Using Glaze in Woodworking

Is “glaze” a process or a material, and how does it differ from stain?

Tim Inman: Glaze is a product; glazing is a technique. Commercial glazes for wood finishers are heavily pigmented and opaque. Wood finishing glazes also have a slippery additive included in the vehicle to make them workable. Glazing is a “must know” artistic technique every wood finisher should learn.

Kevin Hancock: Glazing is the process of applying a colorant between coats of finish. It is usually a thick pigment colorant, so it can be seen as a thick stain.

Michael Dresdner: In short, glaze is a thickened, slippery tinted liquid designed to be applied and blended to form a layer of floating color in between coats of finish, while stain is designed to go onto raw wood. While the wood itself largely controls how stain addresses the surface, the finisher has almost complete control of glaze, leaving it heavier or lighter in any area of the surface she chooses.

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