Butt joints in my DIY projects
As you grow comfortable with butt joints, it is important to experiment with complex ones that are appropriate for the project that you are working on. Needless to say, butt joints are simple and hence ideal for anyone who is starting to pick up interest in carpentry.

Besides butt joint, I have also used mitre joint in one of my DIY projects. Can you guess which one ? Meanwhile, do leave your comment and let me know your thoughts on this post.
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October 2012, I joined this group called Chennai Crafters in Facebook.

December 2012, we had the opportunity to meet up with some of the talented folks of the group.

Febuary 2013 these folks met up again (Oh ! I missed this meet) and were working on a secret mission.
After few random meets here and there, this is what they came up with.

Announcing ChennaiCrafters one-of-its-kind handmade craft exhibition / fair - URBAN HANDS.(Do click and join the events page to know more about the products and event details)
Hand Made crafts fair
Chennai's exclusive handmade product exhibition
Conceptualized and organized completely by the talented crafters themselves, this event ups my excitement factor and is something I don't want to let pass by. 

I could not get Woodooz up on the posters this time, but, am certainly going to be there to help, cheer and support everyone putting up a stall.

The products are going to be exclusive. Unique. And not something you would find elsewhere easily. Each crafter has built a brand of his / her own and is something you should not miss.

Invite your friends. Invite your family. And if you are reading this, you have already been invited. We are going to be there. Are you ? Leave me a comment if you are, because it is an opportunity to meet you in person, outside of this virtual world.

Chennai Crafters
The treat you are in for at the fair
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My cousin invited us over during the weekend to her kid's project day at his school. The theme was "Community helpers". 5-6 kids took up one community activity and had to explain the role of the respective helper in the society. Postal service, Police station, Fire Station, Hospital, School, Agriculture were some of the stalls on display. It was a pleasant surprise to see my nephew take up the role of a carpenter :)
Carpentry in India
Carpenter - A Community Helper
"I am a carpenter and I do various kinds of wood work. I use these tools to build houses, cots, shelves, chairs", is what the kids were explaining to the onlookers. They had all kinds of woodworking tools on display including a drill, hammer, planer, clamp, chisels, screw drivers, hand saw and more. They also had miniature models of a shelf, couple of chairs and a table. And they were well prepared to take up any question related to what was on display in their stall.

Carpenter and his tools

Carpentry tools in India
Carpentry Tools
We went there to cheer for and encourage my nephew and were pleasantly caught unawares to see him explain an activity that I have, in recent times, been so passionately taking up. I liked it that the parents chose a respectable uniform for the mini carpenters despite many insisting on going with the cliched "Lungi". Carpenters, much like many others, work towards making our lives much easier and it is a positive sign to see this thought being instilled in the kids.

Do you agree that carpentry in India can be beyond just a profession and can be a leisure activity that anyone can indulge in ?  Or think it is just another myth ? Leave me your comments.

Due credits : While I did take the pictures, the credit for the charts and the entire set up goes to the parents of the kids and the school faculty.

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This DIY project started off as a requirement for an inverter battery case. The need was to make something that will blend in with the rest of the living room furniture and so we decided to do a side table / cabinet that will hide the out of place battery and the stabilizer. Though I started off with a very simple design  it took me close to 6-7 months to really start putting the effort to build it. Decided to pose with it to give you an idea on the size of this cabinet.
Indian DIY
Do it yourself - Side table 
While I shall come back and put up a detailed post on how this can be effectively built by you too, I was a little impatient and wanted to show off the finished product here. I will leave you, for the moment, with  some work in progress photos.
DIY Cabinet
The making of a DIY Side table / Cabinet
While I have all along been used to working with one side teak, this time around I decided to apply the finish directly on the plywood. This is something I had not done before and so I was a little skeptical. That said, I should accept that the outcome was quite satisfactory. If you have been following our "How to stain wood" series in Woodooz, you would understand how the  finish for this cabinet was achieved. 

I used European cup hinges for the cabinet door. The installation procedure for a cabinet door using cup hinges has earlier been documented in this blog. I chose a very simple pair of knobs from the local store for the door. Work is still in progress as I need to apply the final coat of varnish and also install a shelf to hold the stabilizer.
Woodworking DIY
Battery Cabinet
Meanwhile, do let me know how this cabinet has turned out. Do you think I should have done some things differently ? Share your feedback.

