I bought Briarsmoke because I was looking for something that had an ashy undertone, but still a wood color (i.e., not overwhelmingly gray). The color on the can and the swatch in the store looked perfect. Imagine my disappointment when I opened the can and it looked like gray paint. I gave it a try anyways, and - shocker - it looked like gray paint on the wood. It was very opaque and covered most of the wood grain, even with a very light application. I'm really disappointed with the advertising of this color. If I wanted gray paint, I would have not wasted $10 on this stain and bought gray paint.
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Response from Rust-OleumSupportOctober 12, 2020
Hi Casey, a crucial step in the application of our Varathane Fast Dry Wood Stains is to wipe the excess stain from the wood after a few minutes. The stain will appear as a solid color in the can, and once applied to the surface, however, the excess stain must be removed by wiping with a lint-free cloth after a few minutes to ensure the proper color, appearance, and curing. - Rust-Oleum Product Support 2
I love the color. Its easy to work with. For a light gray color I applied small amounts with a rag and wiped after 30 seconds or so. It gives a deep gray color fast so if you're not careful it'll look like gray paint. I would try it out on scrap wood before to get the color your looking for.
I have used a variety of stain brands but I do prefer Varathane. The dry time was as advertised (approximately 30 minutes) and the color was spot on as you can see in the photo below. As always when staining, be sure to wear gloves!
As a woodworker, I know how to use stain. This product is horrible. I used it to stain my dining room floor. After install of red oak flooring, the stain looked very blotchy. I thought that I did something wrong in the application so I sanded the floor back to bare wood and applied wood conditioner (something that I never have had to do on oak before). Second stain looked amazing! Exceeded the manufacturer’s directions I waited 4 hours before applying polyurethane on a very low humidity day. Deep into the poly coat, I noticed the stain pulled up. The stain wasn’t dry. My floors need to be sanded a second time. While reading these comments, this isn’t uncommon. These instructions were written by a marketing team rather than professionals. So disappointing.
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Response from Rust-OleumSupportSeptember 14, 2020
That is not what we like to hear, Jeremy! Once our Varathane Fast Dry Wood Stain has been applied and allowed to penetrate the bare wood for a few minutes, the excess stain must be wiped from the surface to ensure the stain will dry in the expected time frame. Please give us a call at 800-901-0411, we want to learn more about the application issues, and try to make things right. - Rust-Oleum Product Support 2
Looks NOTHING like it shows. Just looks like straight grey...
September 2, 2020
Looks NOTHING like it shows. Just looks like straight grey paint.
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Response from Rust-OleumSupportSeptember 3, 2020
Our Varathane Fast Dry Wood Stains are wiping stains, so the excess stain must be wiped away from the wood to ensure proper appearance and drying. When in the can and first applied, the stain will appear opaque, similar to a paint. Once the stain has been allowed to penetrate the wood for a few minutes, wipe the surface with a clean rag in the direction of the wood grain to remove all of the excess stain. If the stain has been applied and the excess was not removed, the stain on top of the wood will likely remain tacky. If this occurs, you can wipe the surface with a rag dampened with either more stain, or mineral spirits to reactivate the tacky stain. Continue wiping the surface in the direction of the wood grain, until all of the stain on the wood has been removed, leaving only what is in the wood behind. - Rust-Oleum Product Support 2
The black cherry color was perfect. I followed the direction however, I applied the product with a soft cloth. The stain went on beautifully. My desk was dry in an hour however, I waited overnite. It looked even better. Completely satisfied with the product.
Was recommended this product by a fellow woodworker enthusiast. It did not disappoint! Love the color and the ease of staining. The only downside is I wish it came in a water based version. Cleanup is messy if you're trying to do it in stages due to time constraints! I refinished my table that I stripped down to bare oak. It came out perfectly!