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How Do I Determine If A 1st Stain Coat Is Dry Enough For An Additional Coat Of Stain Or Topcoating?

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Forum topic by Targa posted 04-14-2014 04:07 PM 3728 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Targa

117 posts in 1204 days


04-14-2014 04:07 PM

I’ve applied the initial coat of General Finishes brand oil based stain on my first woodworking project, a red oak bookcase.

I may add a thin second coat of stain, then top coat with General Finishes Oil Based Arm-R-Seal Urethane Topcoat.

However, before I do, how do I insure the first coat of stain is dry enough for the second coat of stain or the topcoat?

I applied the stain 48 hours ago and then took a clean white paper towel and lightly rubbed it on the stained surface and a very small amount of some of the stain color transferred on to the paper towel. Even though it was very little, I’m wondering whether this normal or do I need to wait until there is no transfer at all before I deem the stain coat totally dry?

I would appreciate some guidance.

Thank you

-- Dom


11 replies so far

View neverenougftackle's profile

neverenougftackle

195 posts in 1310 days


#1 posted 04-14-2014 05:46 PM

For oil I use my nose. Oil stain is a very slow drier, if you do not wate for it to dry it could very well bleed off into your top coat. causing not so clear of a clear top coat finish. Set it aside for a couple of days, untill you can not smell the off gassing.

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Dallas

3599 posts in 1951 days


#2 posted 04-14-2014 06:12 PM

Ummmmmmm,

Until you put a finish on it, the stain is going to wipe a little no matter how dry it is.
Stain is not a finish of any kind. It is used to paint a color on perfectly good wood.

Now, my first question should have been…..

Why are you putting stain on nice red oak? If you wanted something else, why not use pine and make it painted to look the way you want?

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t hollering, just trying to figure out the mindset behind using an oil stain over a particular wood.
If I want a particular color of oak I’ll look for it until I find the one I want. Just remember, adding your urethane is going to darken the wood even more.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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crank49

3981 posts in 2435 days


#3 posted 04-14-2014 06:19 PM

I don’t use stain like that so maybe I can’t help you.
All the staining I have ever done was brushed or wiped on, allowed to set a few minutes, then wiped off.
At that point I may decide the color is not what I was after and may apply a little more stain, let it set, then wipe it off.
I never have used the colored finishes where the stain is dissolved into the finish.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4030 posts in 1815 days


#4 posted 04-14-2014 06:43 PM

Forty eight hours should be long enough as long as the piece is at room temperature.. A second coat of stain isn’t going to do much, as the first coat of an oil based stain will seal the wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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pintodeluxe

4856 posts in 2277 days


#5 posted 04-14-2014 06:51 PM

It really depends on how you plan to apply the topcoat. For instance, I spray my topcoats so there is very little chance of the stain lifting off. However, if you are wiping or brushing the topcoat, wait until no stain lifts off when wiping gently with a cotton rag.

Waiting until the stain is completely dry is THE most important step to a nice finish. Trying to wipe a topcoat onto tacky or uncured stain has ruined many a woodworkers day.

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

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Targa

117 posts in 1204 days


#6 posted 04-14-2014 09:49 PM

Dallas said – ”Until you put a finish on it, the stain is going to wipe a little no matter how dry it is”

This is exactly what I thought. Because I stained and put finish on some sample pieces of the wood in order to get familiar with the products and process as well as to show sample stain colors to my daughter who I built the bookcase for and I experienced some color coming off on a white paper towel until I applied the first finish coat.

The wood is definitely dry to the touch. Since there’s no hurry, I’ll continue to wait and monitor the stain with white cloths and paper towels and only proceed when there’s either no stain transferring or there’s only a faint trace of it on a wiping cloth.

”Why are you putting stain on nice red oak? If you wanted something else, why not use pine and make it painted to look the way you want?”

As I mentioned previously, I built the bookcase for my daughter who liked the grain and appearance of red oak but didn’t want a natural finish and was looking for a stain color to complement the other furniture in her condo. So who am I to argue!

Btw, I’m wiping both the stain and topcoat on which is what General Finishes recommends which works out fine for me since I’m just getting started in woodworking and it seems to offer more control over the finishing process.

Any additional comments or suggestions are welcome.

Thank you

-- Dom

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NoThanks

798 posts in 993 days


#7 posted 04-14-2014 09:57 PM

neverenougftackle: ”For oil I use my nose”

Doesn’t that make your nose brown?

I’m with pinto, I spray my topcoat.
I also spray my stain so if I want it darker I just spray light coats until I get the color I want.
I don’t have to worry about stain lifting that way.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Hammerthumb's profile (online now)

Hammerthumb

2533 posts in 1439 days


#8 posted 04-14-2014 10:08 PM

I agree with Bondo. A second coat of oil based stain will not add much more color as the oil based stian is a sealer also. Once wood is sealed, it will not pick up much more stain.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1951 days


#9 posted 04-14-2014 10:09 PM

Hmmmm, I agree with you about a lady’s wishes, but do disagree about application. Try using a waterbased stain if you must, since you will be using oil based urethane.
If you are using an oil based stain under an oil based urethane, you will probably have some bleed though.
Using water based stain under oil based urethae will help muchly.

Alternatively, using a water based finish on your oil stain will also cause problems.

BTW, while a lot of people are great believers in ‘General Finishes’ but I have had a few problems in the last few years.

Good luck with what you are doing. Eventually you will figure out how to fix you problem.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3041 days


#10 posted 04-14-2014 10:15 PM

Unless your project has been in a place where it’s been cool enough that it won’t allow the finish to dry in a normal manner your finish is dry, General finishes uses a higher end oil blend that helps your finish dry much better than low end finishes. I agree with spaying the top coat, but if you do wipe it just wipe it and move on, the more you rub the more lightly it will remove some of the base finish off because you are in a like finish on finish (both use the same solvent)
It’s always best to sand and finish a sample board along with your project so you can fine out what’s going to happen on your sample board first.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1741 days


#11 posted 04-14-2014 11:07 PM

+1 a1Jim
v
I agree with spaying the top coat, but if you do wipe it just wipe it and move on, the more you rub the more lightly it will remove some of the base finish off because you are in a like finish on finish (both use the same solvent)
It’s always best to sand and finish a sample board along with your project so you can fine out what’s going to happen on your sample board first.

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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