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What to use after staining before applying water based poly?

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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 09-14-2016 11:02 AM 2006 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SweetTea

79 posts in 127 days


09-14-2016 11:02 AM

I have a small project going at the moment, basically a bookcase made out of hard maple. I just finished staining it, now it’s time for the water based poly.

Would you guys recommend going over it with 0000 steel wool or would it be better to use something like 400 grit sandpaper before I apply the water based poly?

The wood feels smooth and the stain seemed to take pretty evenly. So I am assuming that the stain didn’t raise the grain that much. I am now trying to decide whether to go over it with steel wool or 400 grit sandpaper before I apply the water based poly. Any recommendations?


24 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#1 posted 09-14-2016 11:41 AM

It kinda depends on what kind of stain you used. If it’s a waterborne stain, then you might want to seal it since a waterborne top coat can re-dissolve it and make a mess; if that’s the case dewaxed shellac works well. If it’s an oil based stain and you like what you have, apply the waterborne top coat right over it. The waterborne may raise the grain a little (or not, again depending on the stain), so just smooth it off after the top coat dries and you’re good to go for more coats or whatever is next.

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

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1457 days


#2 posted 09-14-2016 12:05 PM

Whichever type stain you used, a wipe down with 1:1 water/DNA is a good idea before a wb finish. Don’t flood it on, just dampen a paper towel or rag. Removes contamination on the surface.

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SweetTea

79 posts in 127 days


#3 posted 09-14-2016 01:57 PM

The stain was Shermin Williams charcoal, which I believe is an oil based stain.


Whichever type stain you used, a wipe down with 1:1 water/DNA is a good idea before a wb finish. Don t flood it on, just dampen a paper towel or rag. Removes contamination on the surface.

- OSU55

Would you mind explaining to me what purpose this would serve? You recommend mixing equal parts water and denatured alcohol then wipe it on with a rag?

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SweetTea

79 posts in 127 days


#4 posted 09-14-2016 02:02 PM

Thinking about adding another coat of stain (it has been over 24 hours since the first coat) because it honestly looks sort of blotchy. I probably should have used a pre conditioner. is there anything that I can do (such as adding another coat?) to make it less blotchy? I know that adding another coat will make it darker, but that is ok. I just want it to look more consistent.

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Cooler

277 posts in 311 days


#5 posted 09-14-2016 02:43 PM

Well, don’t use steel wool if you are going to use a water based stain or finish. It may show spots of rust.

If I am going to apply a water based finish and I am worried about raising the grain, then I apply a coat of Sealcoat, dewaxed shellac. It will seal the finish and dry in 30 minutes. It adds to the finish build and is less work than sanding down the raised grain. Dewaxed shellac is a very effective “primer” as it adheres well to almost all surfaces and almost all finishes adhere well to shellac.

But mostly is saves labor. It does not require additional sanding like a raised grain would and it takes the place of one coat of finish. I have not checked on the costs, but it is probably cost effective as a replacement of one coat of finish. It is not perfectly clear however and a very slight warming effect will occur.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

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Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#6 posted 09-14-2016 02:57 PM

The only sure way to tell if another coat of stain will help (or hurt) is to test it. If you have a scrap piece of the wood try your effort out on it.

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

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2535 days


#7 posted 09-14-2016 02:58 PM

Not knowing your particular stain personally it depends. If the stain is oil based and the top coat water based and same manufacturer probably ok. If not all bets are off

To be safe, I’d scuff sand with 320, and wipe with DNA or something similar dry and hit with a coat of 1lb or 2lb cut shellac. It will stick to anything and anything will stick to it.

Biggest thing is (IMO) is keep the same MFG of coloring and top coat. Least chance of issues.

I personally, if going to color, prefer dyes (no binders).

Good luck post your final product would love to see it

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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Planeman40

805 posts in 2229 days


#8 posted 09-14-2016 03:03 PM

Yep, use shellac as a sealer between staining and the poly. Shellac is a wonderful thing for woodworking. It builds quickly with multiple coats as it dries quickly and it “chalks” when sanding (meaning it doesn’t clog up the sandpaper). It really does seal. It will stop sap bleed through when applied over knots in pine paneling. And it can be used as a final finial finish. Its only drawback as a finish is alcohol spills from mixed drinks will melt the finish if used on a table top (shellac is thinned with alcohol). I can get a glass smooth finish by sealing with two coats of shellac, then sanding, then two more coats of shellac, sanding again followed by fine steel wool (0000 grade), then applying the final finish, usually polyurethane.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2281 days


#9 posted 09-14-2016 03:06 PM

I think most people get into finishing trouble because they don’t make sample boards. Or if they do, its just an un-sanded board with some stain wiped on. Take your sample boards through each and every step of the process, including topcoat. That is the only way to know how your finishing schedule will turn out.

