Bamboo won’t stain

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Q: The bamboo wood I’m trying to stain won’t take stain at all! I have sanded and restrained many times where I run into issues with the lacquer. The latest is the lacquer has white film and one site said to use thinner. Well, this bubbled the lacquer so I resanded the area to start AGAIN and now it won’t take stain at all. I’ve tried wood cleaner. I’ve tried water popping. Nada. When I call local stores they say bamboo can’t be stained!

A: Thankfully I’ve never had to try to stain bamboo. I can certainly see that it may not take stain. It isn’t really wood. It is more like fibrous plant material which is hard and shiny. I have some small samples in my trailer. I may try an experiment with them to see if I can stain it. Why are you using lacquer?

It is entirely possible that the finish is already tinted when applied in factory with this product.

Q: I’ve been refinishing floors for 19 years and never once stained bamboo, have you and is there a special stain?

A: Thankfully I’ve not been asked to stain one. But you are the second person to inquire about bamboo recently. I have been meaning to do some test samples but I can already imagine the stain won’t readily penetrate. Manufacturers get their dark, carbonized version of bamboo I believe by steaming it. In other cases, while I don’t know for sure, I’d bet they use tinted finish.

If I got a request to stain one, I would definitely do some tests before committing to it. If you get to it before me, I’d appreciate your feed back.

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