Problesm applying Sanding Sealer over Gel Stain

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Forum topic by SteveInVa posted 07-10-2015 07:41 PM 640 views 0 times favorited 0 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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07-10-2015 07:41 PM

I am at the finishing stages of project. I am retreading stairs and risers and then paneling the staircase with an arts and crafts rails and stiles. I am following the formula for staining and finishing white oak recommended in this article. I started by sanding to 220, applied a dye stain, let it dry for several hours, applied a coat of sanding sealer (Zinsser wax-free), scuff sanded, then applied a gel stain glaze, wiped it off to desired color, let it dry for close to 18 hours, and then applied another coat of sanding sealer. Then I will finish with floor poly for the stairs and treads and perhaps my homemade beeswax finish for the stiles, rails, and panels (but I have not decided on that finish yet).

Here’s my problem. The tests came out great. But I have now made it through the second sanding seal coat of the first half of treads and risers, and I am encountering a problem with the second seal coat. On some of the boards, the sanding sealer seemed to lift the gel stain and created little speckled flecks of dark color (see photo 1). I can’t figure out why this happened. It was almost as if the sanding sealer acted like an application of mineral spirits, dissolving the gel stain turning it into a thin liquid that smeared and speckled. You can see on the photo below a little spot where the color washed away.

Other areas came out just fine (see photo 2).

Can anybody offer any suggestions as to why this happened and what tricks I should follow when applying the sanding sealer. I notice that it can be difficult to apply evenly over stained wood because it dries so fast. I have had a hard time finding tips on how to apply it, with most people commenting on how easy it was to use. I notice that I often other miss a spot or get to much on in some places leaving behind little streaks that are hard to scuff sand out.

Thanks any and all for your help.

-- Steve

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