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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I've recently purchased a used bedroom set for my daughter. It's what she wanted, I unfortunately don't have actual pictures yet, however some of the pieces had scratches along the furniture tops. Anyway, upon heading home I decided to experiment on one of the nightstands that appeared to have polyurethane removed section (maybe fingernail polish remover IDK). I used 120 to remove the initial poly then I moved to 200. I found that these pieces were Veneer over MDF. It's hard to see but they did a good job with it as they veneered all sides of the wood even if you remove the drawer fronts from the drawer box, they veneered the back of the drawer fronts. I used a screwdriver to scrape away and saw the MDF deep beneath.

Anyway, when I got down to bare wood (no stain) I put on the closest thing that matches the original finish ( ZAR Rosewood Oil finish). I put on one coat and within a few minutes wiped it off. It was too light, I waiting a few hours, lightly scratched it and put on another coat and wiped it off. Again too light. So i read somewhere about Gel stains being better and that you don't have to remove the existing finish with a gel stain. So I tried that and got absolutely no change in the finish.

I used some Acetone to remove as much as the original stain and residue on the surface as I could and I experimented on another area of the furniture that I had not touched. I used a paper towel and rubbed acetone on that section and I found it removed the polyurethane and beneath that surface was a wood veneer surface that looked pretty daymn similar to the newly stained surface. So I'm confused as to what to do at this point. It seems the polyurethane surface could possibly be dark or not clear on purpose. So I'd need a dark poly? Or do I need a darker stain. Not sure.

The image below represents the set that I got.
 

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When ever you refinish wood with the intention of staining it should always start with paint and varnish remover. Since wood is porous part of the finish penetrates into the wood sealing it. Sanding tends to get what is on the surface and acetone isn't aggressive enough to lift what is penetrated. Then when you try to use a stain since the wood is sealed it doesn't accept the stain as well.

If you are not getting it dark enough with a gel stain then you are using a color that is too light. A gel stain more or less is thinned down enamel paint. It was developed to make a textured fiberglass door look more like real wood. Since it is paint it will obscure the wood laying pigment over the surface.

Sometimes veneers resist stain because the wood is thin and what is underneath is the adhesive which definitely won't accept stain. You may have to use a darker stain than you think to achieve the desired color or if it's really sealed you could use a dye stain to supplement the color. A dye stain is more like ink which would add color without muddying up the surface with pigment. It would show more of the real wood. I use this one. https://www.mohawkproducts.com/Mohawk-Ultra-Penetrating-Stain-p/m520.htm It's something that should be sprayed though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When ever you refinish wood with the intention of staining it should always start with paint and varnish remover. Since wood is porous part of the finish penetrates into the wood sealing it. Sanding tends to get what is on the surface and acetone isn't aggressive enough to lift what is penetrated. Then when you try to use a stain since the wood is sealed it doesn't accept the stain as well.

If you are not getting it dark enough with a gel stain then you are using a color that is too light. A gel stain more or less is thinned down enamel paint. It was developed to make a textured fiberglass door look more like real wood. Since it is paint it will obscure the wood laying pigment over the surface.

Sometimes veneers resist stain because the wood is thin and what is underneath is the adhesive which definitely won't accept stain. You may have to use a darker stain than you think to achieve the desired color or if it's really sealed you could use a dye stain to supplement the color. A dye stain is more like ink which would add color without muddying up the surface with pigment. It would show more of the real wood. I use this one. https://www.mohawkproducts.com/Mohawk-Ultra-Penetrating-Stain-p/m520.htm It's something that should be sprayed though.
At this point what should I do. Should I go over it with an Ebony stain? The problem is whatever I do I would want to do to 3 other pieces of furniture. I don't want a process that takes weeks before it's done.
 

