The Evolution of Wood Staining: From Manual Brushes to Automated Machines

Feb 15, 2024 | Deck Staining, Fence Staining

Brief History of Wood Staining

Primitive stains and pigments along with dyes on wood have their earliest being in some of the oldest civilizations. 

As a matter of fact, Egyptians depended on organic product to dye the wood which they contributed to furniture and art. 

Egyptian Art Dye

Truth is…

Such initial stains were accrued from natural pigments, for instance, from plants, minerals, and even from insects. 

At the beginning, the painters understood that such coloring agents not only offered an aesthetic color and tone, but also gave extra protection to the wood itself.

So, along with time, enhancements and progressions in technology, wood staining evolved into the process that is widely used today. 

But wait, there’s more:

During the 19th century, synthetic dyes and pigments were introduced, which resulted in a range of colors wider than ever before and an improved working life time as well. 

As of now, there is a lot of wood stain products such as oil based container to water based stain from which we can choose depends on the features that suit our preferences.

Importance of Wood Staining in Preserving and Enhancing Wood Beauty

As you know…

The wood staining isn’t only about achieving an aesthetic appeal but many other things as well. 

Old Stained Fence

The main function of wood staining is to enhance the beauty of the wood and to change the colour, as well as draw attention to the grain, and at the same time making wood more resistant to elemental conditions such as rain, sunlight , and temperature. 

It provides wood with an extra layer of protection against external factors including humidity and insects which would otherwise shorten the life of the wood. 

And what’s more?

Stains can get into the wood’s pores thereby thwarting the effects of warping, splitting and decay.

Therefore, wood staining is a perfect balance between preserving and enriching the wood’s natural beauty. 


So whether it is a nice Cedar fence or a Redwood floor planks, the use of stain does not only highlight the wood features but also makes them durable for years to come. 

From the very beginning when wood staining was invented until this present time, it holds and still plays a very important part in woodworking as it still represents our constant admiration of the natural beauty of wood.



The Early Methods of Wood Staining

Wood staining is a skill that has existed for as long as ancient times – as discussed above – and for most of that time, the technique used for applying stain was mainly executed through manual brushing. 

Fence Staining

And take note…

This traditional method – though you may consider it a simple process – required expertise and knowledge for the best effects still being used in some applications today.

Manual Brushing Techniques

Manual brush application is a method where stain is applied directly to the wood. 

The most important thing for achieving even staining is done by using the application technique. 

stained wood fence

So here:

1. Loosen the bristle side of a rag roller so that the stain covers a reasonable amount of space without needing to reload often.

2. Use the long part of the brush and apply stain along with the direction of the grain. 

This technique aids in the stain getting properly inside the wood-fibers enabling the natural characteristics of the wood to show up.


Some small tutorials and manuals can be found online to teach people how to handle the hand brushing technique. 

And one tip:

One should be aware that not all types of wood will react in an identical way to stains, so an experimentation and practicing are required.

Problems and Restriction of Manual Staining

While manual staining provides control over the application process, it does come with several challenges and limitations:

Manual Fence Staining

Time-Consuming: Hand-brushing is not only time-consuming but also very tedious for big projects. Achieving such a smooth and even surface takes a lot of time and patience.

Inconsistencies: Manual brushing, tiredness, and inability to maintain the same standards of finishing can cause inconsistency in attaining superior results. These include streaks, blotches, or uneven coverage when the stain is not applied smoothly.

Limited Coverage: Brushes cannot squeeze into narrow corners or complicated patterns. This may lead to the unevenness of staining during the process especially with complex wooden shapes.

Maintenance of Brushes: Brushes are used once over and over again and they must be cleaned perfectly every after each use so that they can continue to work properly.

The Rise of Automated Staining Solutions

The world of wood staining has seen significant evolution over the years.

While the early methods involved manual brushing, the advent of technology has led to the development of automated machines, revolutionizing the way we apply stains today.

So in this section…

We will explore the inception of these advancements and how innovation has played a pivotal role in wood staining.

Keep reading!

Development of Automated Machines

To achieve the objectives of speed and efficient staining, the manufacturers and the innovators started to work with the automated machinery solutions for wood staining. 

Introduction to Technological Advancements

This was just the beginning of another era – the era of innovations in staining procedures.

These machines, equipped with the latest technologies, can now do the staining process cheaply and FAST which is the opposite of the former process that is labor-intensive and time-consuming. 

staintrac staining machine

There’s more!

The machines might be highly improved now having features like automatic feed systems, multi­directional sprayers and the precise control mechanisms.

