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post #1 of 5 Old 02-28-2017, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Staining help

I sanded and stained this TV stand and unfortunately the top turned out a different shade from the bottom, and now I have a blotchy side. The colours match pretty good when I initially finish staining the bottom, perhaps also because there is less natural light at that time, but when it dries, you can see the top has a greener tint and the bottom has more of a brownish/reddish tint. I think this may be due to not removing as much of the previous stain on the bottom as I did on the top (but they don't look too different in the photos). I also did the top a day before the bottom just to see how it would turn out.

After staining the bottom and noticing it was darker than the top, I put on a second coat of stain on the top. The next day I put on a second coat of stain on the bottom, seeing that the colours still didn't match. It looks a tiny bit better after the second coat (maybe because it's darker out today), but still noticeably different than the top. It's actually less of a contrast with the naked eye than in the photo.

Now I have another issue. One side turned out blotchy after the second coat of stain. Although this side will be facing the wall, I still would like to try to fix it up.

I used wood conditioner and estimated about 15 mins for the first coat of stain and 5 mins for the second coat of stain.

I was thinking of the possibility of getting a stain that would give the top a reddish tint like the bottom but I'm not sure what stain colour and really don't want to mess it up anymore. I initially thought about painting the bottom before I sanded the bottom, but I really like having the wood look overall.

This is my third sanding and staining project. The first two were a coffee table and side table where I only sanded and stained the top, then painted the legs. This is the first one where I sanded the whole thing (except the inside).

Any thoughts on why the stain turned out different? Any advice on how to get the colours to better match, although at this point I'm okay with it? Any advice on how to fix the blotchy side?

Photo 1: Blotchy side
Photo 2: How it looks now
Photo 3: How it looked after second coat of stain (just after applying second coat on bottom; top coat dried)
Photo 4: Sanded top
Photo 5: Sanded bottom; first coat of stain on top dried
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-28-2017, 11:02 AM
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Was this a ready-to-finish piece or did you build it yourself? If ready-to-finish, do you know the manufacturer? Do you know what wood species the top, face frame, doors, and sides are? Top, side, and door graining looks very different. I'm guessing the sides are a veneered product (either solid core or particle board plywood). If so, the sides would most likely take finish differently than solid wood.

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post #3 of 5 Old 02-28-2017, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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I just started refinishing furniture a few months ago (don't know how to build). I bought this off Kijiji and it was in a dark reddish brown stain. The brand label is on the inside but don't know about manufacturer. I assumed it is oak wood veneer all around, although now that you ask, the grain on the front doors do look somewhat different. So I guess it could be absorbing the stain differently because they are different woods.
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-28-2017, 11:33 AM
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When ever you refinish wood the first step should be a methylene chloride type paint and varnish remover. The reason for it being blotchy is trying to sand the finish off. With wood the finish penetrates into the wood and sanding tends to only get what is on the surface.

From where you are the only solution is to strip it and sand it again. Still the damage is done and you may have to shade some of the light spots with dyes or toners when you go back with the finish.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-08-2017, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback.

I ended up manually sanding the blotchy side with higher grits of sandpaper (180, 220), which removed a lot of the blotchy stain and revealed more of the wood veneer. It's not perfect but good enough for me since that side will be facing the wall. I just didn't have the energy and interest to sand it completely and stain it again. Lesson learned.

I'm happy with how it turned out in the end.
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