Black Wood Stain Ultimate Guide of 2023 [Best, Application, How to Do]

Your last woodwork project was stained gray, but you did not get that dark color you intend to get. Do you wish to know what the darkest stain for wood is? Do you want to know the different types of black wood stains and the steps you can take to stain your wood black? Then you are reading the right article.

Here’s what I found:

Can You Use Black Stain Wood on Furniture?

Yes, You can use black wood stain on furniture and tables. First sand the surface of the wood, then apply 2-3 layers of Minwax dark color gel stain and finally seal it with a polyurethane topcoat layer.

There is a unique and classic ambiance that the black color exudes. Apart from this, black wood stains have a way of raising natural wood grain. Therefore, follow this guiding article as it explains all you need to know about black wood stains including the 10 best black stains you can choose for your DIY projects.

Bestseller No. 1
Minwax 405140000 Wood Effects, Charred Black
266 Reviews
Minwax 405140000 Wood Effects, Charred Black
  • Accelerated the look of naturally aged wood
  • Just brush on bare wood
  • Unique results every time
Bestseller No. 2
Minwax Wood Finish 227644444, 8 Fl Oz (Pack of 1), True Black
461 Reviews
Minwax Wood Finish 227644444, 8 Fl Oz (Pack of 1), True Black
  • RICH EVEN COLOR – Minwax Wood Finish is a deep penetrating, oil-based wood stain that provides beautiful color and enhances the natural wood grain in one coat. It’s perfect for interior staining projects such as wood furniture, cabinets, doors and more.
  • QUICK DRYING – Staining interior wood has never been quicker. The special formula allows it to deeply penetrate wood pores within 5 minutes of application, resists lapping, and dries in two hours, making all your wood projects quick, beautiful and easy.
  • EASY TO APPLY – Use a clean cloth or wood stain brush to apply this wood stain in the direction of the grain. Wait 5-15 minutes and wipe away excess stain. The longer you wait, the darker/richer the color. Reapply coats for deeper color.
Bestseller No. 3
SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain - Natural Stain for Furniture, Moldings, Wood Paneling & Cabinets (Black TEW-108-12, 12 oz)
2,536 Reviews
SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain - Natural Stain for Furniture, Moldings, Wood Paneling & Cabinets (Black TEW-108-12, 12 oz)
  • 20 YEARS OF NORTH-AMERICAN EXCELLENCE: SamaN is the preferred choice of professional woodworkers and DIYers in North America. We promote greener products and help the integration of people with intellectual disabilities and pervasive development disorder.
  • SAFE & NATURAL PRODUCT: Odorless, risk free for health of the users, pets and the environment.
  • HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT: Durable stain that protects and elevates wood’s beauty for all your renovation, decoration or DIY projects.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain + Polyurethane Finish – ½ Pint, Classic Black, Gloss
4,186 Reviews
Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain + Polyurethane Finish – ½ Pint, Classic Black, Gloss
  • POLYSHADES WOOD STAIN – Minwax PolyShades is an oil-based wood stain and poly in one. It enhances wood grain by combining beautiful, rich color and long-lasting polyurethane protection in one easy step.
  • REDUCE FINISHING TIME – This one-step wood finish can be used over polyurethane finishes, so you can change the color of your wood surface without removing the existing finish. Use on bare or already-finished wood.
  • BEAUTIFUL RESULTS – This beautiful wood stain provides a dark finish with a glossy sheen. It offers a classic, black color that looks great on a variety of projects. Recommended uses: furniture, woodwork, doors, cabinets & accessories.
Bestseller No. 5
Minwax® Wood Finish® Water-Based Semi-Transparent Color Stain, True Black, 1 Quart
27 Reviews
Minwax® Wood Finish® Water-Based Semi-Transparent Color Stain, True Black, 1 Quart
  • One-coat color dries in 1 hour
  • Color that showcases wood grain
  • 5x thicker for east application

What is Black Wood Stain?

Let’s get started!

Black wood stain ,like any other stain is an aesthetic substance used on wooden furniture to add beauty to it. It could be formulated using different solvents, hence we have oil-based black stains, water-based black stains, gel stains that are black, and polyurethane black stains and finishes.

The distinct feature of black color is that it is a naturally rich color when put on wood. Perhaps, this richness is what made it raise the natural wood grain in a beautiful way. Are you still contemplating painting or staining those interior wood projects? Read below the difference between black paint and black stain.

