Sticky surface after staining - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-13-2016, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Sticky surface after staining

Hello.
This is my first post on this forum. I like to dabble a little in wood projects, I've only done a few in my 33 years, mainly helping my dad as a kid and teen.
Anyway, I got a free 1960's credenza for my home office. It had old stain that I sanded off to just smooth wood. I don't know very much about stains and whatnot so I just picked up some stuff from Lowe's. It's called Rust-oleum Ultimate Wood Stain - Ebony color. It says it dries in one hour and to apply polyurethane. Well so I went and stained it and waited about 1 hour. I touched a small spot of it with my finger to see if it was dry but I don't think it was. It was sticky and it left a small fingerprint where I'd touched it. So I decided to wait another hour to see if it would dry, but it didnt. That was about 4 days ago and it still feels the same. Like it's not drying. I've stained before where there was no stickiness after a couple hours, so I'm not sure what gives.

Has anyone experienced this before or know what I can do to fix it? I've only stained the top of it. The front, sides, and drawers are still just the plain wood.

Thanks
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-13-2016, 04:53 PM
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You missed the step of wiping the excess off. Since you have let it sit for four days I would wash the stain off with lacquer thinner and allow it to dry. Then put another coat of stain on and immediately wipe off the excess and allow to dry. Probably in an hour it would be dry enough to coat with an oil based polyurethane. If you are using a water based polyurethane allow the stain to dry several days or apply a coat of Zinsser Sealcoat. The linseed oil in the stain is incompatible with waterborne finishes.

You can't just apply stain and allow to dry. It's not a finish in itself. It would eventually dry and what would happen is your polyurethane would adhere to the stain instead of the wood and in the following weeks or months the finish would start pealing off. It's very important unless you use a gel stain you wipe all the excess of a stain off, regardless of brand. If the color isn't dark enough use a darker stain or supplement the color with a dye stain. A dye stain is more similar to ink so you can apply it and allow to dry.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-13-2016, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Well crap. Ok thanks. I'll redo the stain on it. So for removing the stain with the thinner, do I just pour a little on a cloth and rub on the stain? Or should I let the thinner sit on the stain for a bit? Also what is recommended for applying the stain? I used a cheap brush from the hardware store. And what is recommended for absorbing excess stain? Like a special rag or any old t-shirt is ok?

Thank you.
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-13-2016, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik2282 View Post
Well crap. Ok thanks. I'll redo the stain on it. So for removing the stain with the thinner, do I just pour a little on a cloth and rub on the stain? Or should I let the thinner sit on the stain for a bit? Also what is recommended for applying the stain? I used a cheap brush from the hardware store. And what is recommended for absorbing excess stain? Like a special rag or any old t-shirt is ok?

Thank you.
All you are trying to do is remove the stain on top of the wood. Just wet a rag with lacquer thinner and wipe it down. It may be necessary to frequently change rags. When you are done it should appear dry very soon. If there is any especially dark spots or spots still sticky or glossy you might re-do those spots. The brush you used is fine to apply the stain or you could use rags or even spray it, just as long as you wipe it off with dry rags once applied. I normally use stain rags from my local paint company. I think they are mostly t-shirt material. As long as the rag you use is absorbent it will work. I've even used paper towels.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-13-2016, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik2282 View Post
Well crap. Ok thanks. I'll redo the stain on it. So for removing the stain with the thinner, do I just pour a little on a cloth and rub on the stain? Or should I let the thinner sit on the stain for a bit? Also what is recommended for applying the stain? I used a cheap brush from the hardware store. And what is recommended for absorbing excess stain? Like a special rag or any old t-shirt is ok?

