Narrow gauge modeler Bob Brown has two staining techniques that he uses on his Tuolumne Forks model railroad. The stain is created by mixing isopropyl rubbing alcohol with a few drops of black leather dye in a small container. It is important to test the mixture with a scrap piece of wood to make sure the stain is not too dark. It is much easier to build color up than strip it away or dilute it.
Brown utilizes two methods to apply the stain. One way is to dip the piece of wood in the stain, which creates a nice gray color. The other technique is to brush the stain on. This brush method is also used to stain clapboard siding. It is an easy way to weather wood and to blend structures together on the layout.
One way that Brown achieves the variegated colors on his cars is to wipe the stain on the wood. A cloth is saturated with thinner and then dipped in the base color and a driftwood color to tone it down. It is important to not use a white color with the base because this will change red dyes to pink. Brown always uses gloves when applying stain this way. The stain is applied to the strip of wood by wrapping the cloth around it and running it along the length. This is how Brown creates a variegated look on his layout.