Black Wood Stain vs .Paint.

Yes, I know painting that wood fence can be so beautiful. But why cover the natural beauty of your wood when you can enhance it? Well, you decided to paint it black instead of staining it black and it is still the same black color, right?

Okay, then let’s see what you stand to gain from both. Black stain brings out the aesthetic pattern of your wood grain while painting with black paint does not. Black stain soaks into wood ,and scratches do not change its color while black paint can be thick and heavy on your wood and scratches can alter its aesthetic view. Hence, choose black wood stain.

There are different types of black stains for wood produced by different manufacturers. And this is more of the reason you should have some information about the varieties of available black stains for wood to make the right choice.

Also, a small variety of black stains are labeled best black wood stains. Apart from this, there are black stains that just have similar colors to black wood stain colors. Any wood stain like that is not a true black wood stain.

Therefore, to avoid confusion, read below about the best black wood stains.

10 Best Black Wood Stain Reviews

Do you want to know about the medium and deep shades of some black-colored stains to avoid hassles? Do you want to know the perfect, beautiful, and smooth black-colored wood stain that will enhance the grain of your wood? Then you need to check out the reviews of the top 10 black wood stains below:

#1. General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Quart, Black

This is a custom black rich color manufactured by General Finishes (GF) brand. Ordinarily, in the world of colors, if you mix the colors blue red, and yellow of the same proportion together, you will get a resultant black color. Hence, this water-based black wood stain was produced by mixing. And the beautiful thing with this brand of stain is that you can make it darker or tone it down.

It is easily applied with either a spray or a clean cloth. Seeing that this black stain is water-based, it has low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), making it less toxic than some other stains.

Also, this GF black stain is thick and formulated to work perfectly like oil base stains. Due to its thickness, the penetration time is slower, hence making it suitable for use on softwoods that tend to get blotchy like pine.

General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Quart, Black


  • Low VOC
  • Suitable for softwoods
  • Fast drying


  • It is formulated for indoor use only.

#2. Minwax Wood Finish 227644444, True Black Stain

This is another great interior oil-based black wood stain with good penetrating power. It is a true black wood stain that gives a beautiful dark, and semi-transparent look. With just one coat, it sufficiently raises the grain of the wood. It has a fast drying time and if you want a darker color, it can easily be re-applied with a cloth or a brush.

Apart from this, this Minwax brand black stain gives a rich color that lasts long. However, to get a smooth and satisfying dark wood effect with this stain, you are required to give your wood a good surface preparation and stain in the direction of the grain.

Minwax Wood Finish 227644444, True Black Stain


  • It has a fast drying time, dries to touch within 15 minutes, and gets cured within two hours.
  • Its application is easy.
  • It gives a rich true black color that penetrate a wood surface well.


  • It is meant for indoor use only
  • It only work well on a prepared wood surface. That is, you have to strip off old stain or paint before using it.

#3. Varathane 262028 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Half Pint, Black Cherry

This is a nano pigment black colored stain called black cherry manufactured Rust-Oleum. It is a high-performing, fast dry interior wood stain that gives that perfect black shade with only one coat. It provides even coverage for your furniture and dries up within one hour of application.

You do not need to use a wood conditioner with this stain, just apply it to your wood in the direction of the grain and it will highlight the grain. It is recommended for use on floors, doors, etc. This wood stain is durable, however, you still need to protect your wood with a sealant after you have applied it.

Varathane 262028 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Half Pint, Black Cherry


  • It is a nano-pigment stain hence it provides a rich black color
  • It doesn’t need a wood conditioner
  • It has a fast drying time


  • It is made for interior use only
  • It does not contain a sealant

#4. Rust-Oleum 241413 Black Cherry Varathane Oil-Based Interior Wood Stain

This is another shade of varathane black cherry wood stain also produced by Rust-Oleum. It is made up of new color pigments that are translucent, hence carrying enough rich color deep into the grain of the wood. It almost has the same effect as the one above, however with some distinct features.

It is an oil-based wood stain specifically soy oil. It provides twice as fast penetration compared to the previous stain. The color pigments are well mixed. Hence, there is no need for you to constantly mix or stir while using it. As a result of this, it is good to be used on wood such as pine.