Thank you.
Since its a wipe stain, wipe it down with mineral spirits or naptha. Should come right off, but will still leave some color on the wood. If you want it darker, reapply the wipe stain, let it sit for a minute or so, then wipe it off. Let it sit for 6 hours to be safe, check that its dry, which it should be, then apply the poly.
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-13-2016, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I'll post back results once done. Your advice is appreciated.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-14-2016, 01:06 AM
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Make Sure your rags (stain or thinners) go into a bucket of water, or make sure you get them outside...laying flat on some concrete, or hanging somewhere "safe".
You do not want the rags to get bundled up anywhere...want to make sure they are free to dry out real well to avoid any danger of Fire/Combustion. Like hanging clothes on a line to dry.
best
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-15-2016, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Im going to restain today when i get home from work. I havent had time, with working late and all. Anyway, I did have another question. I don't know how to tell if the polyurethane I have is oil-based or water-based. It's Rust-oleum Ultimate Polyurethane Matte Interior. It says soap and water clean up, so I was kinda thinkin it's water based. If so, I'll go to Lowes and get an oil-based one.

Thanks.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-15-2016, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik2282 View Post
Im going to restain today when i get home from work. I havent had time, with working late and all. Anyway, I did have another question. I don't know how to tell if the polyurethane I have is oil-based or water-based. It's Rust-oleum Ultimate Polyurethane Matte Interior. It says soap and water clean up, so I was kinda thinkin it's water based. If so, I'll go to Lowes and get an oil-based one.

Thanks.
Yes, soap and water clean up is water based. If it were oil based it would smell like paint thinner and would say clean up with paint thinner.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-15-2016, 10:34 AM
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Make Sure your rags (stain or thinners) go into a bucket of water, or make sure you get them outside...laying flat on some concrete, or hanging somewhere "safe".
You do not want the rags to get bundled up anywhere...want to make sure they are free to dry out real well to avoid any danger of Fire/Combustion. Like hanging clothes on a line to dry.
best
I always thought the oily rag thing was a bit over rated - UNTIL....
my first rental shop location where I used a lot of stain one day.
Right before shutting down for the day, my eyes started burning and someone else also complained about it. We looked and looked and couldnt find the source. Then, someone kicked over a bunch of the rags and they started smoking. I paniced and grabbed what I could and we put everything outside and wet them down.
If we had left an hour earlier, no telling what would have happened.

OILY RAGS AND FIRE IS NOT AN URBAN LEGEND!

Tony B Retired woodworker, among other things.


"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
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post #11 of 14 Old 04-15-2016, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds good. Thanks guys. I'll be extra careful with the rags.
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post #12 of 14 Old 04-15-2016, 08:40 PM
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I've only had rags catch fire once. I throw them in a pile outdoors and one day when the temperature was 100+ the rags sitting in the sun caught fire. I've never seen any even smoke before.
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post #13 of 14 Old 04-15-2016, 10:56 PM
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I have seen 5 fires from rags.....including a good portion of a convent that burned down in Santa Rosa... a roof fire at 115 Sansome Street in the fog at 60 degrees, and in an alley in China Town near St Marys Church in a dumpster in the rain.
Leaving rags laying around on a job-site was a good way to get fired, and I mean by the General Contractor not the Painting Contractor.
Put some paint thinner on a rag, and put that in your back pocket for 5 minutes...enjoy the (minor) chemical burn. For years, THAT was a favorite "joke" among journeyman.....tell the new apprentice to make sure he kept a thinner rag in his back overalls pocket, so he would be ready to clean up any Drips/Drops/Over-spray.
I can assure you, "rags" is the Real McCoy.
That convent fire put a nun in the hospital, and then plastic surgery, and helped to close the doors of one of our older painting contractors.

Last edited by jorma; 04-15-2016 at 11:15 PM.
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post #14 of 14 Old 04-16-2016, 08:20 AM
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When I was a kid, my father was completing an addition to our house just before Christmas in time for the family rush. One accent wall had cedar planks that he finished with boiled linseed oil. When he was done he rolled up the drop cloth with all the finish rags inside it and threw it on the floor of the unfinished basement to deal with it later.
Later that night my mom opened the cellar door to a plume of smoke billowing out into the kitchen. A short visit from the friendly neighborhood firefighters confirmed that the rolled up bundle of drops and rags had spontaneously combusted. No damage was done (yet) and a valuable lesson learned. My mom gave them Christmas cookies & coffee lol
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