How to Stain Oak Veneer

Oak veneer is used to give an appearance of oak wood. Staining the veneer also gives the product an expensive look. Oak veneer is present in many varieties and a home owner can choose the variety which suits his house the best. Stain comes in many different natural colors such as coffee and red, and can be applied to oak veneer tables, chairs and other furniture pieces. This is a good way of saving money on your furniture. Staining the oak veneer gives a grand look to the wood and also makes the room look rich. The disadvantage of Oak veneer furniture is that it has low re-sale value. Oak veneer is only 3.17 mm thick. This is very useful for interior designing purpose. Staining oak veneer is not a difficult task if the suggested steps are followed.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Damp cloth
  • Soft rags (Line free)
  • Sand paper
  • Gloves

Step 1 - Smoothing the Oak Veneer Surface

First step involves smoothing the surface of wood. Making the surface smooth gives a good finishing to the oak veneer after staining. The furniture is placed on a drop cloth to avoid the floor from getting stained. Now using a sand paper rub the veneer surface. Scratches will be caused if sanding is done against grain of wood. Do this until the veneer gets a smooth finishing. Sanding is done to smooth the surface and also makes the veneer absorbs more stain.

Step 2 - Cleaning the Oak Veneer

After sanding there will be a lot of saw dust on the surface of the wood which needs cleaning. Use a damp cloth to wipe all the saw dust which is present on the surface of the wood. Clean the corners of the veneer thoroughly. To get a good finishing there should not be any particle of saw dust remaining on the wood. The surface should be cleaned perfectly.

Step 3 - Applying Stain 

Before Staining wear gloves to cover your hands since stains may leave marks on your skin. If you are using stains that are oil based make sure that area is ventilated properly. Use soft brush or special oil paint brush to apply the stain. Have patience while applying the stain. Apply the stain carefully and evenly to the oak veneer surface. Do not run the brush at same areas several times. You also can use a soft line free cloth as an alternative to apply stain if you do not have a brush. Now leave the veneer to dry so that the oak absorbs all the stains.

Step 4 - Wiping

Use a line free rag to wipe the excess stain on the veneer surface. Since Oak has open grain, there should be no lint particles sticking to the rag when applying varnish or shellac to the surface. Finally, your oak veneer looks rich and elegant.


  • Sand the varnish existing on the oak veneer before staining.
  • Using dark stains make the finishing uneven. 
  • Oil stains are best for staining oak but alcohol and water stains are Eco friendly.