Stain leaving wood when using wipe on poly. Project doomed?

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Forum topic by odiefish posted 05-20-2013 09:14 AM 9900 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View odiefish's profile


5 posts in 1856 days

05-20-2013 09:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: stain poly wipe wipeon

I have been working on my first real wood project. It is a aquarium stand that is pine frame with oak boards as a “wrap”. I stained the oak using a Minwax oil stain, I did add two coats to the oak boards and three coats to the cabinet door centers as they did not stain as dark. I did notice some streaking and was not inpressed with my skill at staining.
But my big concern is when I was applying the Minwax Wipeon Poly I noticed the cloth I was using was getting darker as if the stain was rubbing onto the cloth. Will this be an issue?

The stain dried for two days before I added the poly. I assume since it is a wipe on poly that it has mineral spirits in it and that is why it removed some stain??

I did enjoy my project so far and I can see more projects in my future.

Thank you in advance.

-- Newbie in training

7 replies so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3308 days

#1 posted 05-20-2013 11:45 AM


Now that you have the first coat of poly applied you should be fine. Applying 2 to 3 coats of stain probably left a lot of stain on the surface and you’re right about the mineral spirits desolved some of the stain while applying the poly.

Has your poly dried out ok? If it has, then you should be able to apply another coat without having a problem.

With a lot of stain on the surface of the wood, you will need to be real careful sanding between coates. It’s real easy to sand through the finish and stain (especially around the edges of doors, profiles, etc.

You’ll find finishing is a never ending learning experience as is woodworking.

Good luck

-- John @

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4241 days

#2 posted 05-20-2013 01:34 PM

Yep… one coat of wiped-on stain will usually dry pretty fast. But when you start talking multiple coats, it can take a long time to be ready for a top coat. Now that I think about it, I believe I always get some degree of stain lifting when I apply wipe-on poly. As long as it’s not enough to alter the color of your project to a noticeable extent, you’re fine.

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

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#3 posted 05-20-2013 01:39 PM

stain doesn’t dry in 2 days, so it would be normal for some of it to be lifted onto your rag on your first coat of poly.once the poly will dry it will create a solid coat so it shouldn’t happen on subsequent coats (after first 2-3 coats of poly).

finishing and staining takes practice just like the rest of the woodworking skills, don’t be discouraged. keep at it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1879 days

#4 posted 05-20-2013 01:54 PM

When you are staining are you wiping off the excess and allowing to dry before you apply another coat of stain? Also make sure you are using regular stain and not the stain poly combo unless you want to do it all in one step. I have not used the stuff, but from what I have seen it leaves streaks of stain.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2716 days

#5 posted 05-20-2013 02:06 PM

From what I’ve experienced, a coat or two of brush-on solves the problem, as it doesn’t lift or move the stain around as much

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View odiefish's profile


5 posts in 1856 days

#6 posted 05-20-2013 06:14 PM

Yes I did wipe after each staining, and I was suprised on how much stain would reappear later. I learned later that oak can do that. I also learned not to trust the Minwax instructions in regards to layers of stain and drying time.
I should have searched some forums especially this one before hand. Thanks all for the advice! !

-- Newbie in training

View Vicki's profile


1099 posts in 3367 days

#7 posted 05-21-2013 02:21 AM

I have problems at times with finishing. I’ve learned a couple of things to help prevent some problems. Sand to a finer grit, maybe 600. Use the wood conditioning product by Miniwax. It helps with blotchiness. Never more than 2 coats of stain (for me) and wipe off excess after each coat. I have better luck brushing on the poly/mineral spirit mix. I like about 1/2 to 2/3 poly.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

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