Ideas to Fix Poor Stain Job - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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Ideas to Fix Poor Stain Job

I am building a wet bar in my basement. Because the bar top itself needs to wrap around a stanchion I had to build the bar in place. Its two layers of 3/4" plywood glued and screwed in place as a permanent structure. The lower layer of plywood was glued and screwed into a halfwall and then the top layer of 3/4" plywood was glued and screwed to the lower layer from below. This resulted in a very solid, very permanent bar top. So, I can just make a new bar top to replace this one.

So far so good. *However* when I went to stain the bar top (its a hickory veneer plywood) I managed to mess up the look of the stain. The stain said to apply it, wait 15 minutes, and then wipe it off. However, it took so long to cover the entire thing that by the time I finished the whole surface the 15 minutes was up and I had to start wiping it off where I started the application. The wiping off takes much less time than brushing on the stain and as such some of the bar top looked darker where I started staining and lighter where I finished up. In my infinite wisdom (read stupidity) I thought that if I rubbed at the darker section more vigorously that it would lighten up more. This didn't work out quite as well as I had planned. It resulted in these weird streaky light areas where I really got rid of some of the stain. The resulting look is rather ugly... it looks very inconsistent and poorly stained.

This is killing me. I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to repair this.

Can I sand down and restain? This seems dangerous since the veneer layer is so thin that I might go through. Also, I thought that the stain seeped into the wood.. So sanding it down would just leave me looking at the same color wood where the stain was absorbed.

Should I try to apply another coat of stain to try and smooth out the coloring? Would this result in a much darker color? Would it just move the problem up a few shades instead of getting rid of it?

Can I purchase a large sheet of veneer and glue it to the top... over the poorly stained one?

I don't know that this is really relavent, but the final finish I plan on using is called Mirror Coat. It a thick, clear epoxy will result in a layer 1/8" to 1/4" thick. It may help hide the fact that I screwed up the staining, but I think that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Please help. I'm not going to be able to sleep well for the next few days stressing out over this.
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 08:24 AM
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Well, Alcy, the first thing you can do is try restaining. Although, after your vigorous buffing of the one end, I think that I would go over the entire surface LIGHTLY with ~150grit sandpaper, by hand, to re-open the pores evenly across the surface. (on a veneered piece as that, you cannot sand away the stain, as you suggested, because you WOULD sand through the veneer.) I say by hand because if you use a power sander, the friction will probably cause your sandpaper to gum up with the stain almost immediately.
Then maybe try starting the staining at the other end. Try to give the stain time to absorb.

You are correct in assuming that your finish will not 'hide' the stain job. It is a clear finish, and glossy at that, so it would likely highlight it.

As for veneering over the piece, I cannot say for sure. I don't know what the adhesion would be to a recently stained surface. I'm not experienced enough in that aspect.

By the way, I think the finish you're using(Mirror Coat) is a pour-on finish, right? I assume you know that you need to have edges up all around the border of your top or the finish will just flow right off onto the floor. It's self-leveling. Good luck, and keep us posted with the results.
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 09:29 AM
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I wouldn't restain or sand at this point. You didn't say what the stain was. If it was an oil base stain you might try evening out the stain with wet wiping with mineral spirits. What you will be doing is diluting what has soaked in and you may be able to create a more consistent finish. If the stain or dye is of another base and not affected by mineral spirits, try lacquer thinner.

Worse case scenario, if you can't get a coloring that is adequate, you could veneer the top with a paper backed wood veneer, and use a solvent based contact cement. If this is done, try to get as much ventilation as possible, and prevent the fumes from getting into the rest of the house. Use a good respirator.







Last edited by cabinetman; 01-17-2008 at 09:44 AM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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I had a suggestion to use mineral spririts to hopefully lighten up the whole thing and reduce the amount of difference accross the whole surface. Then, and only then, apply another light layer of stain to try and even it all up.

Do you still suggest not using another layer of stain after the mineral spirits?
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 12:53 PM
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Most oil based stains use varnish as the binder and if this has completely dried,and it sounds as if it has, mineral spirits will not help. It would have worked if the stain was still wet. You will have to some way remove the stain or as was suggested apply a veneer.

