Staining Tips (part 2) and photos are by Joel Terbrueggen

2 Color Staining

Over the years I have seen many different staining processes used on covering boards. Some great, some not so great. I also have seen many painted black since the owner wasn’t sure how to do this. The following process has worked for me for a number of years producing nice warm rich color AND allowing the grain to be visible, especially in the sun.

This information refers mainly to the darker covering boards and king planks of some boats.

I believe the combination of the colors I use work better than just using a walnut stain. I found that the walnut stain can sometimes have a greenish cast in the sunlight after varnish is applied as will plain black sometimes.

Tape off and protect the wood that gets the darker stain and proceed staining the rest of the boat. After the normal staining process,  apply sealer and maybe one coat of varnish. 

Allow the finish to cure enough so you can then reverse the taped area.

Apply the filler stain as usual to the wood to be darker with the filler stain that was used on the rest of the boat.

As soon as you have completed staining the boat with the filler stain apply Minwax Ebony Penetrating Stain on the wood the be stained darker. I like to use a small roller for this (less splattering) but a chip brush also works. Quickly wipe off the Minwax. The length of time to leave the Minwax on will vary due to the porosity of the wood.

Seal the wood with a separate brush and sealer. Dispose of properly when completed since you do not want to run the risk of using this sealer on the rest of the boat or any other boat in the future by accident.


Watch for more tips from Joel in the future…Deck seams to follow. 

Have you kept a log of the restoration of your boat?  Please share it with some pictures.  

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  1. This is a great article with good details that help those of us with less experience. Getting it right is so hard when you look at a beautiful job knowing there is ALWAYS some little secret to getting the results as shown .
    Keep these coming..

  2. Using soft wood sealer will even out darker end grain,which shows up as darker area due to uneven absorption. This method from Steve Northius former owner Macataw Bay Boatworks also uses Smiths Penetrating Epoxy to seal wood. Dennis Freisel of Indiana Chapter wrote an newsletter article about it.

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