I recently got the woodworking bug. Each little project i finished gave me the confidence to take on the next, slightly bigger, “ little project” and bit by bit I’ve put some new skills under my cap.
Spurred on by my small string of success, when my wife asked if it was possible, I recklessly volunteered to refinish a water damaged dresser that has been sitting in my garage for over 10 years. This dresser has been in my garage in one incarnation or another for the past 2 houses. It’s served as a platform for my pancake air compressor, garage AC storage unit and most recently as “temporary” Storage module.
As every road to damnation starts, I trotted down this path with the best of “good intentions”.
At first the project started out as I expected. I sanded down the top to the wood and prepped it for staining.
After using pre-stain,
I proceeded to stain the dresser top.
Looking like things were well in hand I proceeded to the next stage of the project, the sides and face.
After reading and careful consideration, I decided to use a chemical finish remover (kleen) to remove the previous varnish, stain and coatings from the sides and faces of the dresser. Although this was tedious, and required 3 brass tooth brushes, I was able to complete this phase rather uneventfully. ( except if you count getting WICKED cramps in my hands and forearms)
Once stripped I began the task of sanding down each surface with 120 and then 220 sand paper. The larger flat areas were done with my ROS, the smaller curvy areas were done by hand.
Next Prestain was applied.
Here is where the bottom starts to fall out fast.
I noticed when I pre-stained the sides and faces, the wood looked like three distinct different shades .
Edit* So i notices the type in the picture is not really readable so i’ll put it here:
in order from top to bottom
1)Looks almost like Veneer, thin grain similar to the top of the dresser
2)Completely different grain and markings than top, Looks like different type/cut of wood
3)This might just be end Grain pieces of the same wood the posts are made of.
4)These face panels are also different than side posts and top.
Not sure what to do at this point, I decided to push forward and apply stain.
The stain did not penetrate, after several mins, (anywhere between 5 and 45) when I tried wiping down , the stain just pushed off the wood leaving various levels of only slightly stained wood.
The results have been all across the spectrum.
So I turned to where I have turned most of my adult life when I have issues, Google.
A Google search, and I think I have the Root cause of my problem. I might have over sanded the piece(took everything to 220) and inadvertently sealed it by doing so.
Another Google search turns up several possible solutions to the problem.
1) Sand down to wood again using 100 and 120.
a. Then re-stain.
2) Use a mix of “finishing oil” and stain to coat the wood and layer on the color.
Faced with the combination of frustration, low blood sugar and impatience, I selected choice number two. Figuring instant gratification was in and of itself it’s own reward. I mixed up a 2:1 ratio of Watco to Stain. Padded it on, and let it sit 30 mins, re-applied let it sit 15 mins more, then wiped dry.
This is the result:
one with the white balance set to florescent so you can see the stark difference in the tone of the wood.
So my question is, is there any way to save this, or is sanding to bare wood and finishing only to 120 the only way to get consistent results across this nightmare, uh I mean lovely dresser.
I’m open to any and all suggestions!
-- You can tell a lot about your wife by her hands, for example if they are around your throat she's prolly pissed off at you...