|Project by LoganN||posted 03-30-2017 10:01 PM||1750 views||7 times favorited||29 comments|
Try to stain hard maple again! I got a commission piece from a former colleague who wanted a table made to look like one I had done before. After seeing her house, getting the measurements, and talking options, we had a plan. But then the type of wood changed. To maple. With a stain. Not a problem I said – I know a few tricks. I built the table in a few weeks in my shop and decided to use the shellac and gel stain option. I looked up various techniques and this seemed the one that most people recommended. I watched the Wood whisperer video and did everything he said. I should have read the directions on the gel stain can too. Anyway, I cut the shellac with denatured alcohol and applied it and then applied the stain to the legs. I didn’t wipe it off right away, so problem number one occurred. I used mineral spirits to clean the stain off the legs and got started again. But these are artistic legs with lots of corners… and I didn’t sand enough… so I could see swirl marks. Take off the stain again and resand- but those corners are tight. So I restrain the leg, but every time I wipe up the stain it leaves little marks so I lightly sand those after they’re dry… and now I see bare wood… ugh
Let’s go to the top – Birdseye maple center strip with hard maple breadboard ends and side boards. I apply a full coat of shellac to the Birdseye because I want that to pop and a 1/2 coat to the other boards. And now we can apply stain, wipe it off, and see the beauty. Except that the only thing I see are spots where the stain is going into the wood and spots where it is sitting on top of the wood. I only did half the table and it’s blotchy, so I stripped the table with mineral spirits and bring up most of the stain except for the spots where it really sank into the wood. Those are slightly darker. So I sand again, and reapply shellac. This time I use a full coat. I wait for it to dry and apply stain – I know that it has enough shellac, so the stain will be fine, right? Except that I’m wrong. As soon as I start wiping off the stain I can see splotches in the maple where it’s lighter and darker. I’m upset now, but I’ve already used the deposit, so I try to take off the stain again, but this time it doesn’t wipe off… I start sanding. I get it sanded down to where there is some dark pigment in some places, but the wood is pretty uniform and I start applying shellac. I do 3 coats this time – trying to get an even spread over the wood so it’s soaked in everywhere. Finally, it looks good. I decide to bite the bullet and stain again, this time doing everything, including the breadboards I hadn’t gotten to previously. I apply the stain by the book directions. And decide ”#%*^it. I’ll look at it tomorrow” and I go away. I look at it tomorrow – and I’m not happy. I ask my wife to look at it – “the breadboard ends look good” she says.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I tried one more time. Everything except the breadboard ends. It didn’t work. I had to contact the seller and give her the options – take it the way it is, sand it and go natural, or just give her back the deposit. I knew what she would choose – keep it and return her deposit. Which means sanding it and leaving it natural. So I sand it – starting from 80 grit up to 220. And apply oil and poly. Which starts to look good. Until I build up enough coats to see some swirl marks. So I sand again. And some more. And go up to 400 grit. And start to apply poly again. And there’s a swirl mark I missed. And it’s sanded. And the coats are looking great, the sheen is building. I’ve gotten all my little nubs off the table, but there are still some streaks from the wipeon poly, so I’ll buy spray poly instead of getting out my sprayer. And I spray it, and it looks nice, except for the day ones from the spray not laying thick enough. So I’ll give it one more spray – but apparently (reading the directions after the fact again) you neare d to spray WITHIN the first 2 hours of the first spray, not after 3.5 like I waited, so now the finish is filmy and murky. So I sand a little more and apply some wipeon poly. Which doesn’t do squat. So I apply full coat brush on poly – and that’s where it went a little better.
Either way, I’m done with this table and I’ll NEVER take a commision to stain maple again. Now I just need to sell this o e so I can pay the deposit back. But hey, I’ve gotten interest by people of Craigslist who want to pay me by PayPal and send their agents to come pick it up, oh, and could I please pay them from the money I’ve given you.. And the Nigerian scams begin…