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Scratches showing through after stain

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 925 days ago 2624 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1671 days


925 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: oak

Let me preface this by saying that I rarely use stain so this might be a rookie mistake that I made.

I am staining a red oak table and there are several spots showing up darker than the rest. I also have been noticing several small spots of scratches. I have tried applying a second coat of stain to blend the darker spots but it doesn’t seem to be working. I plan to apply 3 – 4 coats of poly after the staining is completed. Is there anything I can do to blend the color and remove the scratches?

Do I need to start over by resanding with 220?


9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15669 posts in 2822 days


#1 posted 925 days ago

The nature of red oak is such that staining it really brings out the distinctness of the grain variances. In other words, a board that looks pretty uniform in color before finishing will look like it is two different colors once you put stain on it.

The only way to make that variance (and the scratches) go away is to stain the wood so dark it’s almost black.

If you want to maintain whatever color it is you are currently staining, the only way to get rid of the scratches is to sand them out and re-stain.

You may also want to try using a pre-stain conditioner. They partially seal the wood pores to inhibit stain absorbtion and help prevent blotchiness.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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CharlieM1958

15669 posts in 2822 days


#2 posted 925 days ago

One other thing:

You may have to sand coarser than 220 depending on how deep the scratches are. Wiping some mineral spirits on the bare wood is a pretty good way to check and see if you have removed them all.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3279 posts in 1417 days


#3 posted 925 days ago

Assuming the lumber was well-milled, you can progress through the sandpaper grits from 120 to 150 to 220 if needed. Some finishers like to start with even courser grit.
I use a random orbit sander.
The fact that the spots are darker tells me the area wasn’t as smooth as the rest. Glue spots, in contrast, will finish as light spots.
Red oak should not need a pre-stain conditioner, but that can be useful on some softwoods (or cherry).

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

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TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 958 days


#4 posted 925 days ago

Hmmm spots? as in spots?
Well, this is something alot of people who don’t do woodworking don’t know, and would never think about.
Wash your hands before handling a board after you’ve eaten. Greases from your hands can transfer to the wood and block stain from penetrating the wood. Also if you sweat over the wood and drops fall and hit the wood, you have spots where the stain won’t penetrate fully.

Oak is pretty good about showing the fine scratches that you did not get out when stained, both red and white love to highlight minor flaws. A way to get around this is to take the board and hold one edge up to the light and sight down it. If there are any major scratches you should be able to see them.

Also, there are several types of stains, not just that minwax stuff. Some stain types work better for some woods that others do not. Yes the minwax is cheap, but then you do get what you pay for.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

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StumpyNubs

6122 posts in 1404 days


#5 posted 925 days ago

If they are sanding scratches, they need to be sanded out with finer paper. Nothing looks as bad as a poorly sanded piece after it is stained. I feel for you… you have your work cut out for you!

Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
(The greatest woodworking show since the invention of wood is now online!)

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View yellowtruck75's profile

yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1671 days


#6 posted 925 days ago

Alright so tomorrow I will hit the top with the RO sander and start resanding. I am going to start with 120 then go to 220.

View RONFINCH's profile

RONFINCH

142 posts in 1528 days


#7 posted 925 days ago

Progression of sanding grits….. 120 to 150, maybe to 180, then to 220.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15669 posts in 2822 days


#8 posted 925 days ago

RONFINCH makes a very good point. Scratches are often the result of not going through enough progressions of grit. Skipping from a coarser grain directly to a fine grain will give you a finish that feels smooth to the touch, but the scratches will show when the finish is applied.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1671 days


#9 posted 925 days ago

Thank everyone, I will start with the 120 tomorrow

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