Staining Basswood Trim with Water-Based Finishes

Finishers discuss how to deal with grain raise and consider compatibility issues with stains and topcoats. December 15, 2005

Anyone have experience to share in the finishing process of basswood? I have 3K ln ft of highly profiled base, casing, and 30 door jambs to stain and finish in the next few weeks. Architect specified a Minwax Fruitwood based custom stain with a satin topcoat. All finishing will take place onsite with HVLP, air-assisted airless and handwork. My preliminary samples consist of 220 grit prep, Minwax coat, Kem Aqua H20 lacquer, but there is a heap of grain raise with the basswood. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
Check to see if there is a sanding sealer offered in conjunction with the KemAqua. If not, spray a light first coat to lock the grain and then go heavier on the next ones. I don't have much experience staining basswood. I usually use it for paint grade, so I am not sure how it takes stain.

What is it with using basswood for trim? We use KemAqua and there is a sanding sealer available.

The KemAqua waterborne lacquer can be used as a self-sealing product. Be sure to reduce it 5% with water. Or you can use Sherwin Williams KemAqua sanding sealer T65F520. What I would be concerned with is the MinWax stain, which is solvent based, going under that waterborne product. S/W recommends using a waterborne stain, but says that their own Sherwood solvent based stain is compatible, also. If you are using the MinWax, I would let that stain dry 24+ hours to be sure it has evaporated all the oils out. (Test pieces are a must.)

Whenever I use water-based anything on wood, I wet the wood with a water-dampened rag, then let it dry and sand with 220 for light colors or 150 for dark colors. The water raises the grain and is easily sanded smooth. I wouldn't use Minwax, though. The results are unpredictable when you mix your bases. Water and oil don't mix well.