They can spray the wood well and very fast and with the consistency that will be difficult to achieve by hand and by semi-automatic staining machine.

On the other hand…

The progress of technology has led to the emergence of more compact and flexible devices. 

Nowadays you can purchase a number of automatic staining devices manufactured for a variety of purpose, including giant industrial lines or individual workshops.

That’s amazing!

The Role of Innovation in Wood Staining

Innovation has always played a pivotal role in the development of wood staining.

The emergence of these automated machines is a bright evidence of this. 

The search for better, faster methods of staining wood has generated new technologies.

pre-stain wood fence

Not only has automation machines helped in making the staining process more efficient but it has also led to significant improvements in the quality of the finish. 

While manual methods provide hard to achieve consistency levels, automation ensures uniformity that translates to a high-quality finish. 

In other words…

This makes staining a lot more easier!

They eliminate excess stain by precisely metering the amount of stain applied, therefore making application more economical and eco-friendly.

Automation has not only allowed us to do complex staining work but it also has made it possible to do difficult task very easy. 

The use of machines that can handle any type of wood and several paint colors opens a wide range of possibilities and allows woodworkers to bring the most amazing ideas to life. 

Advantages of Automated Staining

While the traditional appeal of manual staining continues to hold its charm, the rise of automated staining solutions has revolutionized the wood staining process, bringing significant benefits that redefine efficiency and productivity.

Here’s why:

Advantages of Automated Staining

Perhaps, the biggest output of automated staining is the production speed. 

Automated machines are built in a way to process big scales of work fast with less error. 

Wood Staining Machine

Unlike manual brushing where a person has to rely on human skill and patience…

Automatic machines are designed and engineered from precision parts and mechanisms to make sure that all part of wood get the same layer of stain distributed evenly.

The good part?

The output is an even coat that refines the wood’s organic look while providing it with a shield against environmental deterrents. 

Automatic machines set and keep the amount of stain used, and as a result, it ensures cost-effectiveness and decreased wastage. 

Reduction in Labor and Time 

When it comes to work and efficiency, automated staining machines are a time-saver. 

The manual staining process is a detailed and intricate one but that can be combined with additional work hours and in turn, takes longer time, especially in larger projects. 

It takes a substantial amount of manpower, ranging from the actual practice of applying the stain to the upkeeping of the machines.

staining wood fence

Automated machines do routine tasks much faster and more accurately. 

Once the device is configured with the desired stain, it can perform the task of staining on wood alone with little to no human intervention, freeing up human labor resources for more complex works. 

One of the best parts?

Other than cutting labor costs, automation is quicker as compared to the manual process and it also helps businesses to meet deadlines and enhance productivity.

Besides that…

Automatic machines are less demanding with regards to fixing of the polishers that needs strict cleaning after any service, providing further time for the customers.

Introduction to Sprayers in Wood Staining

Sprayers have marked a significant development in the realm of wood staining.

Offering a new level of ease, speed, and consistency.

These devices usher in both do-it-yourself convenience and professional-grade precision. 

Let’s talk about it!

Types of Sprayers

There is a wide array of sprayers available in the market.

Each designed to cater to different types of staining projects:

Handheld Sprayers 

These are the types of devices specifically designed for small to medium projects which are compact and easy to carry. 

Spray Staining

Handheld sprayers are very convenient and that’s why they are perfect for all DIY lovers or for those people who want to use it for staining wood furniture for decks or fences in their own home. 


These give an advantage of ease and handling to newbies which enable them to achieve the look fit for pros.

Professional-Grade Sprayers

For the big ones…

The commercial scale – professional sprayers are the better picks to go with. 

The sprayers are designed to handle the large quantities of stain and can therefore be perfect for quick and accurate mass coverage. 

Airless Paint Sprayers

The common variety have extra features like pressure adjustments and various spray patterns allowing for user’s better control and precision.

Benefits of Using Sprayers

The introduction of sprayers in wood staining has brought about significant advantages:

Speed and Efficiency

Sprayers has better results in much shorter time than brushes and rollers. 

The roller applicators can paint massive areas running just a few minutes, hence, they are a good fit for large jobs such as staining a fence or a deck. 

Stained Deck


The reduction in time is another advantage in the improvement process which results in higher efficiency.

Improved Coverage and Finish

The sprayers are designed to spread a fine mist of the stain that seeps into the wood surface evenly. 

The application is uniform and consistently similar in comparison to manual methods which may sometimes be uneven. 


Sprayers can reach corners or intricate patterns accurately as they apply an even stain in all parts.

Thumbs up!