Rust-Oleum 241413 Black Cherry Varathane Oil-Based Interior Wood Stain


  • It has deep penetrating power. Twice more than that of normal wood stains.
  • It last long without fading.
  • There is no need to stir, shake or mix stressfully as you use.


  • It is formulated for interior use only
  • You still need a wood sealer to shield your wood.

#5. General Finishes Oil Based gel Stain, 1/2 Pint, Black

Furthermore, this is another black-colored gel stain by the GF brand. It provides a great and lustrous satin finishing compared to other products from the brand. It is an oil-based gel stain, hence it has a thick and heavy consistency that aids in getting a uniform color appearance, especially in softwoods like pine and aspen that tends to get blotchy.

It is also a beautiful choice if you want to stain oak black. Also, because it is thick, spills and splashes are reduced. Furthermore, with this gel stain, a little can give you full coverage without a need for a second coat and without having to sand in between coats.

General Finishes Oil Based gel Stain, 1/2 Pint, Black


  • It reduce blotchiness when staining softwoods like pine
  • It is easily applied with a cloth or foam brush.
  • No need to sand in between coats


  • It does not penetrate the way liquid or oil stains do
  • You can only use it on interior surfaces.

#6. Minwax 405140000 Wood Effects, Charred Black

There are different stains for different projects. If the kind of black-colored stain you are looking for is the one that will give you a naturally aged wood effect, then you should choose this wood stain. Or if you want a full coverage aged look for your partly aging wood, then this wood stain is a good choice.

It provides a naturally aged look in less than two hours hence hastening up your wood finishing process. Just one coat that is applied along the direction of the grain is needed after sanding. After applying this coat, leave it to dry for an hour before applying a topcoat or sealant to protect your wood. To intensify the color, you can apply another coat.

Minwax 405140000 Wood Effects, Charred Black


  • It dries up relatively fast.
  • It gives an aged look wood effect by combining with wood tannins
  • It is easy to use
  • It provides unique result with every wood.


  • You still need a sealant to shield your wood from wear and tear.

#7. SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain – High-Quality & Natural Furniture

There is nothing like preserving our environment in such a way that it is still livable for upcoming users. This water-based stain is an environmentally friendly wood stain produced by a North American brand that has been in existence for about 20 years. It is a high quality and durable interior stain suitable for moldings, cabinets, and wood paneling trim.

Apart from being environmentally safe, it is human safe because it does not give off a toxic odor and is safe for pets. Only one coat is needed and it does not require a wood conditioner or pre-stain before use. Finally, different colors are available, hence you can do some color mixing to get that perfect black shade you want.

SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain - High-Quality & Natural Furniture, moldings, Wood Paneling and cabinets Stain (Black TEW-108-12, 12 oz)


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Durable
  • No need for wood conditioners


  • A little expensive

#8. General Finishes Enduro RTM Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Quart, Tint Black

This is a tint black professional wood stain produced by GF. It is formulated with a Ready-To-Match (RTM) stain system, giving this stain a great color matching ability. It is a stain mixing system in which more than 100 wood stains with deep and rich colors are formed by intermixing 10 basic stains. As a result, this wood stain has a very rich tint black color and you can mix it with another wood stain to get a particular shade or color.

It is a water-based stain hence, it is less toxic and it gives a coverage of 112 Sq ft per quart. However, it still contains harmful substances, hence you are advised to protect yourself and work in a well-ventilated area. Finally, it is designed for interior use only.

General Finishes Enduro RTM Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Quart, Tint Black


  • Rich in colors
  • Low toxicity
  • Wide coverage area


  • Commonly used indoors

#9. Minwax® Wood Finish® Water-Based Semi-Transparent Color Stain, True Black

This is a little transparent water-based true black wood stain, not a tint or a mix. It is a Minwax brand. If you need a thick black stain, go for this because it is five times thicker than normal wood stains. As a result, its application is easy and it results in an even coverage.

It is relatively fast drying. It gets fully dry in an hour. It visibly highlights wood grain with just a coat. For deeper colors, apply another layer of coat. It is recommended to use on wood doors, unfinished wood, trim, and cabinets. That is it is suitable for small interior DIY projects. It gives coverage of 100 sq ft per quart and it requires the use of a top coat after its application to give maximum protection.

