Stain showed up after stripped

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Forum topic by noober posted 10-19-2015 07:14 PM 637 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 369 days

10-19-2015 07:14 PM

My husband and I bought a table that was in pretty bad condition from a consignment shop with the idea of stripping and refinishing it. I used Citristrip because I am pregnant and did not want the caustic chemicals that come with some of the other strippers. I was able to get the finish off, I neutralized the stripper with water (per instructions) and then wiped the entire surface with mineral spirits the following day.

I sanded the surface with 150 and then 400 grit, again wiped clean with a tack cloth and then mineral spirits. Once I applied the first coat I noticed on one of the leafs the stain was a lot darker and there was a stain that was not obvious with the original finish or when it was bare wood.

Do you have any suggestions on how I might remove this stain or how it got there when even with the original stain it was not present?

Lastly, what kind of wood do you think this is? I probably should have known before starting the staining process, but I didn’t.

The pictures from top left clockwise are, the table when we bought it, the panel touching the ground is the one that developed the discoloration. Next, the wood stripped (not the same panel, I did not get a picture of it before staining), NExt a close up of the original stain and showing the new stain is not there. Finally, what the table looks like now with the discoloration of the stain.

18 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


15459 posts in 2425 days

#1 posted 10-19-2015 07:51 PM

Hmm. Wood bleach (oxalic acid) might be able to pull that stain (ill call it a spot from here on out to reduce confusion) out of the leaf but im not certain of that. I wouldn’t use it (the bleach) if I were pregnant. Not that a male could be, but you get what im sayin. Most likely you have an open pored wood like oak which is making it difficult to remove that spot because its soaked in deep. It was probably obscured with the original finish and came to light once you cleaned all the sanding dust out of the open pores after stripping it.

My solution would be to use a dye finish so you could control the colors around that spot. General finishes makes some good ones or you could use transfast or transtint powdered dyes mixed with water, shellac or denatured alcohol.

If youd like a light colored finish, youre gonna need to bleach it. If you want a dark colored finish you can try using the dye.

That’s my stab at the situation. Im far from a finishing guru but those are my thoughts and they may be refuted at any time.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View noober's profile


6 posts in 369 days

#2 posted 10-19-2015 08:28 PM

I have heard of the oxalic acid, but was not sure if that was the best option or not. If it is, I can have my husband do that part after all, I know HE is not pregnant. :)

My concern is the stain that I have already applied, will the wood bleach damage the stain that is already applied or will it work its magic and leave the stain alone? I used an oil based stain but have not yet put a clear coat over the top. IF the bleach is my best option (since it is already stained) where would I find something like that?

View HokieKen's profile


1519 posts in 557 days

#3 posted 10-19-2015 08:44 PM

First, I’d say that looks like oak but it’s kind of hard to be positive from the picture.

Second, that stain appears to be a spill of something that is preventing the stain penetrating into the grain. I’m not sure if you’re going to get good results with a light colored stain if that’s the case. If it is oak, chrisstef is right on, it’s likely deep enough that you’re not going to be able to remove it. I’ve never used wood bleach or dyes, but my inclination is the darker you go, the better it’s gonna look.

As to your question about the bleach working without affecting the stain, I wouldn’t bet on it. Again I’ve never used it, but I think before all’s said and done, you’re going to have to strip that piece again. Sorry!

Best of luck and let us know how it goes!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View chrisstef's profile


15459 posts in 2425 days

#4 posted 10-19-2015 08:50 PM

The bleach will most certainly ruin the coat of stain you have put on it. Youd probably have to strip it off unfortunately for the bleach to work to its full potential.

You can find the bleach at most woodworking stores, possibly home depot as well. Just google wood bleach and im sure it will turn up some locations to purchase close to you.

Hopefully you can get some of the resident experts to chime in but im fearing its back to stage one for you and this table. Best of luck.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View noober's profile


6 posts in 369 days

#5 posted 10-19-2015 11:48 PM

Thanks guys! I think I am just going to bite the bullet and strip that one section, try the acid, and restain.

Now….IF I don’t do the acid, is there another way to pull this deep stain out? Actually, I will just post a picture of the slat once it is stripped again. I will try to get that done within the next few days. :) I was just going to leave it, but after all my hard work getting it refinished and new looking I just can’t leave it!

