How to Remove Wood Stain From Tools

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Wood stain is a colorant, applied to wood to change or enhance the original color. Wood stain shows off wood grain to create a pleasing natural wood surface. Woodcrafters, furniture builders and hobbyists commonly use stain on their finished projects. Wood stain is available as an oil-based or water-based coating. Wood stain may splash or spill onto tools leaving behind unsightly discoloration. Wood stain is not harmful to the tools only to the appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag
  • Paint thinner, turpentine, kerosene, gasoline or mineral spirits
  • Metal container
  • Grease-fighting dishwashing soap
  • Wipe wet stain off the surface of the tools with a damp rag before the wood stain dries.

  • Dip a rag into paint thinner, turpentine, kerosene, gasoline or mineral spirits. These chemicals act to break the bond between the tool and the wood stain.

  • Rub the solvent soaked rag along the tool surface to dissolve the wood stain. Continue to scrub the surface until the wood stain disappears.

  • Place metal tools into a metal container. Pour the solvent of your choice into the container, filling it to cover the tools. Do not soak wood handle tools in solvent because the wood will absorb the solvent. Do not use plastic containers because they may melt depending on the content of the plastic.

  • Allow the tools to soak for five to 10 minutes.

  • Remove the tools from the solvent and rub the surface with a rag to remove any remaining wood stain.

  • Wash the tools in grease-fighting dishwashing soap to remove the solvent residue. Rinse thoroughly with plain water and dry fully.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear safety goggles and rubber gloves.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of accidental combustion.
  • Rinse solvent soaked rags in plain water to avoid the possibility of fire.
  • Dispose of solvent according to local laws and ordinances.
  • Extinguish all open flames and cigarettes prior to using flammable solvents.

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References

  • "Creating the Perfect Wood Finish with Joe L Erario"; Joe L Erario; 2005
  • "Foolproof Wood Finishing: For Those Who Love to Build and Hate to Finish"; Teri Masaschi; 2006
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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