Minwax® Wood Finish® Water-Based Semi-Transparent Color Stain, True Black, 1 Quart


  • Heavy color
  • Even coverage
  • Fast drying


  • Not well suited for large projects

#10. General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Quart, Black Walnut

This is another water-based black-colored stain produced by General Finishes. This time around, this one is formulated for use on exterior surfaces. It is durable and easy to use. It can be applied by brushing, rolling, or spraying it. Also, it can easily be cleaned with soap and water.

However, it is recommended to be used on exterior vertical surfaces like fences, garage doors, outdoor kitchens, patios, and the like. This stain is not suitable for outdoor horizontal surfaces like decks. Furthermore, it contains UV protective substances. However these UV absorbers do not protect your wood from aging, they only protect the finish from fading. Hence, after using this stain, apply a wood sealer.

General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Black Walnut Wood Stain is the best black exterior wood stain.

General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Quart, Black Walnut


  • Very durable
  • UV-protective
  • Can be applied to the exterior


  • Not very suitable for horizontal surfaces

Can You Stain Wood Black?

You can give your wood a full coverage of true black-colored stain or any other form of the medium black color of your choice. Staining a wood black is much better than painting it black as earlier discussed. More about staining your wood black is discussed below.

How Do You Stain Wood Furniture Black?

Thinking on doing some home improvement and giving your wooden furniture a full black coverage and you have decided on staining instead of painting? That’s a good choice. Have you been trying to search some videos on how to carry it out on youtube, but the youtube videos are not showing you explicit answers? Not to worry, carefully follow the steps highlighted below. Here are the materials you need to purchase.

Tools You Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Black colored stain of any chosen shade
  • Lint-free cloth, clean cloth, tack cloth
  • Wood conditioner
  • Drop cloth, Protective gear
  • Sander

Staining Wood Black Step by Step

The first thing to do is purchase a true black stain that will suit the hue you decide to have and try to follow the details spelled in the steps below.

Step 1: Surface Preparation

Put a drop cloth or tarp on the ground to avoid messing the floors with dust and stains. For bare wood that is, new wood, clean the surface before using an orbital Sander for sanding the surface. For wood with any form of sealant, remove the wood finish by sanding also. It is good to start sanding with coarse sandpaper (120-grit), then proceed to use medium and fine sandpaper (between 180 to 220-grit). After this wipe off the sanding dust with a clean cloth and then a tack cloth.

Step 2: Applying a Pre-stain Wood Conditioner.

A lot of people think this step is optional whereas it is highly recommended to ensure an even and full coverage of the black wood stain. Also, a pre-stain conditioner prevents a blotchy work. Checking the product label of your pre-stain, apply it on the wood surface for the stipulated number of minutes. After which you wipe off excess and let it dry.

Step 3: Applying The Stain

This process is very simple. Stir or mix your black wood stain well before using it to mix all the black pigments effectively. Then apply a coat using a clean cloth or foam brush. Wipe off the excess stains and leave it to dry according to the product label. If you want to make the black color more dark, consider applying a second coat. Allow a coat to dry before applying another. Also, sand in between coats if it is recommended for your stain product.

Step 4: Applying a Sealant

Finally, all the coats are fully dry. after getting the black color intensity You should apply a wood sealer. Please note that applying a sealant when the black wood stain is not dry could disrupt your staining. Also, choose a sealant that is not yellow overtimes to avoid changing the color of the black. A polycrylic or polyurethane clear coat should do.

Application of Black Wood Stain


There is no specific black wood stain for your kitchen cabinets. It all boils down to what you want.

However, you nmustconsider factors before choosing a pype of black wood stain for your cabinets. Factors like location, safety, type of black shade wanted, type of wood drying time, etc.

For cabinets, interior water-based black wood stain that has a short drying time should be chosen. Because you wouldn’t want to lock your kitchen because of a toxic odor emanating from an oil stain or an elongated drying time. An example of black wood stain that suits this description is interior Minwax true black stain and varathane classic black.

Getting ready to stain an old cabinet black
Getting ready to stain an old cabinet black

Pine Table

Just like I mentioned earlier, depending on the type of black color you want, whether a true black or tinted one, there are different black wood stains to choose from. One example of a black wood stain that sits pretty on almost all wood types is Varathane Classic black.

You can also choose black stains Minwax true black stain and General Finishes oil-based gel stains. To stain effectively use these stains on your pine, lightly sand the pine with 150-grit sandpaper. Apply a layer of coat and allow it dry for about two hours. To add a more dark color, apply another layer of coat. You do not need a wood conditioner.

pine table will be stained black
The pine wood will be sanded and stained black!


