As can be clearly seen by the illustration, a typical wood stain appears much darker on rough sawn timber than sanded or planed. It is important to take this into consideration when choosing a colour for a project (Our Wood Dye and Stain colour charts are based on sanded or planed timber). The rough surface when looked at under a magnifying glass has thousands of tiny fibres standing up in the softer grain. These absorb more stain and just one coat would give the effect of several applications. It can also make the timber very stripy almost like a Zebra in extreme cases of a dark stain on a light softwood. This also means that you will need more stain per application on rough surfaces. Our coverage calculator (found on each product information page) takes this into account. The colour difference applies to hardwoods too but is less extreme, using a coloured varnish or dark Shellac polish as opposed to applying a stain of directly to raw timber will give a more even finish. A dark wax polish can also give the stripy appearance on new or sanded softwood but this can reduced by using a sanding sealer prior to waxing.