Poor Stain Job - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-23-2017, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Poor Stain Job

Hello everyone, I'm looking for some advice on how to improve a poor stain job that was done by a contractor that I hired to move the newel post on my staircase to make some more space in the walkway. He used some wood plugs to cover the screw holes and the plugs are still pretty visible and the sheen is now very inconsistent in the areas that he stained. He also used some spray clear varnish of some sort I believe. I am just looking to hide the plugs a little better and make the sheen more consistent. On the other side of the post he put some stain and didnt blend it very well. This is not as bad as the other side but i would like to try to even that out. I have attached some pics. The plugs are oak and it looks like the newel is maybe pine but i cant tell. Any advice on how to improve the appearance of the post would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-23-2017, 01:30 PM
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There isn't a way to fix it without taking the finish off and starting over unless you can make it very very dark. The dark blotches around the plugs is where someone wiped the glue off with a wet rag and then didn't sand it before finishing. Water will raise the grain making the stain soak in better. The rest of the problems are a result of not using a wood conditioner. On wood's prone to blotch you use a wood conditioner to make the surface more uniform in density so when the stain is applied the wood takes it more uniform.

If you can go very dark with it you could mix some varnish stain and go over it shading in the lighter wood until it's all the same color as the blotches. Then put clear over all of it.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-23-2017, 01:37 PM
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It's got Varnish on it so the stain is sealed in, nothing you can do about.


The real fix is to sand it off and start over, and do it right.


However, It's clear to me from the pictures that there wasn't enough coats put on to begin with.
So since plan #A would be sand it off and start over, you may as well punt and see if a quick fix helps.
The Helmsman will darken alittle with every coat. And it will make the front look "Better". Not much
is going to help the back I'm afraid. But I would bet two nice consistent coats spayed on properly will
improve the front a great deal.


It is not spray paint, do not use it like spray paint or you may as well save you're money. Spray with complete
strokes from top to bottom, and back again. Do it in 4" stripes only stopping the spray when you reach the ends of the target.
Every place you stop the spray will show, if you are inconsistent.


Good Luck!
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-23-2017, 03:59 PM
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Poor Stain Job

I agree with most everything that has been said so far. I think you need to sand the whole thing down to the bare wood and start from scratch. That does appear to be pine or some other soft wood, so once you get it bare, apply a wood conditioner to help even out the stain. Read the directions on the can for details. I find it interesting that one side of that post is all edge grain, meaning it was fabricates by merely stacking the boards together. Typically a newel post is constructed either with simple miter or lock miter joints. That way there is no edge grain, only face grain.



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post #5 of 9 Old 09-23-2017, 07:17 PM
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In this case I don't think that this is your problem. First thing I'd do is get an estimate from a reputable contractor on the cost to redo this and the second would be to talk to a lawyer.

Dave

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The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-25-2017, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweensdv View Post
In this case I don't think that this is your problem. First thing I'd do is get an estimate from a reputable contractor on the cost to redo this and the second would be to talk to a lawyer.
I completely agree with this and I will tell you why.. Every contractor who does a terrible job like this and is never confronted will keep going on doing the same poor work again and again.

Sorry to make this my first post to this forum. I am just beginning my trip into dealing with wood and am loving it. I. Hope to learn a lot here :)

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post #7 of 9 Old 09-25-2017, 06:56 AM
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I imagine trossoma is probably trying to find out what was done wrong and what would be a proper fix before confronting the contractor. That way they would be ready in case the contractor attempted a minor touch up.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-25-2017, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve. Yeah, I am going to confront the contractor but wanted to learn more about the issue and some possible remedies when I discuss this with the contractor. This is a tough situation, because I went with the lowest bid, and I'm not sure that this guy has the skills in the area of wood finishing/staining to correct the issue to my satisfaction.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-25-2017, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trossoma View Post
Thanks Steve. Yeah, I am going to confront the contractor but wanted to learn more about the issue and some possible remedies when I discuss this with the contractor. This is a tough situation, because I went with the lowest bid, and I'm not sure that this guy has the skills in the area of wood finishing/staining to correct the issue to my satisfaction.
Yea, the mistakes made were pretty much beginner mistakes. Any woodworker with any experience at all should know if you get wood wet it has to be sanded. Then the wood is either birch or maple and anyone experienced in finishing should know a wood conditioner should be used with that wood.

At this point though unless it was all stripped and thoroughly sanded it would be difficult to fix. The square part at the bottom could be refinished and a wood conditioner used but it would take an experienced finisher to make the stain match. A wood conditioner would prevent the stain from staining as dark so a darker stain and perhaps a dye used in order to make it match the rest of it. If your town has a furniture refinisher it would probably be cheaper for the contractor to have them fix it. They would have the supplies and talent needed to refinish the bottom part of the newel post. The talent level of the contractor is such they could spend days trying to make a fix of it where a refinisher could do it in less than a half day. Time is money.
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