- Somu
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Having a really smooth surface is critical to achieving highly attractive finish and sanding helps achieving that.  Sand papers are available in all Indian hardware stores and will cost anywhere between Rs.5 and 10/-.
Complete guide to wood staining

Choose your sand papers

Sand papers are available in different grades. The grade mentioned in the rear of the sand paper refers to the number of sand grit particles per square inch. So, lower the grits, more is the roughness of the sand paper. Ideally, you have to start sanding with a lower grit sand paper and move upwards towards the higher grit papers. In essence, you need to have 4-5 levels of sanding before you can achieve that perfect smooth finish.

I normally use 80, 100, 120, 150 and 220 grit sand papers. Depending on the initial level of smoothness of the surface you need to choose the following :
  • Whether to start with 80, 100 or 120 grit papers and
  • How many levels of sanding is required
Each level of sanding would increase the degree of smoothness and will also reduce the scratches that were a result of the previous sanding level.

How to sand wood
Basics of sanding wood

3 key rules to follow

  • Always sand along the direction of the grains. Never sand across the grain direction.
  • Apply gentle and even pressure as you sand along the surface, Overdoing it might damage the surface.
  • Wipe off the leftover dust particles using a rag cloth after every level of sanding.
  • The not-so-key rule is to use a sanding block if required. It will ease the stress on the arms and will help evenly distribute the pressure.
For staining wood, surface preparation and in turn sanding is one of the most critical activities. Any blemish, or scratch on the surface will be distinctly visible making the whole staining process a failure. While it is a really tedious task, it would make sense for you to go through the inconvenience of sanding rather than to repent as you start staining.

Besides sanding, sealing is the other important surface preparation step which we shall look in the next post. Meanwhile, remember to enter your email address below just so you do not miss the rest of the posts.

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In one of the previous posts, we did look at an introduction to wood stains, the different brands available, cost and the basic application procedures. From this post on, we will look at, in detail, how to approach applying wood stains to your wooden substrate. We will delve into the various materials and supplies required, surface preparation techniques, the actual application procedure of stain and the top coat.
Complete guide to wood staining

For the purpose of demonstration, I will use a spare sheet of One Side Teak. I will use both sides of the sheet to lay bare how stains work and enhance the look of the substrate.
Staining wood tutorial
How to stain wood - A beginner's guide
The following are the topics that I will discuss in detail in the forthcoming posts. Each of these steps is important and critical to the effectiveness of the staining process.
  • Step 1 : Sanding the wooden surface
  • Step 2 : Understanding sealers and why they are required
  • Step 3 : Applying Sealer as a pre-conditioner
  • Step 4 : Applying the wood stain
  • Step 5 : Applying a top coat (Varnish)

Materials / Supplies required

  • Sand papers (Grit 80, 100, 120, 150, 220)
  • Muslin cloth (Ask for Gada Thuni if you are in Chennai) 1 meter
  • Thinner 500ml
  • Sanding Sealer 500 ml
  • Wood stain 100ml
  • Rag Cloth
  • Wood Polish 
The details of the brands, cost etc… , I shall discuss in the individual posts.

Wood staining in India
Materials required for staining wood

Some safety precautions

  • Using a mask is mandatory. Sanding can send in dust particles and staining can send strong fumes through your nostrils.
  • Cover your eyes to protect from the dust irritating your eyes.
  • Use gloves because it is very difficult to remove stain off your fingers.
  • Work in an open, well ventilated space
That said, shall come back and take you through each of these individual steps in the coming days / weeks. Meanwhile, do remember to leave a comment and enter your e-mail address below just so you do not miss the rest of the posts in this series.

- Somu

Saying am not bothered about numbers would be a cliché and a big lie too. Numbers indicate growth and consistency and they certainly have their way of providing the necessary push. This 100 signifies one key thing – That I have been able to hold on to Woodooz for 100 long posts. It also tells me that I have had at least one post a week in the last one year which is significant, considering how awful I am at managing my time. Just wanted to look back at those projects that gave us immense pleasure, and the required drive to keep the momentum on. Will leave you with the pictures and links to the posts that have been extremely special to us. Do visit each of these pages and leave us your words of encouragement.

