What is a Reactive Stain?

What is a Reactive Stain?

November 23, 2020

Reactive stains are solutions containing carefully selected natural chemicals that, when applied to certain species of timber, can cause a change in colour.

What Are reactive stains used for?

Reactive stains can be used used to create an aged look in new timber. They can essentially replicate the oxidation processes that occurs naturally in wood when it is exposed to the elements.

How do Reactive stains work?

Reactive stains interact with the tannins, extractives, sugars or cellulose in the wood to change the wood colour from within. They tend to work best of all on French Oak which has a very high tannin content compared to European and American Oak.

Are reactive stains safe?

To some, the terms ‘reactive stain’ may bring up concerns that there may be ingredients in these stains that could be harmful to our health. Rest assured, this is not the case. Most reactive stains are just different kinds of salts dissolved in water. One of the most common ones, iron chloride, is actually used in the treatment of drinking water. A traditional homemade reactive stain that some wood floor finishers still use today is a solution of steel wool dissolved in vinegar. Today, we use more advanced formulas that give us better stability and consistency, but the basic building blocks are still the same and completely safe.

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