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Beautiful piece turned into mush cause i'm no good at staining.

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Forum topic by TheGov posted 07-13-2009 04:55 PM 2129 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TheGov

18 posts in 3116 days


07-13-2009 04:55 PM

Hello, All

I’m in desperate need of some help.
After 1 year in my woodworking class i still consider myself a newbie.
I’ve been working on this project for 1 year now off and on.

Project Unstained

I think the project was in pretty good shape for my first official assignment.

After i did the framework i began to tackel staining. Firstly there was a guy in my class that was doing another job so i bascially did my best to follow the steps that he took because he is a professional. First i sanded and then i added added sanding sealer. The difference between his job and my job is he was using an oil based stain and i was using water and now everything is very blotchy. I did my best to remove the sanding sealer but and re sanded but it doesn’t look like th echemical didn’t penetrate all the way through so even on my second pass i get blotchiness. I got really fustrated and just continued and applied 3 layer of lacquer. I have finally calm down and decide to take my time and do it right.

So i’m looking fo the assistance of my fellow LJ.

Should i just strip and paint over it?
Can i just paint over it?
It is still possible for me to strip the 3 layers of lacquer, 3 coats of stain and the sanding sealer and start over?
Looking frward to hearing back.

-- What can i say i'm just doing what i love.


13 replies so far

View ChasHutch's profile

ChasHutch

56 posts in 3178 days


#1 posted 07-13-2009 05:02 PM

I’m not a pro but… it sure looks nice to me.

What type of wood is it? Is the stain blotchy or is the lacquer looking mirky?

The problem I have had when my stain is blotchy is that I had sanded to too fine a grit. I sanded a piece to 400 grit once (smooth as a babies rear) and the stain would not take (blotchy) because I had closed to pours with grit.

I”m also looking forward to what the LJ’s have to say.

Hutch

-- Hutch - North Dallas, Tx - Safety First

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3112 days


#2 posted 07-13-2009 05:03 PM

This is a beautiful piece – I too would have liked to make this ‘right’. It’s an interesting question you raised, and I’m not sure myself since you already have the lacquer on it, and you have the sanding sealer as well. not sure how feasable it would be to remove all of that (including the stain) – maybe if you stripped down the lacquer and used dye to complement the stain? or maybe sand down the stain and use dye alone…

I’m not really sure, but am also interested in any replies you’ll get. good question!

P.S. – for stain to take well, you shouldnt really sand over 150…

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

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 2944 days


#3 posted 07-13-2009 05:30 PM

How did you apply the stain? Brush, rag, spray? I tend to apply it with a brush or a rag and wipe off the excess working the stain in all directions to get it into the grain. Sadly though, some times wood doesn’t take stain very well and you do tend to get blotchyness. I’ve never put a sealer on before staining though. I just apply it to the raw wood after I’ve stained it then apply the sealer. As for what to do now, well it would be a shame to paint over such a lovely piece and trying to sand in tight spaces is difficult. You can try and use a stripper to remove the lacquer and and sand the stain off and try staining it again. Wost thing that can happen is you have to paint it. If you do paint it, be sure to use a good primer or something like Kilz so the color doesn’t come through. And a word of advice for next time. Save a piece of your left over wood you’re using and test your stains and finish on, it can save you a lot of heart ache. Good luck, I hope to see the finished piece.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3205 days


#4 posted 07-13-2009 05:32 PM

I would use the stripper, and then go to a gel stain which is a bit better behaved than regular oil based stain, and MUCH better behaved than waterbased.
I think (just my $0.02) that waterbased finish (topcoats) have come a long ways but the stains, and getting even penetration are still pretty tricky, especially if you are using a mixture of solid wood and ply/veneer. Though typically the gel stains will be a little lighter than the corresponding oil stain. So Dark Cherry Gel will be a bit lighter than the more penetrating oil stain.
I also like PurpLev’s idea about dye’s They have been a go to for ‘evening’ out colors, I’ve seen some even use water based dye in a plant mister bottle to use as a shading/toner.

Good Luck

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View patron's profile

patron

13535 posts in 2804 days


#5 posted 07-13-2009 06:09 PM

not being to good at much else other than laquer .
i would probably get some tint ,
and add it to the laquer ,
sand the old stuff (220) then apply new tinted laquer .
the real problem is spraying into closed corners .
can you take the back off ?
your work is excelent !
very nice .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 2790 days


#6 posted 07-13-2009 06:20 PM

Agree with what many have said already….maybe a rough sanding then try to blend it together. I would try ANYTHING before covering up that beautiful wood grain…..The grain in the top just makes this whole piece pop !!! (Beautiful wine cabinet also…great work !!)

