Ash is a beautiful light-colored wood with a grain pattern similar to oak. It is relatively easy to sand and can take a variety of different finishes. Ash is used for projects where a good strength to weight ratio is required. The two types of ash that are typically used are white ash and black ash. Thinner pieces of ash can be steam-bent into a variety of different types of projects. Ash is open-pored and some care must be taken with some types of finish.
Things You'll Need
Sandpaper, grits 80 to 100, 120, 160, 220 and finer if desired
Pore filler paste
Stain or oil finish
Sand with heavy grit first. Start with 120 grit. If you have scratches that are just filling in with dust, go down to 100 or 80 grit to get them out, then continue with the 120.
As the finish smooths out, increase the grit of the sandpaper. If you want a dark stained finished, stop at 220 grit—finer will close up pores and grain and the wood will not take as much stain.
Apply sanding sealer. This will seal the wood and allow you to sand the surface to a glassier finish. You can not apply stains over some sanding sealers, so check with the manufacturer to see if stains are compatible over their sealers. After you apply sanding sealer, smooth the finish with 220-grit sandpaper. You can make the surface even smoother by continuing with finer grit sandpapers.
Apply stain. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to apply a water-based or oil-based stain.
Apply pore filler. Vacuum, brush or blow dust out of grain and pores first. Some pore fillers add color to the grain, and can be applied before staining. Water based and oil-based fillers are available, with water-based fillers generally being easier for beginners to use.
Remove excess pore filler. Follow instructions for your particular pore filler to remove the excess. If your finish met your expectations after Step 4, you do not have to apply pore filler.