View AlanHollar's profile


9 posts in 380 days

#6 posted 10-20-2015 02:37 PM

Oxalic acid solutions are good for removing discoloration caused by ferrous staining, where iron or steel and moiture have contacted the wood. Oaks and other high tannic acid woods are particularly susceptible. If the blotch is a stain from juice or wine or such, chlorine bleach may take it out. 2 part wood bleaches are really good at removing the natural wood colors, but not always effective effective at removing applied stains. These are just rules of thumb, and I can’t really tell from the picture what has caused the blotch you have.

View mahdee's profile


3456 posts in 1186 days

#7 posted 10-20-2015 07:16 PM

Looks like mahogany and more likely veneer. If it is veneer, be careful with chemicals that may loosen the glue on veneer or you will have a bigger mess to deal with. If it is made of solid wood and you don’t want to mess with chemicals, use a 4” scraper and gently remove one thin layer at a time from the entire surface and where the spot is and give give the whole thing a good sanding and drying time before staining it.


View Daruc's profile


459 posts in 551 days

#8 posted 10-20-2015 08:01 PM

Before I tried to restrip it, I would hit it with some 150/220 grit sandpaper and restain it to see if it goes away.
It looks more like a water stain that may have raised the grain causing it to stain darker. Nothing to lose!

-- -

View noober's profile


6 posts in 369 days

#9 posted 10-20-2015 08:50 PM

OK. So I stripped it and the stripper did not work as well this time, and the stain is now still there! I have neutralized the stripper and the top is drying out. I did try using bar keepers friend (could not find pure oxalic acid) and it did nothing…could be because it was not pure….

So now the table has been rinsed of the chemicals and is drying out and this is what it looks like. (HORRIBLE!) Should I just try to sand it out? Start with a coarse grit and move my way back up to the 400? OR is there another option? I am still hoping that I can get this out but I am less hopeful! :(

View noober's profile


6 posts in 369 days

#10 posted 10-20-2015 09:34 PM has lightened up a bit….but still not sure what I should do next

View putty's profile (online now)


969 posts in 1025 days

#11 posted 10-20-2015 09:49 PM

you can get Oxalic acid at home depot, sometimes it is labeled as teak brightner. It is used a lot in the marine field to return the color of weather greyed teak. Also, you can get barkeepers friend which is also oxalic acid in a powdered form. It comes in a shaker tube like comet. Home depot has it as well

-- Putty

View dhazelton's profile (online now)


2284 posts in 1715 days

#12 posted 10-20-2015 10:01 PM

Unless you take an aggressive sander to that piece I think you may have to accept it for what it is. It’s not an antique, but it’s seen some hard use. As you’re expecting a little one, think about all the toys that will be dragged across it or all the drawing and coloring that happen there and will distress it even more. People stress too much about perfection.

View HokieKen's profile


1519 posts in 557 days

#13 posted 10-21-2015 07:42 PM

Is it solid wood or is it veneered? If it’s solid, you have a couple of options. You can sand it down or you can plane past the stains. Both methods assume that the stains are on or near the surface. You won’t be able to remove a lot of material or your surfaces will be uneven.

If it’s veneered, clean it the best you can and that’s about all you can do. More than a light sanding and you run the risk of going through the veneer. Of course, if it is veneered, you have the option of having a new layer of veneer put over top of that one. At least I don’t see why you couldn’t but I’ve never done veneering personally.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Kazooman's profile


614 posts in 1371 days

#14 posted 10-21-2015 08:49 PM

I think you have given this your best shot and you really should consider some alternatives. It is never going to be a great piece. Have a good hard look at the grain you can see in the wood. It really is all over the place. The two odd short pieces in the center of the right hand end really look out of place. You could bleach, plane, and sand forever and you will still end up with an odd piece.

A very dark stain or even (heaven forbid!) a coat of paint would probably give you a much nicer result.

One general suggestion. Since you are pregnant (congratulations!!) you should really use a respirator with chemical filter cartridges whenever you are using any stripping or finishing chemicals. They are not expensive and offer a lot more protection than simple dust masks.

View noober's profile


6 posts in 369 days

#15 posted 10-22-2015 12:47 AM

OK. So. All day was spent on here, and here is where we stand. I sanded starting with a coarse grit and moved up to 400. I think for the most part it is as good as I am going to get it, and the big curved stain I was most concerned about is now gone.

Now, when I stain this again is it going to come back? I know it is going to be darker in some spots and I am ok with that, my main concern was getting those two big stains off and it looks like I might have done it!

The first is what it looked like when I started, then after the stripper, and now what it looks like right now.

How long should I let it dry before staining?
Will those spots show back up?
Should I do anything before staining it again?

Thank you guys for all of your help! I very much appreciate it!

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

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