No particular black wood stain is majorly formulated for staining a deck. However, you can choose from any of the described best black stains above. If you want a true black color for your deck, Minwax true black wood stain although termed interior is ideal for all wood projects.

Hence, you can use this penetrating oil base black stain for your deck, but you need to apply a clear coat that can protect your wood from exterior atmospheric conditions.

Another true black color wood stain you can choose is Varathane classic black, it is also a penetrating oil stain. However, just like Minwax true black, you have to apply an exterior wood sealer to shield your wood.

The Deck in Minwax True Black
The Deck in Minwax True Black


One vivid example of an exterior black wood stain is General Finishes Exterior 450 water-based black wood stain that is formulated for use on vertical surfaces like fences and the like.

Other types of black wood stains tested and trusted that you can use on your exterior wood projects combined with an exterior sealant are 100% varathane classic black, Minwax true black, and varathane black.

It is advisable to choose a black wood stain that is tested and trusted instead of going for unknown and inexpensive ones that will not produce the required results.

Black Wood Stain vs. Ebony

The ebony color looks like black color, but it is not. Black is still the darkest wood stain color there is. Ebony has a dark brown hue, while black is simply black with no visible light.

Ebony is well known and always described as a shade of black alongside other shades of black, which are more than 40. It exudes a strong, dignified, and classic look and can be paired with contrasting colors with a lighter shade. Ebony is said to be the closest color to black color.

Hence, if you want to mix your stains or go for a bit lighter shade of black, an ebony wood stain is your best bet. It is used to make chess pieces.


What is the darkest stain for wood?

The darkest stain for wood is black. However, you need to know that different shades of black exist. But true black, which is 100% black is the darkest stain color you can ever have. You can get this by purchasing Minwax true black wood stain.

Can you stain wood darker without sanding?

When it comes to dark wood stains they work with wood grain. In other words, their beauty is synonymous with the available wood grain they can cover. You can decide not to sand your wood when staining wood darker, but to get the most out of black wood stain colors, lightly sand your wood.

What happens if you stain over stain?

What happens if you stain over stain depends on the type of wood you are dealing with. If it is wood with an uneven texture, staining over a stain without using a wood conditioner could lead to blotchiness. However, staining over the stain will lead to darker colors for a wood that absorbs stain quickly.

Does polyurethane darken stain color?

Every clear coat has a specific color tone although they give a clear, see-through top coating. So I wouldn’t say polyurethane darken stain color, because it does not add more color to it. It simply shows forth its amber tone or milky white presence on your stained wood.

Does Minwax make a black stain?

Yes, Minwax is a leading American company when it comes to wood care products. Hence, they are expected to have black wood stain colors, and they do. There is a true black stain and it is a go-to if you want the darkest black stain ever. They also have a charred black wood effect stain.

How do you blacken oak wood?

Oak naturally has highly reactive tannins that get blackened easily. There are different ways to blacken oak wood be it naturally or through staining. You can choose a black wood stain or use an old blackening method of steel wool mixed with vinegar.

Is dark walnut or Jacobean darker?

Yes, dark walnut and Jacobean are both in the dark brown family, but jacobean has a further shade of rustic brown color. Hence, if you don’t want to go for black color and you want something more dark than walnut color, jacobean is the next choice. Minwax has a jacobean-colored stain too.

How do you darken wood naturally?

I know wood stains can be so harmful right so you want to go natural. Some household and commercial substances you can use to naturally darken wood. Two of which are coffee stain, steel wool or rustic nails, and white vinegar solution.

Can oak be stained black?

Oak wood is one of the beautiful wood that looks good being stained black. This is because it has a naturally highlighted grain. Hence, a black stain is beautiful to cover a bit of this pronounced natural wood grain. So yes, you can stain an oak black irrespective of the type.

Final Words

Staining your wood furniture black is quite simple as pointed out above. The only fairly difficult aspect is choosing the right black color to get the desired appearance.

A lot of woodworkers tend to mix stains to get their desired shade of black colors. However, getting any of the ten best black stains discussed is better to save yourself this stress. And if you still want to mix, it is better to mix two colors from the same brand. Before using your mixed color, test it on a hidden area of the wood or scrap wood to ascertain it is the wanted color. The steps on how to stain wood black have been given above. Have fun staining that wood black.

Enjoy the joy of black wood stain!

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