Shellac Sealcoat mixed 50/50 with denatured alcohol makes a perfect pre-stain conditioner to prevent blotching (I realize that doesn’t help you now, but something to keep in mind for next time).

I never sand the stain coat. That is dangerous. With water based products I pre-raise the grain, and sand before staining.

At this point I would take some sample boards to where you are now in the finishing process. Try one with a coat of thinned shellac. Let that dry and scuff sand before applying another coat of stain. See if it evens out the color. This is not the ideal way (more of a glazing technique that simple staining) but it may help this project along.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View rwyoung's profile

rwyoung

388 posts in 2939 days


#10 posted 09-14-2016 06:44 PM



The stain was Shermin Williams charcoal, which I believe is an oil based stain.

Whichever type stain you used, a wipe down with 1:1 water/DNA is a good idea before a wb finish. Don t flood it on, just dampen a paper towel or rag. Removes contamination on the surface.

- OSU55

- SweetTea

Data sheet : http://www.sherwin-williams.com/document/PDS/en/035777504956/

Always RTFM before starting. Always make a test board with ALL surface prep steps before diving into the project.

It is an oil based stain. It will likely have partially sealed the surface and so a second application won’t do much. Alternately you could put down a seal coat (1# or 1/2# of dewaxed shellac) and then use a gel stain as a glaze to darken and even things (some but not much, you are mostly stuck with the blotch since you didn’t deal with it in advance). Adding more stain will just start to obscure the wood grain.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

769 posts in 170 days


#11 posted 09-14-2016 06:55 PM

Sand it down to bare wood then follow pintodeluxes advice. If you don’t you’re probably just going to get a bigger mess and not be happy with the results.
planemans advice for between stain and sealer is good to.
this is just my opinion though.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1457 days


#12 posted 09-14-2016 09:29 PM

Water/dna will remove oil or other residue left on the surface. For a dry ob stain, 100% dna could be used. Dont want any oils left when topcoating with wb. Dewaxed shellec with transtint added to make a toner is an excellent sealer/toner to even out the color. I use down to a 1/2# cut, sprayed. For next time blotch control.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

805 posts in 2229 days


#13 posted 09-14-2016 09:31 PM

You say your wood is hard maple. Blotchy stain results almost always are caused from the grain being wavy in the wood. The stain soaks deeper into whatever end grain that is showing on the surface and shallower into flat grain. This requires something clear to soak into the wood before staining to seal the grain. It needs to be thinned a lot so it soaks in just enough to seal the wood but not enough to prevent proper staining. I use thinned out clear shellac for this. Thin it out about 50% shellac, 50% alcohol or maybe a little more.

Maple often has a wavy grain, sometimes just slightly wavy sometimes very wavy. The very wavy grain is known a “curly” maple and in its most beautiful form is used for expensive musical instruments like guitars and violins. It also costs a fortune (I just bought some). This type of grain is probably in your wood to some degree.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

79 posts in 127 days


#14 posted 09-15-2016 08:31 PM

Would it be possible for me to shoot some transtint dye over the stain before applying the poly? Would this give me a more consistent overall look for the color? At this point, I really don’t want to sand down to bare wood, and the color is really up to me. If this would be a viable option, (I have no experience with dye’s or toners), what is the best way to do this? Should the transtint be mixed with shellec?

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

805 posts in 2229 days


#15 posted 09-15-2016 11:24 PM

I really couldn’t recommend that. The Transtint dye would only soak into the end grain and not the flat grain as I mentioned above and increase the mottled appearance. In fact, I use Transtint dye to EMPHASIZE the wood grain in curly maple!!! It does a wonderful job of making the curly maple grain “pop”.

What you can do is apply some more wood stain AFTER you have sealed the wood grain with a sealer. The color will darken though. Its worth a test.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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