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Uneven Stain on Plywood

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Forum topic by MarkTheFiddler posted 06-14-2012 09:30 PM 2584 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1655 days


06-14-2012 09:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: gel stain plywood question

I bought an old trunk in a garage sale. It was super sturdy and well made but it was painted white. I stripped the paint only to find that the flat part of the lid was not Oak like the rest of the trunk. It appears to be regular plywood.

I sanded then applied minwax walnut gel. The oak stained perfectly. I love it. The plywood top was coming out nice until I wiped off the gel. There are 3 streaks in that plywood that won’t absorb the gel at all!? They look so bad in fact that I am taking my upholstery skills in hand and I am going to cover the entire top within the nice looking oak trim.

What else can I share here? After I stripped the paint, I sanded down with 3m 100 grit then 150 grit. The streaks are independent of the grain. They were invisible to the eye until I appled stain. Resanding had Zero impact on the streaks.

Was it my method that botched up the wood or should I have avoided ever trying to refinish plywood? Could it be something else?

By the way, I have looked over the other posts about uneven asorption of stain. i felt this problem was a little different that those.

Thanks in advance for your sage comments!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!


9 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

3059 posts in 1753 days


#1 posted 06-14-2012 10:56 PM

Something sealed the wood in that spot. If you can’t sand it out, you’ll have to paint or replace it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1655 days


#2 posted 06-15-2012 08:56 PM

Thanks for the response Russell.

Very interesting. I’m wondering what kind of chemical would seal the wood like that. I can’t imagine that the paint remover, followed by sanding, was the culprit. Right now – I know exactly why the trunk was painted when I bought it at the garage sale.

I’ll post a picture of my solution to the problem later. Not much of a solution really because I was waffling between the best options for the trunk lid anyway.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2317 days


#3 posted 06-16-2012 04:49 AM

Do the streaks look natural or like some kind of stain, perhaps from rust?

When I try to visualize it, I wonder if you have rotary-cut fir plywood. There are parts of that which won’t take stain, and the parts between are soft and absorbent.

Anyway, another possibility might be to cover the top with 1/4” oak ply or oak veneer, trim the edges, and leave the upholstery skills where they were! Actually I like the creativity of the upholstery solution.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1310 posts in 2452 days


#4 posted 06-16-2012 10:41 AM

I don’t suppose you could have hit some glue in the plywood?

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

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MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1655 days


#5 posted 06-16-2012 12:43 PM

Howdy Lee. Thanks for the response!

When I looked at the wood after sanding, the color was completely uniform. I don’t believe that was the problem.

I’m going to confess a bit of ignorance here because I don’t know my woods that well. The nearest I can say is that I have spruce plywood. Rotary cut? More ignorance on my part. I can tell that I have a lot to learn. Thanks for giving me a challenge just to try and answer your questions.

At this point, it makes good sense for me to go with the upholstery solution. I’ll share some pictures when I’m done. I could actually try to hone some woodworking skills by replacing the top but I have a lot more opportunities in my immediate future for that.

I took a peek at your projects. Wow. That walnut wall cabinet is really cool. The item I’d love to have in my house is the red oak tv stand. Well done sir!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2317 days


#6 posted 06-16-2012 01:29 PM

Hi Mark the Fiddler—

Here’s a site where you can see rotary cut fir. Fourth down in the first column. Look around there for other species that are plain sliced and you’ll see the difference. Rotary comes off a lathe while the sliced is, well, sliced in flat sections.
End of vocabulary lesson for today!

I like your approach to the problem solving here—seek some learning, but don’t get sideways with it. Just get the task done!

I appreciate your compliments. Thank you.

Kindly,

Lee the Bassist.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1100 posts in 1752 days


#7 posted 06-16-2012 02:47 PM

Why not replace the piece of plywood with oak?

If that’s not practical, get “artsy”! I once covered a badly marred piece of wood with heavy cotton duck canvas. Before applying it, I tea-stained it heavily and then actually put it in a bucket with walnut husks from a nearby walnut tree. The canvas turned out a rather dark and mottled color and looked really old (like the piece I was messing with). I don’t remember what I ended up clearcoating it with, but it turned out really interesting and I got a lot of nice compliments on the piece. All because of a hard-to-replace, nasty piece of wood. :)

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7933 posts in 1846 days


#8 posted 06-16-2012 08:34 PM

I’ll echo the suggestion of either replacing the ply with oak or covering it with an oak veneer.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1655 days


#9 posted 06-18-2012 03:41 AM

Thanks for the great advice and lessons everyone! I put a couple images of the finished product in my projects folder.

My next woodworking projects are about a month away because I need move on with the remodeling projects. I need to put up some lighting, Repair some sheetrock corners, paint, lay floors and baseboard. The hallway is the next target as I move through the house. When I’m done with that I need to do my sons floor and baseboards. And On… and On….

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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