Stain lifting off?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Dinger posted 12-23-2012 06:23 PM 1531 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dinger's profile


145 posts in 2284 days

12-23-2012 06:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip oak finishing arts and crafts

I need to turn to the woodworking braintrust, AKA, for this one. I’m fairly new to this hobby and working on my first “real” project: a pair of Arts and Crafts end tables. I did one at a time, and I’m finishing the first one. In order to get the color my wife wanted I used General Finishes’ Java gel stain and Arm-R-Seal topcoat. I let the stain dry for 12 hours in my 50-degree shop (garage) and then applied the Arm-R-Seal. Much to my chagrin, it seemed that the ARS was lifting (and smudging) the stain I applied earlier. Just for future reference, is this a result of the stain not being completely dry or is it perhaps I didn’t wipe off and rub in all areas sufficiently? If I decided to redo the finish, how should I go about that? What grit paper should I use? should I take it all the way back to the bare wood? Hand sand or random orbit? Here I thought the tough part was cutting and fitting… Thanks for your thoughts, fellas.

-- "Begin every endeaver with the end ever in mind."

4 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5701 posts in 2835 days

#1 posted 12-23-2012 06:45 PM

Anytime you brush or wipe on a finish over compatable stain (ie oil based finish over oil based stain), there is the potential to lift off some stain. Spraying the finish will eliminate the problem.
Even then, I always wait 24 hours or more to let stain dry. I often have to heat the shop in the winter to get the stain to dry properly.
If you do decide to strip the finish, just use 80 grit ROS and detail sander. Then work up through the grits and re-stain. You will need to strip to bare wood, because any topcoat left behind will cause uneven apsorption of the stain.

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

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2132 days

#2 posted 12-23-2012 08:35 PM

12 hours is not enough IMHO. In a 50 degree room the finish will take much longer to dry than in a 70 degree shop. If possible I like to wait several days before applying a top finish over stain.

If you are concerned about the stain smudging, apply a 1lb coat of super blonde shellac over the stain (1 lb coat for a thin finish, super blonde so it does not color the wood). Shellac is pretty much the universal barrier between finishes.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2585 days

#3 posted 12-23-2012 08:44 PM

unless im sure something will dry quickly i usually try and give it 24 hours. And this time of year i will run a space heater to speed the process. regardless i hate finishing. I’m a woodworker not a finishworker. Good luck

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Dinger's profile


145 posts in 2284 days

#4 posted 01-03-2013 06:47 PM

Thanks for your insights. I have the other half of the pair to complete before I tackle the finishing again, perhaps next weekend. I will see if I can bring it into the house to let it dry, unless I can’t stand the off-gassing. If not I’ll try a space heater to further supplement heat.

Jesse: good to know. I hadn’t yet heard of using shellac that way. I don’t think my smudging would be a problem if it’s completely dry. I’m going to use some test pieces for dryness this time around beforehand.

Willie: Thanks for being specific. I may just tell folks I was going for a “rustic” look and leave it!

-- "Begin every endeaver with the end ever in mind."

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics