Reviewing Saman Interior Wood Stain

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Inside: A DIYers honest review of Saman Interior Wood stain; used on pine board shelving; comparison to Minwax; plus tips on using the right stain applicator, water based stain versus oil based stain.

I love finding new-to-me products to test and try out and so when we decided to spruce up our living room and add in some floating shelves, I thought it was a great opportunity to test out Saman Wood Stain and see how it compares to other wood stains I’ve used. saman wood stain review

My initial reaction to Saman Wood Stain

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This seems weird but I love the packaging. I really like that the bottle of stain is easy to hold in one hand and fits easily on a shelf without taking up too much space. I also appreciate that it’s a plastic container, which means when it’s empty, I can recycle it. (I’m a big fan of recycling FYI.)saman wood stain review

Benefits to Saman Wood Stain

The big benefit of this stain is that it is water-based. What does that mean? It means it has a much lower drying time than other oil-based stains and it offers easier clean-up because you can simply use soap and water. 

Water-based stains tend to have very little odor and I was able to use it indoors with my studio door propped open no problem. The end shelves had very little off-gassing and I was able to hang them within a day of staining. 

I was pleasantly pleased with the consistency of this stain too. I was kind of expecting it to be overly watery, but it had great colour saturation and it was just liquid enough that it spread evenly over the wood. 

In terms of the colour and tone, we picked Colonial which is perfection. In fact, I think it is now my new favorite stain colour! I’m considered re-staining the top of my Office Credenza with this stain because I love it so much!

Other differences between Water-based Stain and Oil-based Stain

  • water based stain has a dry time of about 30-90 minutes
  • water based stain typically requires a top coat to seal it
  • water based stain might cause the wood grain to rise (you can see that in the photo below – but I like that look)water based wood stain results
  • oil based stain will have a much longer dry time (typically 48-72 hours)
  • oil based stain doesn’t always require a top coat
  • oil based stain tends to have a stronger odor
  • oil based stain requires mineral spirits or turpentine to clean up

How easy is this stain to use and apply? 

Two words – very easy. Until now, I’d been obsessed with Minwax Stain Cloths for quick projects like my DIY Tablet stand and while I still love them, I think this Saman Stain is giving it a real run for its money. 

I purchased the application kit from Saman along with the small bottle of interior wood stain just to see how easy it would be for a first time user who didn’t necessarily have all the supplies on hand that I do in my studio. I think the quality of the gloves that come with this kit is INCREDIBLE and far superior to the gloves that come with the Minwax wipes. 


The sponge applicator was enough to do my three 36″ shelves and it likely would have held up to a couple more. The cloth wipes that came in the kit were little more than paper towels, but they were handy for cleaning up the drips from the bottle.

All in all, you could save a few dollars and use good latex gloves and cut a kitchen sponge to make your own kit, but for sake of convenience, this kit was okay. 

I tested two ways of applying this stain. The first time, I followed the instructions on the bottle exactly. I added the stain to the sponge and then wiped it onto the pine boards following the grain of the wood. The second time, I poured the stain directly onto the wood and then wiped it with the sponge. The first way was better LOL, so if you’re using a water based product like this, use that method. 

Starting with the stain on the sponge gave me a lot more control over the saturation and difference in the tones. 

Overall, I think this is a fabulous product and I will be purchasing it again! 

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