          The one that started it all. The first thing that I ever made after deciding to indulge in DIY
   The first clock that I ever made for our master bedroom
The first lampshade that was actually a result of looking at ways to recycle an old kurta
Preethi's Aravind Kolapkar reproduction that adorns the living room wall
The first decoupage project and experiments with madhubani
The paper mache name board that we so proudly display in the entrance of our home
It may just seem like a filler post, but then this is a milestone and I wanted to place it on record. It does seem a little nice to sit back, go through the archives and wonder how all this started, but then reality kicks in and I realize I'd rather be working on a work in progress project. While I get back to it, do leave us a comment. Let us know what you think of Woodooz.

- Somu
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Ever wondered how the dull and boring surface of an ordinary plywood can be made vibrant with colours that enhance the surface patterns ? Enter Wood stains (Click on link for the beginner's guide to using wood stains). Wood stains are finishing media that allow for adding color to a wooden substrate. Staining the wood results in the wooden grains / patterns being enhanced resulting in a finish appealing to the eyes. Now, wood stains is a topic that I have been deliberately avoiding because of my inadequacy in the skill. However, over the last few years, I believe that I have gained enough practice and expertise to discuss it here.
Complete guide to wood staining
Walnut wood stain
Wood stain - Before and After
The surface preparation required and the method of stain application may make the whole staining process look very complicated. The idea behind this post and the subsequent posts (COMING UP) is to detail the process of staining for all to benefit. This will be a series of 5-6 posts explaining the individual steps involved in achieving the desired look using stains.

Wood Stains in India

I don’t claim to be an expert and I am not offering to elaborate on all the different types of stains that are there in the market. This blog is brand agnostic, and so am not endorsing any particular brand either. Following are some of the Wood stains that I have worked and have seen fulfilling results with.
  • Asian Paints
  • Wudfin (by Pidilite)
  • MRF Wood Stains
  • Sheenlac
All these stains come in a 100 ml bottle and will cost anywhere between Rs.33-Rs.40/-.
Wood Stains available in India
Different wood stains - 100 ml bottles

Colour options in Wood Stains

Wood stains come in various colors that suits your needs. These are available in most hardware stores that also sell paints. Unfortunately, not all colours may be available at the local store as they stock only fast moving colours. The following is the shade range that I picked from the MRF Paints website. Other brands also have similar colour ranges.

Wood Stain colour options
Wood Stain colour ranges
Image Courtesy : MRF Paints

Stained Wood Finish

As I mentioned earlier, the stained finish will enhance the wooden patterns on the surface and make the grains noticeable more prominently. Unlike in paints, where the surface finish is one uniform opaque layer, stains will make the surface grains visible. Stained finish is certainly my favorite and I have shown few projects below that I did using wood stain.

Stain wood finish
Stained wood look

Application procedure

Though I am going to elaborate each of the steps involved in staining wood in individual posts, it makes sense to mention the steps involved in staining wood:
  • Sanding. Stains fill the grains and other dents in the wooden surface giving it a different color. And so this becomes a very important step. Staining requires a very smooth surface
  • Sealing. Sealants prevent uneven distribution of the stain and helps in achieving a uniform color across the surface
  • Staining
  • Varnishing
While there are certainly other types of wood stains, I have only mentioned those that I have worked with. The composition of these stains is beyond the scope of my understanding. That said, I should warn you that working with sealants and stains may result in inhalation of fumes and hence warrants the need to follow safety precautions. 

More later in the subsequent posts. Meanwhile, do leave a comment and let me know if there is anything specific you need me to cover in this series.

- Somu

This is a very simple and easy to do photo stand that you can build in a very short span of time. The materials are easily available in the local plywood store and the only tool required is a Rs.5 hacksaw blade. 
The stand is ideal for showcasing photographs and also greeting cards at home. If you are a crafter displaying works in a stall, you can use the stand to hold your brochure or banner.

Interested in making one yourself ? Hop over to Craftsia where we have guest posted the complete step-by-step tutorial. Or continue reading. [Posting it temporarily here as the Craftsia site is temporarily under maintenance at the time of making this addition]
DIY photo display stand
Do it yourself photo stand 
Here is how you can make this one yourself:

Materials and tools used:
  • Wooden Reapers from "ANY" plywood store. I have used two reapers of different sizes here. One is 1cm (Wide) x 1cm (Thick) while the other is 2cm x 1cm. 
  • A Hacksaw blade available for anywhere between Rs.3-Rs.5 in "ANY" local hardware store
  • A synthetic resin glue (I have used Karenters while Fevicol SH would just work fine) 
build a photo stand
How to make a photo stand
Step A:
Cut the wooden reapers using the hacksaw blade. This is not a herculean task and if you are used to using a knife in your every day chore, this should be just as easy. The length can be as big as you want it to be. I cut them to a length of about 6 inches.

