Can You Stain Red Oak Plywood?

If there is one thing that makes red oak unique is the red appearance it has. The good thing is that staining red oak plywood is easy for everyone, including beginners.

So, if you are wondering whether you can stain red oak plywood, the answer is yes, and this article will talk about that.


Before you start staining red oak plywood, you must prepare your wood and ensure that the area you will be carrying out this work is also prepared. 

Your work area should be airy because you need clean air in your work area. If your working space is inside, open the windows and doors.

Also, dress protectively while not forgetting your gloves because you don’t want the products you will be using for staining the wood to stain your body or hands.

To take it a step further, protect yourself from inhaling the chemical fumes that emit while staining by using a respirator mask. You can easily get this mask at a store.

Sanding before Staining

When sanding maple wood, 200 grit sandpaper is needed. But, while sanding red oak plywood, 120 grit sandpaper is used.

You must observe the way the grain is on the wood so that you will uniformly sand these grains, and remove every debris that must have been there. 

If you are wondering what grain is, the dark lines usually seen on the wood are easily noticeable so you will know when you have properly removed it.

After doing this, use a cloth to remove the leftover debris on the wood properly. You don’t want any debris to be leftover because it could interfere with your staining. 

Staining the red oak plywood

It has been established that staining red oak plywood is possible. So, to do that, these steps should be followed:

  1. The first step is to mix and stir your dye powder in water very well. The company that produced the dye has an instructional manual to give directions. We have various wood dyes available for you to choose from, which will make a good substitute for the color of your red oak plywood. 
  2. The second step is to use water and a sponge to must your oak to make it easy for the dye to be absorbed. When the pores of your wood absorb the water, dyeing your wood will be easy and give your wood an even look which is what you want. 
  3. Thirdly, look for a spray bottle and fill your mixed dye into it. When you must dye your wood, ensure that the noodle of the spray bottle is close to the oak. Some people use rags; others opt for a paper towel for applying the dye on their oak. You should use whatever works best for you. 
  4. Fourthly, there will be excess dye on the surface of your wood after it dries for about 10 minutes. So, use a cloth or a towel to wipe off the excess dye. When you wipe the surface, it makes the coating even, and the dark lines that may want to remain on your oak are removed.
  5. The fifth step is drying the dye properly so you can feel how dry it is when you touch it. 2 hours is enough time to achieve this. Waiting this extra time is to ensure no discoloration when you stain your oak. Also, when you wait, your dye will probably darken and help you know if you need to reapply more dye. Another thing before staining red oak plywood is to reapply your dye twice or thrice, depending on the color you want to realize after the process. Drying the wood each time you reapply a dye coating is advisable because you want to see the same and consistent color on your oak after you are done.
  6. The sixth step is to use 320 grit sandpaper lightly on your wood. Doing this lightly prevents your oak from getting scratched by the sandpaper. Sanding at this point is to make sealant easy to absorb. When you are through, clean the area with a rag.
  7. The next step is to apply your dewaxed shellac to the dye. This seals it into your wood. A paintbrush or rag can be used for this. An alternative to shellac is varnish and sanding sealer which most people prefer or go for. When you are done, wait for it to dry.
Stain with red oak finish


We have oil-based, gel, and water stains depending on the one you want to apply on your oak.

  • You must scuff sandpaper on your wood very lightly before you apply the stain you bought on your wood.
  • After applying the stain, clean off the excess stain left on your wood. Then, let your wood dry for a day.
  • Reapply the stain on areas that weren’t properly touched with the stain. Apply until it is even. You can apply more shellac to the surface when it is completely dried. You don’t have to buy new shellac because the one you used during the dyeing process is still okay.
  • Depending on the kind of stain you used, drying it well may take time. So, you should check the guidelines for the stain you bought.
  • Also, before disposing of the items you used in applying the stain, ensure you dry them because they are flammable. 

Final Thoughts

From the article, you can see that staining red oak plywood is easy for you to do. However, you should know how you apply dye to your oak and pay close attention to it because you don’t want your dye to be too dark. Changing a dark dye to a light one is difficult, if not impossible, and you need your red oak to come out excellent.

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