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Frustrated! Followed all the instructions and it's still blotchy!

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Forum topic by fivecodys posted 01-18-2016 09:25 PM 704 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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fivecodys

581 posts in 1100 days


01-18-2016 09:25 PM

Most of the projects I build don’t usually require using stain (just a clear finish).
The wife wanted a new cabinet over the washer/dryer and I had been wanting to try my hand at cabinet-making in hopes of convincing her to let me make all new kitchen cabinets.

The building of the cabinet came out pretty well. It was a learning experience for sure.
I used good quality Baltic Birch plywood for the box and solid Birch for the face frame and doors.
I used dado’s and grooves and kept the door design nice and simple.
Our washer & Dryer are in the garage so I didn’t use Oak like I plan to in the house.

I was advised to use a pre-stain on the entire cabinet to help reduce blotching so I picked up a can of Minwax Pre-Stain when I bought the Minwax stain. I followed the instructions and the result I got was lousy.

I didn’t get the “apply and then apply stain within two hours” instruction but I followed it anyway.
It looks to me like some of this birch has a tiger stripe like pattern in it. I can live with that. What it really chapping my butt is all the blotching. I sanded up through 220. Vac’d it off real well and then wiped it down with a tac-cloth.

Can anyone lend some advice on where I may have gone wrong here? Needless to say, the wife is not overly impressed with the finish on it.

Sorry for the lousy picture but it’s all I have at the moment to show you.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

-- Chem, Central California


12 replies so far

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#1 posted 01-18-2016 11:33 PM

It looks like it is the nature of the wood. If you want an even color on, then you may have to stain the lighter area a few times more. I not sure what color stain you have used, but it really doesn’t look like there is any stain there. Did you sand to 220 after you applied prestain? I am sure there are more experienced folks here that can help you out. Hang in there.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 616 days


#2 posted 01-18-2016 11:37 PM

A learning experience, and they are in the garage!!!! I use a 1lb cut of Shellac for a prestain and still no guarantees, nature of the beast.
Plywood veneers are usually sanded smooth and need a bit of ruffing up with 180 or 150 lightly to take a stane the same as whole wood.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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fivecodys

581 posts in 1100 days


#3 posted 01-18-2016 11:50 PM

Mahdee/Conifur

1. I sanded to 220 and then applied prestain. No sanding in between.

2. I did try staining twice on the real light areas. I have never worked with Birch before other than plywood. Some of the wood really resisted the stain and other areas soaked it in like you would expect. It was really bizarre! What is really strange is that the door frames were each cut from the same board. I have never seen wood act like this.

3. Yes, was a learning experience for sure.

Thank you both for your comments.

-- Chem, Central California

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#4 posted 01-19-2016 04:10 AM

I wonder if you can give it a coat of neutral stain which is clear and then use the color one over it. Might be a good experiment on a scrap.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1773 days


#5 posted 01-19-2016 05:41 AM

You made a couple of mistakes right from the get go.

1 You didn’t come here and ask for advice before you did anything else.

2 You didn’t try it out on scraps first.

Throw that junk min-wax crap in the garbage. Order some of Charles Neil pre-stain conditioner. Read and follow all directions.

Buy pre-finished plywood so all you have to finish is the real wood parts.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Moron's profile

Moron

5032 posts in 3358 days


#6 posted 01-19-2016 05:53 AM

you %#@%$ up
oh oh
.
.
.
. next

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1951 posts in 1453 days


#7 posted 01-19-2016 12:33 PM

Best advice given…..try it out on scraps first.

Personally, I have now problems with Minwax products. I wish I could blame the finishing products at times but it is typically either the wood or me.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1979 days


#8 posted 01-19-2016 01:19 PM

I’ve been using Minwax for about 30 years, and despite some people’s hate for it, I find it responsive if you know what works, and what does not.

I will admit, their pre-stain conditioner, I don’t know what they think that will do save for slightly darkening the wood. I find that it does not work. But every stain company has “stinkers”.

I use Minwax Natural as a conditioner, followed by any color, if I want. I leave the Natural dry for a full 24 hours before I put on anything else. Never have listened to any stain company that tells me to reapply after a short period of time. You have to give the colorants and chemicals time to stabilize.

Birch is tough in and of itself in taking stains. I liken it somewhere between a hard maple and a cherry. Takes stain where it wants to. If you can clean off the stain, (doubtful), I’d back the sanding up to 180 to roughen up just a hair more and try again.

Also remember that plywoods have been pressed when they go through the bonding process. What this means is the outer layers have been put through rollers, and sometimes the cells of the wood compress a bit, making it harder for them to accept stain. Some do, some don’t.

Good luck!

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

394 posts in 683 days


#9 posted 01-19-2016 02:36 PM

im no pro woodworker or finisher but have stained and finished quite a bit of wood that can blotch.
i have had absolutely no problem using mineral spirits for prestain conditioner as long as its oilbased stain going on top. finishes have came out even every time.

View fivecodys's profile

fivecodys

581 posts in 1100 days


#10 posted 01-19-2016 09:59 PM



You made a couple of mistakes right from the get go.

1 You didn t come here and ask for advice before you did anything else.

2 You didn t try it out on scraps first.

Throw that junk min-wax crap in the garbage. Order some of Charles Neil pre-stain conditioner. Read and follow all directions.

Buy pre-finished plywood so all you have to finish is the real wood parts.

- AlaskaGuy

1. Yep. Should have came here first.

2. I actually did use a scrap and that’s how we chose the color but it laid down nice on the scrap (without pe-stain) too. I even shot it with lacquer so she could see the final finish. I’m not a newbie just not a big ‘stainer’. I usually work with Walnut, Maple, or Cherry where I am not trying to change the color of the wood.
I did make some shelves out of pine to match the kids bedroom once but I used a gel stain and it worked very well. No blotching.

Thank you for your comments. I appreciate the feedback.

-- Chem, Central California

View fivecodys's profile

fivecodys

581 posts in 1100 days


#11 posted 01-19-2016 10:10 PM

Thank you all for your comments.
I appreciate all of the help & suggestions.

-- Chem, Central California

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 616 days


#12 posted 01-19-2016 10:45 PM

I have used Minwax natural when I first started out in WW, now I get the same results with BLO and MS mixed 1-1 and cheaper.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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