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The tools and techniques surrounding the process of coloring the wood while maintaining the appearance of the grain.

Staining used to refer to colouring the wood directly, but in more recent times the term has become diluted to refer to coloured finishes that are applied on the surface but do not actually colour the wood itself. Products such as gel stain and "combination stain and varnish" are examples of modern finishes which use stain in the name but are not stains in the conventional sense.