-- Don S.E. OK

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3313 posts in 3286 days


#7 posted 07-13-2009 07:05 PM

I’m sorry to hear about your trouble but with out being able to see the stain results I cannot advise. You see there could be a quick fix or a complete stripping of the project. I would advise you to find a local cabinet shop in your area or a competent painter for advise. The blotchy stain may not be how it was apply but the wood grain itself. Birch plywood and other species has a very frequent pattern of reverse grain which will take stain more in some spot and less in others. I would all ways advise to use oil stains they tend to absorb more evenly and dry evenly as well. The use of wipe on stain or gel stain are another good product, but you must make sure that over applying and heavy area are wipe down evenly or you may run into the problem of striking the stain when applying you finish. This would not apply if you spray your finish. The cabinet is a gem and I confident it can be saved without painting it. Best of luck …Blkcherry

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 2749 days


#8 posted 07-13-2009 07:38 PM

First of all, I would strip it all off. With fresh lacquer, you could probably use lacquer thinner instead of paint remover. Most of the stain won’t come out, more than likely. You can get a commercial grade wood bleach at paint stores, but I ‘ve had good luck with Clorox Bleach. (Use gloves)

A lot of guys use sealer first. I usually don’t. For woods that tend to be blotchy, like Cherry and Soft Maple, I stain a lighter tone to begin with. I then spray a thinned version of the same stain—-several light coats. I don’t know if you have spray equipment. You can seal and then shade the stain. I like to keep the color under the clear to minimize chipping. After sealing and sanding you can use a glazing liquid to even the tone. Should be able to find that at a pro-paint store. Brush on and wipe with a lint free rag.

-- http://shepherdtoolandsupply.com/

View TheGov's profile

TheGov

18 posts in 3116 days


#9 posted 07-13-2009 08:22 PM

Hi, chris i applied the stain with a rag and brush. I think i may need to paint it.
What would the procedure be for that?

How did you apply the stain? Brush, rag, spray? I tend to apply it with a brush or a rag and wipe off the excess working the stain in all directions to get it into the grain. Sadly though, some times wood doesn’t take stain very well and you do tend to get blotchyness. I’ve never put a sealer on before staining though. I just apply it to the raw wood after I’ve stained it then apply the sealer. As for what to do now, well it would be a shame to paint over such a lovely piece and trying to sand in tight spaces is difficult. You can try and use a stripper to remove the lacquer and and sand the stain off and try staining it again. Wost thing that can happen is you have to paint it. If you do paint it, be sure to use a good primer or something like Kilz so the color doesn’t come through. And a word of advice for next time. Save a piece of your left over wood you’re using and test your stains and finish on, it can save you a lot of heart ache. Good luck, I hope to see the finished piece.

-- What can i say i'm just doing what i love.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#10 posted 07-16-2009 05:48 AM

Hey Gov
There are other ways to cure your problem other than painting. It sounds like you have severe blotching problems . If you don’t have runs you can seal off your first coat with shellac and then apply any number of different types of stains or dyes. This is a nice piece it would be ashamed to paint it. If you want to learn a whole world of finishing I would suggest buying a copy of Charles Neils DVD finishing A-Z ibeyond the books it’s a bargain . It will save you problems like this from happening again.

http://charlesneilwoodworking.com/dvdplayer.php?id=63

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Kjuly's profile

Kjuly

306 posts in 2749 days


#11 posted 07-16-2009 03:25 PM

Gov,
That’s a beautiful cabinet so don’t give up and paint it.
Although a little late, my first question is what type of wood is it?
I assume that there is plywood in the construction so sanding the finish back to new wood is not possible. Quote I did my best to remove the sanding sealer but and re sanded but it doesn’t look like th echemical didn’t penetrate all the way through so even on my second pass i get blotchiness. Did you reapply a sealer before reapplying the stain and lacquer?
First, you can remove the lacquer with lacquer thinner. It will take a few applications but it will come off. I don’t think that all of the blotchy spots will come out without sanding. I would suggest a stripper and get as much of the stain off as possible. After a good cleaning and a light sanding, apply a coat of shellac, as Jim said.
Here’s where you have a few options. You could try another stain that is darker than the original and try to hide the blotches. You could paint it.
You could apply a dye. A dye can be applied in layers until the blotches are covered.
Please practice the next steps on scrap wood before applying to your cabinet.
The steps are simple: After the shellac coat has dried apply a coat of clear lacquer.
Mix the powered dye with lacquer per the instructions on the container.
Spray the dye/lacquer mixture until you get the desired effect.
Put on a top coat of clear lacquer to complete your project.

I used this method on a small Soft Maple cabinet that I posted in my projects section.

Keith

-- Keith, Charlotte, MI www.julyswoodworks.com

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#12 posted 07-16-2009 04:18 PM

Hey Gov
If I may add to keith’s approach … In sanding plywood it’s Farly easy to sand through the outside veneer so don’t sand much and don’t use course sand paper(grits coarser than 120). Also if using a stripier (which I normally would not suggest on plywood because of it not being that effective) make sure you clean the area with naphtha very well after the stripping operation to eliminate pollutant’s. Another option is to buy a wipeing stain of a darker color that be used instead of spraying which takes practice and spray equipment unless you buy spray cans of finish now available .I agree practice pieces of wood is the only way to go. One thing to remember is that shellac is a great sealer in it’s self and can be used in between any and all new attempts of finish in case you need more than one try.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7796 posts in 2767 days


#13 posted 07-16-2009 05:38 PM

i worked in a finish shop some years ago and we had a custom order that was stained and the customer thought it was to dark, so we used laquer thinner to tone it down some then added yellow coloring to a new batch of laquer and sprayed it on, it made the piece lighter and we accomplised what the customer wanted…just a story on a fix for a color problem…but what the others have posted is good advise…good luck with getting it to where you are happy with it…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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