Stain still tacky one week later

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Forum topic by Northuplander posted 09-28-2015 07:27 PM 2229 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Northuplander's profile


3 posts in 994 days

09-28-2015 07:27 PM

OK, I confess, I likely didn’t sand down my cabinets as well as I should have before staining. So now I have a full set of kitchen cabinets and two sets of bathroom cabinets all oak and all still tacky one week later. I have large areas of the cabinets that are dry, and have been using fans to circulate air. Is there anything else I can do to speed things up? I have my A/C on as well, but since temps are in the low 70’s it is not always running I think the fans are helping but it will take another week at least, maybe much longer, to get all the spots based on my experience last few days. Is there anything else that would help. I am worried that if I try to wipe it down that it will smudge pretty bad and make it look worse since it is not wet to the touch, just tacky and very tacky. Hoping to get my poly on before Christmas. Thanks!

16 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2537 days

#1 posted 09-28-2015 07:46 PM

The ONLY thing I can think of is to thin your finish coat, adding a drying agent/solvent, and when you put it on, hope it carries the weight of finishing the drying of the stain. I’ve gotten away with it once or twice, but more often than not, I had to take off the stain and finish sanding the wood.

Good luck…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2509 days

#2 posted 09-28-2015 07:48 PM

Stain tacky? Just how much did you put on?

It should have soaked in in about 15 minutes and been wiped in an hour or so.

Stain is not a finish, it is a colorant for the wood. At this point I don’t really know what to tell you, and believe me,I am not yelling at you for doing it…. I had it happen to me many years ago.

Is this oil base or water base stain? Maybe someone will chime in with a bunch more experience than I have.
I am but a grasshopper.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4998 posts in 2516 days

#3 posted 09-28-2015 08:06 PM

I’m puzzled why you mentioned you didn’t sand them down enough. Whether you did or not is unrelated to your problem. Knowing a little more about what stain it is that’s giving you problems would help. Also, is this a fresh can? How did you apply, did you do as Dallas described?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View TheFridge's profile


9605 posts in 1508 days

#4 posted 09-28-2015 08:22 PM

I give it a wipe with mineral spirits whenever I have drying issues. Just me.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Northuplander's profile


3 posts in 994 days

#5 posted 09-28-2015 08:24 PM

I wasn’t clear at first. I stained cabinets that were previously stained and thin poly coated. I think I may not have removed all the poly when sanding, hence the stain not sinking in completely and instead just getting tacky on the surface. Stain is a brand new oil-based Minwax stain.

View johnstoneb's profile


2932 posts in 2195 days

#6 posted 09-28-2015 09:20 PM

Minwax is your problem. It won’t dry you will have to do as Tennessee suggested and put another coat of finish over it. I had the same problem with Minwax and don’t use it anymore.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View ChefHDAN's profile


1067 posts in 2872 days

#7 posted 09-28-2015 09:27 PM

Still tacky sounds like too much stain left on surface or has been said the prior poly kept it from absorbing the stain to begin with. You can rub down with MS to see if the excess will remove and if it takes it all of then you know the prior poly is the culprit. Did you do the prior finish, do you know that it’s a poly finish?

FWIW, there is a product called KrudKutter stripper that I have used to refinish some garage sale finds that works fairly well with removing old finishes, a bit faster than sanding, and pretty easy to work with, it’s not a gnarly burn your skin off product.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Northuplander's profile


3 posts in 994 days

#8 posted 09-29-2015 12:17 AM

Hi, TheFridge, that suggestion is of interest to me. What I wanted to get a better handle on is how saturated is the cloth you use to swipe and how much pressure would you apply? I know there can’t be a definitive formula as it depends on each situation, but what is your gut on this?
Thanks to all you guys for your input.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2712 days

#9 posted 09-29-2015 12:19 AM

I think a coat of shellac will cover that stickiness and allow you to move forward with your final finish. I am amazed at what shellac will seal over!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2646 days

#10 posted 10-01-2015 04:22 AM

Wipe it with mineral spirits. Give it a day presto.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2421 days

#11 posted 10-01-2015 11:50 PM

A coat of Seal Coat followed by some polyurethane should solve your problem.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View TheFridge's profile


9605 posts in 1508 days

#12 posted 10-02-2015 12:06 AM

I use just a splash on a rag and wipe it. Not much too it really.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 1155 days

#13 posted 10-02-2015 12:17 AM

I would wipe it all down with lacquer thinner and finish sanding off all the old poly. Basically start over.
These are kitchen cabinets, you want a solid product. That’s what I would do if they were mine.

In my opinion the mineral spirits is just going to make a mess, but if your going with the thought of wiping it all down and starting over, then you have nothing to lose. Just try to keep the color even as your wiping.

-- -

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4230 posts in 2583 days

#14 posted 10-02-2015 12:34 AM

Most of the time when stain is still tacky it is because it was put on to thick. Did you wipe it down after you put it on? Wipe it with mineral spirits and re-due what needs done again.
I hope it gets better soon

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View TTF's profile


154 posts in 3200 days

#15 posted 10-02-2015 12:46 AM

Since it’s sitting on a coat of poly, its just going to sit there and eventually harden up. If it’s still not dry after week, I think your not going to have a finish that will last.

If you want them to dry, get a dehumidifier and run it 24×7.

If it were me, I’d get mineral spirits, wipe them clean, sand everything correctly and re-stain them.

I have done a lot of things like this in the past – so no judgement here – but it’s better just to do it right in the end. Less stress, more predictable. I bet you spent way more calories worrying about the stain drying that you would have doing the sanding up front. Again, I’ve done the exact same thing. I think we get to learn the “fun” way…

Anyway, best of luck with it. I hope it looks great in the end.

-- Troy | | The more I see nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator. - Louis Pasteur

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