Blotch stain on maple wood Crown and PM6 molding.

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Forum topic by headkone posted 12-06-2012 04:07 AM 1608 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12-06-2012 04:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple sander sanding traditional

This is day 2 of a 5 day stain, clear-coat and paint job. I hired a painting/staining to stain and paint a new 23×17ft home theater room that was lined with maple wainscoting, pillars and moulding. Most of the flat surfaces are pretty good, but most of the Crown & PM6 moulding is very blotchy. I think I have a big problem :-(

I talked to him several times about maple blotching and he assured me he had stained maple cabinets before with no problem. Apparently, he sprayed on the stain while a helper wiped off the excess.

From the supplies, it doesn’t look like he used any pre-stain conditioner, dewax or cut shellac. I just see cans of Sherwin Williams Stain, sanding lacquer sealant, and lacquer thinner.

Now what!? I think the crown and PM6 moulding will be especially hard to sand off the botchy stain. Are their any solvents that can be used to absorb or lighten the stain with a bleach or color remover instead? If not, what can be done at this point?

O.B.T.W. Labor is cheap down here in Houston. A couple guys sanding for a day would probably work, but sandpaper won’t work in the crevices… Are there special contour forming sanding blocks available or mini-sand blasters?

-- djk

4 replies so far

View runswithscissors's profile


2751 posts in 2021 days

#1 posted 12-06-2012 04:16 AM

Porter Cable has their detail sander. Not sure whether it’s still made. See them on CL from time to time. Don’t know whether it would be efficient enough for your needs, but better than hand sanding.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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2846 posts in 2207 days

#2 posted 12-06-2012 04:31 AM

Sounds like you’re right, he didn’t use any sort of conditioner or sealer. Solvents won’t take out enough of the stain, as the darker areas (the blotches) are where the stain penetrated deep. Sandblasting of any sort will destroy the surface of the wood.

Plenty of sandpaper and some blocks cut to angles to get into tight spaces and a couple of cheap labors may be the solution. I don’t know the profile you’re talking about, so can’t say for sure. Sanding grits to use would be 80 grit to rip it down to new wood, then 120 grit to get it smooth. Depending on how close anybody would see it, you may want to go with a third sanding of 180 or 220 grit.

Conditioner is only needed before the first application of stain, since the grain will be sealed after that.

But now for the bad news. Conditioned wood is going to stain several shades lighter than unconditioned wood, because the stain lays on top rather than penetrate, as it did with the rest of the wood. It may take several applications of stain to get even close to the same tone.

On a similar note, I had a customer once ask me what to do about smudge marks on some hard to reach crown molding. The contractor filled all the nail holes before sealing the wood, and failed to sand out all the smudges. It may have looked like they were sanded out, but the area around the each nail hole was “sealed” from the smeared filler. When the stain was wiped off, the smudges stood our like a sore thumb, so to speak. I quoted my best price for stripping, properly sanding, and refinishing, but never heard back from him. Needless to say, it was not cheap.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#3 posted 12-06-2012 04:33 AM

If it’s the just the molding replace it or rather have the contractor replace it ,because he screwed up, itsn’t he the guy who said no problem “maple won’t blotch”? I’m a long time contractor people expect ME to be the expert,when I make a mistake it’s on me to fix it and pay for it.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Ted's profile


2846 posts in 2207 days

#4 posted 12-06-2012 04:40 AM

Then again, Jim makes a good point too. I’m thinking along the line of saving the wood and the money. But yes, the contractor did screw up.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

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