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At this point what should I do. Should I go over it with an Ebony stain? The problem is whatever I do I would want to do to 3 other pieces of furniture. I don't want a process that takes weeks before it's done.
If you have used a stain then the wood is sealed with that stain. Going over it again with a conventional stain won't help and if you didn't get the excess completely wiped off could cause the finish to peal. Without knowing how much darker it needs to go it's difficult to suggest a procedure. Even with the dye stain I suggested you can only darken a little. Very much darker you would need to strip it back to bare wood or use a gel stain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you have used a stain then the wood is sealed with that stain. Going over it again with a conventional stain won't help and if you didn't get the excess completely wiped off could cause the finish to peal. Without knowing how much darker it needs to go it's difficult to suggest a procedure. Even with the dye stain I suggested you can only darken a little. Very much darker you would need to strip it back to bare wood or use a gel stain.
Okay, I just attached some pictures. The top is what I've been working on. It's too light as you can see. The rest of the piece is kind of a red finish. It's deeper and darker.
 

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That is pretty far off. It might be better to chemically take the stain off and start over. If you have the means of spraying a finish and want to try supplementing the color you might try the M520-3866 medium mahogany dye stain. Spraying a dye looks like you are putting nothing on the wood and if you keep adding color until it looks right with the dye it will be too dark. The dye can be used between the coats of finish so it's better to not put enough on than to do too much. You could spray a coat of the dye on and dab a drop of the finish on in an inconspicuous spot to see what you are doing. If it's not enough color you can add more coats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay,

I used StripX last night (gell) and removed as much as I could. I put on another coat of gel stain and let it sit for 15 minutes. I removed it last night. I'm going to try again tonight. Problem is that it's too cold (around 20 or 30 in the garage) not sure if this affects the outcomes.
 

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Paint strippers don't do well at all below 70 degrees. I suspend refinishing work in winter months for that reason.

If you are using a gel stain you don't have to wipe it all off like you do with wood stain. A gel stain is more like paint and you can control the color by how much you remove. You can even lightly brush it on and just let it sit and dry like paint. Just try to keep in mind that most finishes like that darken as they dry so you might stay slightly light. If it dries too light you can add color but if you get it too dark then that means paint stripper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Paint strippers don't do well at all below 70 degrees. I suspend refinishing work in winter months for that reason.

If you are using a gel stain you don't have to wipe it all off like you do with wood stain. A gel stain is more like paint and you can control the color by how much you remove. You can even lightly brush it on and just let it sit and dry like paint. Just try to keep in mind that most finishes like that darken as they dry so you might stay slightly light. If it dries too light you can add color but if you get it too dark then that means paint stripper.
Okay, I did the stripping inside when everyone was asleep. :). Anyway now that you mentioned this, I realized when I put the gel stain on it had brush marks and it was the color I wanted, however I had to wipe off the excess. So now that you say this, how would I go about keeping the gel stain on but not wiping it off. I've placed gel stain on a wooden sttir stick and noticed that it remains sticky after several days.
 

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If it were me I would buy an HVLP spray outfit and use that. You can get a pretty good one for around $300 to $400 and you will have it from now on. If you strip and refinish all that furniture you are getting into a big job. To put it another way "You are going to be tired" I feel for you but she is your daughter so that makes it easier.
 

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Okay, I did the stripping inside when everyone was asleep. :). Anyway now that you mentioned this, I realized when I put the gel stain on it had brush marks and it was the color I wanted, however I had to wipe off the excess. So now that you say this, how would I go about keeping the gel stain on but not wiping it off. I've placed gel stain on a wooden sttir stick and noticed that it remains sticky after several days.
Personally, I spray everything I can and that would be the easiest way to get a uniform color with the gel stain. You don't have to get a high dollar sprayer for wood finishes, a twenty dollar sprayer from Harbor Freight would do fine. If spraying isn't an option you could brush the stain on in thin coats with a soft brush until you get the desired color. Let each coat dry completely and you should be able to accumulate the color you need.
 

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You've got 3 issues ...

First, you don't know about stains and dyes so you've run into technical problems.

Second, you need different equipment like a paint sprayer and compressor:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Californ...p-4-7-Gal-Steel-Tank-Air-Compressor/258922094

Or this:
https://www.harborfreight.com/2-gal...l-Free-Professional-Air-Compressor-64596.html

and spray gun:
https://www.harborfreight.com/20-fl-oz-hvlp-gravity-feed-air-spray-gun-62300.html

Finally, the cold temperature is hurting your work.