Wood Products That Benefit From Staining

Staining is an essential part of woodworking, offering both protective properties and aesthetic enhancement.

There is a wide range of wood products that can benefit significantly from staining.

Types of Wood Products

Fence Pickets


Two functions are performed by staining; it not only adds color and character to fence pickets but also works as a barrier against moisture, insects, and UV radiation.

Wooden Picket Fence

Thereby increasing the durability of the pickets.


Siding made of wood lends protection from natural elements, and a good stain job can add more resilience to its beauty as well. 

Cedar Wood Privacy Fence

A well-stained siding can complement and highlight the grain of the wood and also enhance the curb appeal of your home.


Whether they are part of fences or are being used to support a pergola, deck and mailbox – wooden posts’ beauty can be enriched through staining. 

new wood fence

It helps to stop the decaying of the posts, the penetration of insects, and the effects of erosion.

Pergola Boards

The pergolas are open to the elements too, so they are delicate and can get damaged by the sun and rain. 

Wooden Pergola

Staining these boards can fulfill the dual purpose of protecting them and at the same time enhance the look of the area.

Deck Boards

Decks are subjected to high rates of wear and tear resulting from the foot traffic, harsh weather elements, and so on. 

Stains can prove useful for protecting deck boards from the effects of UV rays, rain and temperature changes and also boosting their natural look and color.

Common Types of Woods Used

Different types of Woods react differently to stains.


Knowing which wood you’re working with can help you achieve the best results:


The cedar is often selected for installations like fence pickets and deck floorboards because of its resistance to rot and insects.

cedar wood material

Cedar has natural oil that drives damaging critters away!


It requires minimal upkeep.

Staining can help to preserve the wood’s longevity, and at the same time show off its beautiful, warm hues.


While Pine is not as durable as cedar or redwood, it’s often selected for it’s affordability and availability. 

pine wood material

Staining will offer the necessary element protection from what pine does not have and bring out its special grain patterns.

So if you are on a budget, this is for you!


Redwood is the quality of choice for many outdoor applications because of its inherent beauty and toughness. 

redwood wood material

The quality stain can save redwood from the outdoor damages while enhancing its reddish hues. 

The Role of StainTrac Machines in Modern Wood Staining

In the constantly evolving landscape of wood staining techniques, StainTrac machines emerge as a game-changer.

Offering a blend of automation, precision, and versatility that reshapes modern wood staining practices.

Features of StainTrac Machines

Automation and Precision

StainTrac Machines feature advanced automation which reduces the need for hands-on labor while guaranteeing the stain is applied with exceptional consistency.

How To Stain A Pergola

Engineered precisely…

Its output ensures consistency giving a flawless job. 

This high level of accuracy leads to a good finish of the wood that makes the natural beauty of the wood even more visible and protects it at the same time.

Versatility for Different Wood Products

StainTrac machines play the role of universal machinery, fitting different types of wood material. 

They are capable of handling a variety of wooden goods, including fence posts, siding, posts and deck boards. 

importance of wood

This multi-functionality has made them a core component of every woodworker’s workshop or company, as this machine can be used for various applications, and increases the productivity and efficiency of every project.

Impact on the Industry

The use of StainTrac machines has brought about the positive change in the woodworking industry. 

Many businesses have found that the productivity, costs and the quality of their finished products have been improved for the better as a result of their incorporation of these machines into their operations.

Fence Stain Machine Pre-stained Wood Stack

And here’s more…

These machines can provide the answers to the most daunting issues that come with traditional staining, which include inconsistencies and project time constraints.

StainTrac machines are innovative solutions that offer the chance of a quicker, professional staining process that not only to satisfy, but even surpasses customer expectations.

In Conclusion

Summary of the Evolution from Manual to Automated Staining

The Evolution of Wood Staining traces the journey of wood staining techniques from manual brushing methods to modern automated machines and sprayers. 

Wood staining has been changing over time. 

It is apparent how much we have improved our operations from time to time, with the ultimate goal of high efficiency, effectiveness, and the best results.

StainTrac Folded Down

It get’s better.

The types of wood products benefiting from staining have also expanded, including fence pickets, siding, posts, pergola boards, and deck boards.

Common wood types such as cedar, pine, redwood, and pressure-treated woods are being used.

The Future of Wood Staining Technology and Practices

The bottomline…

We will definitely see much advanced innovations in the wood staining field.

It is evident with StainTrac devices, automation and precision will be the future norm, which will influence the fate of wood staining. 

As the industry continues to embrace technological advancements, the future is geared towards even greater efficiency, precision, and versatility of wood staining.