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HELP!!! Finishing Issue with Pictures HELP!!!

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Forum topic by Shoedawg posted 237 days ago 603 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Shoedawg

13 posts in 237 days


237 days ago

I am a newbie woodworker, but have been doing a lot of reading/research on this great hobby and this is my first post here.

I am working on a shelving unit, using Poplar. I have made all my cuts/dados/etc and I am in the final stage of putting a finish on my project. The project is 6ftx4ft and will have 8 shelves, to include a ¼” backing. The shelf will be used to hold my Blu-ray/DVD collection. I am in the final stage of putting a finish on this project. The project has NOT been assembled yet, because I think it would be easier to apply the finish, then assemble it.

I have read/watched a lot about the mystery and confusing topic of finishing. I have purchased the e-book “Wood Finishing 101” by Bob Flexner. It has some good info, and step by steps, but does not really help me solve the issue I am having. I am thinking about purchasing Charles Neil book “Finishing, Simply Put…No Chemistry Degree Required”. Anybody own and recommend this book for newbies like me???

On to my problem. I have a 1×6x6 piece of scrap poplar that I am using to test my finish. I have routed some dados in the piece to separate my tests areas (see picture). The problem I am having is that some parts of the piece are showing little speckles of blotching (see arrows). I know that poplar is a wood that tends to blotch, that is why I added Zinssers Bulls Eye Seal Coat (dewaxed Shellac).

The first section I added 2 coats of undiluted shellac. I waited for 2 hrs. before I sanded very light with 220gt paper before I added the 2nd coat. I did use an orbit sander, but barley put pressure on it. Should I have hand sanded it????

After the coat was dried for about a day I applied (wiped on) a coat of Minwax Gel Stain Mahogany 605. I notice in some parts of the piece there were speckles of some blotching (see picture).

The 2nd section of my test piece was diluted shellac (using 1 part denatured alcohol/1 part shellac, properly measure), using the application process like the first section. Again there was that speckled blotching.

What am I doing wrong, and what can I do to prevent this? Is this just the nature of the wood, and I am going to have to deal with it? I really want a nice looking finish for my project, and do not want a half-butt crack looking one.

I did not skip sanding grits and did progress with the size, starting with:
1. 80 Grit
2. Clean surface
3. 120 Grit
4. Clean surface
5. 1 coat of shellac then waited to dry
6. Sanded with 220 grit
7. Clean surface
8. Applied 2nd coat of shellac then waited to dry
9. Sanded lightly with 220 grit again
10. Cleaned surface then applied Gel Stain

Please help!! I want an even application of the stain across my surfaces. I plan on using Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Semi-Gloss for the last coat. I am in the military and move quite often, and would like to protect the project from different environments (i.e. humid areas, dry environments) I may be stationed at.
Sorry for the long post and any help is appreciated.

Shoe


9 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10431 posts in 1609 days


#1 posted 237 days ago

My guess here is that you might be sanding through the layer of shellac. Try sanding up to 220 grit then applying the shellac (id stay with the mix straight out of the can). Then knock it down with some 320 or 400 grit hand sanded and put your gel stain over that.

Im sure youll get some more in depth responses but those are my thoughts on whats going on and my 2 cents worth of fixes.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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firefighterontheside

3334 posts in 459 days


#2 posted 237 days ago

I’ve never done any finish on poplar other than paint, but I’m sure that the problem you’re having is as you guessed, related to the nature of poplar. I’ve also had these kinds of problems with other woods after I have sanded. I filled nail holes and then sanded them flat with like 220, but then when staining the areas around the holes did not take the stain the same as other areas. Perhaps you have not sanded evenly with your different grits, if you wait a while, I bet Charles Neil will be along to answer your question and recommend his book to you.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3274 posts in 1416 days


#3 posted 237 days ago

Do not use a power sander to sand the seal coat of shellac. Use flexible sanding sponges (the 1/4” thick type) in 320 grit.

I have had best luck with a very thin washcoat of shellac. I use a 3:2 ratio of denatured alcohol to shellac sealcoat. This is slightly thinner than a 1# cut. It will allow you to get rich deep tones when staining, yet prevents blotching.
The speckles might just be on that particular board. Sometimes contaminants or mineral streaks look like that. Try another sample board. Here is a thread on staining blotch prone woods… http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/38333
and here is another with sample boards… http://lumberjocks.com/topics/54321

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

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2446 posts in 954 days


#4 posted 237 days ago

I don’t sand my finishes w/ anything coarser than 400 grit. You may be sanding through your finish w/ 220 grit. I also sand all of my projects down to at least 180 or 220 grit before applying finish.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Shoedawg's profile

Shoedawg

13 posts in 237 days


#5 posted 237 days ago

Great responses. I do have some 320 grit paper that I haven’t tried. I’ll have to make a trip to Woodcraft to get some 400 grit. Never thought about using a sanding sponge. I did however think the orbit sander was taking to much film off the top and that maybe causing the issue.

I do have a sanding block that I can throw some 320 grit paper on and try that. I will test all these suggestions on my scrap I have and report back to you in a few days. And hope Charles can input some of his wisdom as well.

We are dealing with a cold front in the area and my unheated/non-insulated garage is slowing me down. Even my portable heater is crying its TOO COLD!!!!

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3334 posts in 459 days


#6 posted 237 days ago

Yeah that cold front will be here this evening and then we’ll have sleet and snow tomorrow and Friday. Probably won’t have any chance to be in my shop anyway. Maybe Saturday I can try and heat it up in there and do something.
Stay warm.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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Shoedawg

13 posts in 237 days


#7 posted 237 days ago

Pintodeluxe,

I just read the links you posted. Great job on the bed! I will try the 3:2 ratio per your thread. The color turned out great and even. The results I am looking for.

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pintodeluxe

3274 posts in 1416 days


#8 posted 237 days ago

Great. Best of luck with the project.
Let us know how it goes.

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

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1116 posts in 2473 days


#9 posted 237 days ago

The issue here for me, is that unfortunately the answer is also self serving … so I would prefer to handle this privately , and let Shoedawg , should he choose to share.

PM sent

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