Step B:
Reaper 1 would be the base while 2 and 3 should be glued on to of the base. Apply glue generously on both the base on the top sticks.

Step C:
Glue stick 2 first and hold it in place for a while until the glue bond strengthens.

Step D:
Glue the reaper 3 next to reaper 2 with a teeny tiny gap (About 2mm) between them. The photo or card will be sliding into this gap. The gap should be small enough to grip the photo and big enough to allow the card to slide through.

Here is a simple diagram that depicts how this photo stand is built.
photo stand do it yourself
Making a photo stand made easy
Once you give the glue enough time to dry, give it color as you desire. As you can see from the first picture above, I have colored one red, while I was too lazy to touch the other one and left it in its natural glory. The below picture also shows you how the photo stand looks without the photo and with some color :)

So, how did you like this DIY ? Do you think it is something that you can try at home ? I would most certainly love to hear your feedback on this one. Know that comments get me going and so leave me one :)

About Craftsia - Handmade with passion
Craftsia - Handmade with passion is a reliable and growing market place for unique and rare Indian Handmade products. You can buy and sell your products through Craftsia conveniently from the comfort of your home.

Linking in : Colours Dekor

Update : Join our DIY Woodworking group in Facebook. Discuss. Share. Take help. Raise queries. Some interesting discussions are happening at this very moment. JOIN NOW.

Ever since I started working on basic woodworking as a hobby, I have been on the lookout for workshops / classes that I can attend. It makes it easier to understand concepts from industry experts who are willing to part with their knowledge, than struggling to get answers from non-receptive carpenters or hardware store vendors. 

In Chennai, unfortunately, I was not able to find any such workshops. But Bangalore folks seem to be the lucky lot. I reached out to Hamsavardhan to know more about his woodworking workshop. Here’s what he had to say:
Carpentry class in India
Woodworking Workshop - Bangalore
Photo Courtesy : Esthete
1. Where is the workshop held ?
Workshop is held at Esthete studio, Tavarekere Road, Near Prestige St. John's Wood Apartments (1km from Forum Mall Koramangala).
2. What is the workshop all about ?
The agenda is to create awareness about wood and working with wood, carpentry, information on various types of wood and wood based products, such as plywood, MDF etc. The workshop will also cover basic tools and joinery techniques. It is an introductory lecture-demo on the science, craft and technology of wood and woodworking, carpentry and furniture making.
3. Who is the workshop for ?
It is a very informative and interactive session for anyone interested in understanding wood products, carpentry and furniture making.
4. How much does the workshop cost ?
This is a free class and is open to all.
5. Do the attendees have to bring anything along with them ?
A notebook to jot down points. Otherwise nothing.
6. When is the workshop normally held ?
The workshop is held on last Sundays of all months. You can “LIKE”  the Esthete Facebook page to get information on all upcoming events.
7. Contact information for any further details ?
Feel free to reach out to Hamsa Vardhan at +91 99020 59328.
The next workshop is on the 27th of Jan, 2013 between 1000 hrs and 1300 hrs. I hope Bangaloreans interested in understanding the nuances of woodworking would make good use of the opportunity. I am thinking of planning my next Bangalore trip with the workshop in mind.

Hope you found this post useful. I shall most certainly track other workshops around the country and provide details here for all to benefit from. Do leave a comment and let me know your opinion on this post.

- Somu

About Esthete and Hamsavardhan
Esthete is a design based company, specializing in Turnkey Interior Design and Execution, Complete Interior Decoration, Designing and Manufacturing of Customized furniture and accessories, Developing new and exciting designs in various materials, especially wood and suggesting space saving ideas for clients.

Hamsavardhan is Esthete’s Founder and Principal Designer. He started his design career as a furniture and interior designer specializing in children’s rooms, along with his partner, Mubina Vazirali, in the early 90’s. Their first clients were C.Krishniah Chetty Jewllers. Later he worked with Architect Omar Nisar as an architectural assistant. Know more about him in his official website.

This is not a sponsored post. This blog post was written purely for bringing useful information / content to the readers of this blog. Also note that I have not attended this workshop and hence cannot provide any feedback at this point on the workshop itself.

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