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How to Achieve Beautiful Stains and Finishes on Beech Wood

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
18 July 2023 min read

How to Achieve Beautiful Stains and Finishes on Beech Wood

Each type of wood possesses unique characteristics that can significantly enhance the final result. One such wood is beech wood, a versatile and widely used material in the woodworking industry. 

With its warm tones and close grain structure, quality beech wood offers endless possibilities for creating stunning finishes. 

In this article, we will explore the various techniques and products that can help you achieve beautiful stains and finishes on beech wood, allowing you to bring out its natural beauty in your woodworking projects.


Understanding the Characteristics of Beech Wood

With its grand stature and lush foliage, the beech tree is undoubtedly one of the most striking species native to the UK. Its widespread presence across the country's landscapes contributes significantly to the region's rich biodiversity and natural beauty.

Before diving into the world of stains and finishes, it‘s crucial to understand the characteristics of beech wood. 

Beech is a hardwood species known for its light to medium reddish-brown colour. It has a remarkably smooth texture and a uniform appearance that makes it an ideal choice for both modern and traditional woodworking projects. And the close grain structure of beech wood allows for excellent staining and finishing properties, resulting in a smooth and elegant appearance.

For these reasons, the popularity of beech wood is growing, as is the projected demand for wood throughout the UK.


Preparing Beech Wood for Staining and Finishing

To achieve the best results when staining and finishing beech wood, proper preparation is necessary.

The first step is to ensure the wood is clean and free from dirt, dust, or oils. Then, start by sanding the surface of the wood with progressively finer grit sandpaper, starting at around 120 grit and working your way up to 220 grit. This process helps smooth out imperfections and provides a clean surface for the stain or finish to adhere to.


Staining Beech Wood

Staining beech can enhance its appearance, allowing you to achieve a particular colour or tone. Due to its fine, tight grain and uniform texture, the wood generally takes well to staining. The straight grain allows for even absorption of stains, resulting in a well-finished surface that highlights the wood's natural character.

  1. Pre-Stain Conditioner: Applying a pre-stain conditioner is crucial when staining beech. A pre-stain conditioner helps to seal the wood and promote even stain absorption, minimising blotching. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the product for the best results.



Beech works well with various stains, from light to dark. However, the type of stain can impact the final look. Oil-based stains are often used for their richness and depth of colour, but water-based stains can also provide good results and dry faster.

2. Water-Based Stains: Water-based stains are an excellent choice for beech. They are easy to work with, offer a wide range of colours, and can be custom mixed to achieve the desired shade. 

Apply the stain evenly using a brush or cloth, following the grain pattern. Allow the stain to penetrate the wood for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a clean cloth. Ensure that the stain is evenly distributed before proceeding.

3. Gel Stains: Gel stains are another popular option for staining beech. They offer better control and produce a consistent finish, even on difficult woods like beech. 

Apply the gel stain with a brush or cloth, working it into the wood's grain. Allow the stain to sit for a few minutes, as instructed by the manufacturer, and then wipe off the excess with a clean cloth. Gel stains tend to be thicker, so be careful not to leave any streaks or build-up on the surface.

4. Oil-Based Stains: Oil-based stains are known for their rich and deep colour tones. And they work well on beech wood, enhancing its natural beauty. 

Apply the stain with a brush or cloth, following the grain pattern. Allow the stain to penetrate the wood for a few minutes before wiping off the excess. Oil-based stains require longer drying times, so allow sufficient time before applying any finishes.


Finishing Beech wood

Finishing plays a vital role in protecting and preserving the beauty of beech. It adds depth, durability, and a smooth touch to the surface. 

Here are some popular finishing options for beech wood:

1. Clear Varnish: Clear varnish is popular for finishing beech. It provides a protective layer that enhances the natural colour and grain of the wood.

Apply the varnish using a brush or cloth, following the wood's grain pattern. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next, and lightly sand between coats to achieve a smooth finish. Depending on the desired level of protection, apply multiple coats of varnish.

2. Danish Oil: Danish oil is a versatile finish penetrating deeply into the wood, bringing out its natural beauty. 

Apply the oil with a brush or cloth, following the wood's grain pattern. Allow the oil to soak into the wood for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a clean cloth. Danish oil requires multiple applications to build up the desired finish. Allow each coat to dry fully before applying the next, and lightly sand between coats for a smooth and even finish.

3. Wax: Wax is a traditional, timeless finish that adds a lustrous sheen to beech. Apply the wax using a soft cloth to the wood's surface. Allow the wax to dry and buff it to a beautiful shine. Wax finishes require regular maintenance to keep the wood looking its best, as they may wear off over time.


Transforming Spaces with Woodshop Direct's Solutions

Beech wood offers endless possibilities for creating beautiful finishes in various woodworking projects. By understanding the characteristics of the wood and following the proper techniques, you can achieve stunning stains and finishes that enhance its natural attributes. 

Whether you use stain or finish, selecting the right products and taking the necessary preparation steps will ensure a successful outcome. At Woodshop Direct, we provide a wide range of quality beech wood to meet all your woodworking needs. Browse our website to explore our extensive collection and embark on your next woodworking adventure.