Good Luck

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post #6 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcy View Post
I had a suggestion to use mineral spririts to hopefully lighten up the whole thing and reduce the amount of difference accross the whole surface. Then, and only then, apply another light layer of stain to try and even it all up.

Do you still suggest not using another layer of stain after the mineral spirits?

The use of a solvent will dissolve the stain in the pores and may cause some saturation. After trying this, and you may get some good results after much cleaning, allow the cleaned area to completely dry to see how much remains. It may be necessary to strip the top to get out whatever remains in the hope that more can be removed. Stripping at that point will do no harm to the top.

If you resort to stripping, you could use a product called "Citri Strip".
It can be used indoors, contains no methylene chloride, smells like oranges, and cleans up with water. It may take more than one application.

Once all that is done, you may have to lightly sand the surface with the grain. The smoother you sand, the less absorption of stain will occur. Usually 180x as a maximum degree of coarseness and 220x as the smoothest. Then start your staining over again. I don't know what type of stain you used. An oil base stain will give you a fair amount of time to cover the entire surface.

If you can create a sample, try whatever you will be doing on the sample first.






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post #7 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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I ordered the stain from the company I got my cabinets with because I wanted the bar to match the surrounding cabinets. I called them to ask what type of stain it was and they said "solvent based."

I've not heard of solvent based stains. Does this mean I should try something other than mineral spirits? *EDIT* I looked up solvent based stains. Sadly, it sounds like they gave me no new information by telling me it was solvent based.... The solvent could be oil, laquer, acrylic, etc.

Additionally, someone mentioned a "wood bleach" to me. Any idea what that would do? Is that definitely barking up the wrong tree?

Last edited by alcy; 01-17-2008 at 03:51 PM.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 04:31 PM
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I would stay away from bleach at this point. From the directions on the can it should say what to clean up with, that should tell you. If it's oil base, mineral spirits (same as paint thinner), would be the solvent.






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post #9 of 15 Old 01-17-2008, 10:52 PM
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alcy, I feel for ya brother...here's a picture of my first attempt at a dresser using cherry plywood? Where's the cherry veneer?



It's under the black paint on the sides of the dresser. Fortunately the solid wood on the front came out ok, but I tried everything to try and fix my botched stain job that I finally gave up and painted it. If I had the money or the knowledge at the time I would have resurfaced it as others have suggested.

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post #10 of 15 Old 01-18-2008, 01:14 PM
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I think there is definition problem here mineral spirits is not a solvent for varnish it is a thinner. It will not dissolve dried varnish. An example of a solvent might be alcohol for shellac it will affect the shellac long after it has dried. I agree the stain needs to be removed.

Regards

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post #11 of 15 Old 01-18-2008, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry View Post
I think there is definition problem here mineral spirits is not a solvent for varnish it is a thinner. It will not dissolve dried varnish. An example of a solvent might be alcohol for shellac it will affect the shellac long after it has dried. I agree the stain needs to be removed.

Regards

Jerry

The OP was concerned about stain, not varnish.






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post #12 of 15 Old 01-19-2008, 12:53 PM
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Yes, I understand,but as I stated most oil based stains (if thats what was used) use varnish as a binder.

Regards

Jerry
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-19-2008, 01:20 PM
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Starting from the other end using the same stain restain it. Do the same procedure you used the first time. This should even out the stain. If it is an industrial fast drying stain (which I believe it is) restaining the piece will actually lighten the stain. You can use a small spray unit and sray the lighter areas lightly and try to feather the color in.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-19-2008, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry View Post
Yes, I understand,but as I stated most oil based stains (if thats what was used) use varnish as a binder.

Regards

Jerry

Depending on what was used (we don't really know), the trick is to dissolve out the color. Whatever the binder is, an appropriate solvent would dissolve varnishes/resins. If not mineral spirits, maybe lacquer thinner, or even acetone. And there is always stripping.






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post #15 of 15 Old 01-20-2008, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
Depending on what was used (we don't really know), the trick is to dissolve out the color. Whatever the binder is, an appropriate solvent would dissolve varnishes/resins. If not mineral spirits, maybe lacquer thinner, or even acetone. And there is always stripping.






I certainly agree.

Regards

Jerry
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