If you are going to do 3 more pieces, then you should invest in the proper equipment. It will save hours of frustration. Then you can control the amount of color by using dyes rather than stain. You will want to practice spraying on cardboard to get the feel of how much dye volume and fan area you need. It will take several hours of practice in a well ventilated area. I wouldn't advise working in a 30 degree space. You need to warm it up, but avoid open flames when spraying volatile chemicals. You have a lot working against you that you weren't aware of and did not get the desired results because of that.
 

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It really looks great and I congratulate you for such results. Personally, five days ago I moved into a new apartment and I still have a lot to do and buy to be the way I want to be. It is hard work but the result is worth it. For example, for a long time, I didn't know what kind of led night lights I could buy because I didn't like the ones I had in the previous house. I was lucky that yesterday I came across some lights on Amazon that I really like how it works because it automatically adjusts itself according to the brightness in the room, which is perfect.
 

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When ever you refinish wood with the intention of staining it should always start with paint and varnish remover. Since wood is porous part of the finish penetrates into the wood sealing it. Sanding tends to get what is on the surface and acetone isn't aggressive enough to lift what is penetrated. Then when you try to use a stain since the wood is sealed it doesn't accept the stain as well.

If you are not getting it dark enough with a gel stain then you are using a color that is too light. A gel stain more or less is thinned down enamel paint. It was developed to make a textured fiberglass door look more like real wood. Since it is paint it will obscure the wood laying pigment over the surface.

Sometimes veneers resist stain because the wood is thin and what is underneath is the adhesive which definitely won't accept stain. You may have to use a darker stain than you think to achieve the desired color or if it's really sealed you could use a dye stain to supplement the color. A dye stain is more like ink which would add color without muddying up the surface with pigment. It would show more of the real wood. I use this one. Mohawk Ultra Penetrating Stain It's something that should be sprayed though.
Hello,

I've recently purchased a used bedroom set for my daughter. It's what she wanted, I unfortunately don't have actual pictures yet, however some of the pieces had scratches along the furniture tops. Anyway, upon heading home I decided to experiment on one of the nightstands that appeared to have polyurethane removed section (maybe fingernail polish remover IDK). I used 120 to remove the initial poly then I moved to 200. I found that these pieces were Veneer over MDF. It's hard to see but they did a good job with it as they veneered all sides of the wood even if you remove the drawer fronts from the drawer box, they veneered the back of the drawer fronts. I used a screwdriver to scrape away and saw the MDF deep beneath.

Anyway, when I got down to bare wood (no stain) I put on the closest thing that matches the original finish ( ZAR Rosewood Oil finish). I put on one coat and within a few minutes wiped it off. It was too light, I waiting a few hours, lightly scratched it and put on another coat and wiped it off. Again too light. So i read somewhere about Gel stains being better and that you don't have to remove the existing finish with a gel stain. So I tried that and got absolutely no change in the finish.

I used some Acetone to remove as much as the original stain and residue on the surface as I could and I experimented on another area of the furniture that I had not touched. I used a paper towel and rubbed acetone on that section and I found it removed the polyurethane and beneath that surface was a wood veneer surface that looked pretty daymn similar to the newly stained surface. So I'm confused as to what to do at this point. It seems the polyurethane surface could possibly be dark or not clear on purpose. So I'd need a dark poly? Or do I need a darker stain. Not sure.

The image below represents the set that I got.
Stain is a pigment in a carrier. The pigment falls into the pore of the wood, the carrier flashes off. If you sanded a prefinished piece the likelihood is the finish is still filling the pores, which would prevent the pigment from settling there. Sanding with too fine a grit can yield the same result. I would consider toning, which is the way most production cabinets and furniture are finished today. You can use a dye stain, such as the Mohawk that Steve recommended, or an aniline dye. Aniline dye can be purchased as powder, or liquid. Some of the brand names are TransFast and TranTint. These dyes can be mixed with either water, or denatured alcohol and can be sprayed, or brushed. To make a toner the simplest way is to mix the dye with denatured alcohol. Make some shellac, the color of your choice. Canned shellac will work also. Add a small amount of the mixed dye to the shellac, and do a test piece. You can build the color with additional coats, or add and subtract the amount of dye you use. Once you have built the color you are looking for, any topcoat will work with shellac.
 
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