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I am refinishing a small side table that was painted many times. I thought I had sufficiently stripped and sanded the piece but when I stained it white paint specs unfortunately show (difficult to see in the picture).

Is there any way to solve this without starting over again?

I still have other parts of the table to stain. Should I seal first with diluted shellac before staining?

Lastly the wood certainly looks like oak but it is very light compared to what oak usually feels like. Could this be something different?

Thanks.

Gary
 

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Doesn't look quite right to me to be oak, either red or white.

The red oaks, ashes and hickories have very large, open pores (water-transporting vessels). I'll say that the original paint has sucked down into those by capillary action. The puzzle is that the paint penetration won't be even/uniform depth. This is likely to happen even in woods that are diffuse-porous and much smaller diameter vessels, like birch.
You're stuck with it. You could sand it down to the legs before you got it all. I'm in the same boat = I have a little oval coffee(?) table with some brown gunk finish. We slopped it up with methyl hydrate and washed it all off. Now I have a beautiful, solid mahogany table with little freckles.
 

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Are u sure it's paint??? Could be quarter sawn white oak and those would be the rays that quarter sawn white oak shows...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Doesn't look quite right to me to be oak, either red or white.

The red oaks, ashes and hickories have very large, open pores (water-transporting vessels). I'll say that the original paint has sucked down into those by capillary action. The puzzle is that the paint penetration won't be even/uniform depth. This is likely to happen even in woods that are diffuse-porous and much smaller diameter vessels, like birch.
You're stuck with it. You could sand it down to the legs before you got it all. I'm in the same boat = I have a little oval coffee(?) table with some brown gunk finish. We slopped it up with methyl hydrate and washed it all off. Now I have a beautiful, solid mahogany table with little freckles.
Thanks for the feedback. Of couse being stuck with it was my least favorite thing to hear. But the freckles comment might just make this okay. It's for a customer so I hope she has a sense of humor.

Gary
 

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Are u sure it's paint??? Could be quarter sawn white oak and those would be the rays that quarter sawn white oak shows...
I wish this was a simple quarter sawn oak issue but alas it is not. Thanks.

Gary
 

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It looks like Red Oak to me. Chemical strippers can only get so much. Once you have done that, you can get some of the deeper particles with a wet wash with lacquer thinner, or acetone. Other than that you have whatever is left.










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Cabinetman I did not do a wet wash which might have helped. Paint sure is a problem on an old antique.

Gary
 

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It looks like paint in the grain to me. The only feasible method of getting rid of it is to strip it again. I don't know if you used a brass brush on it when you stripped it before but that would help. It would also help to rinse the wood with a power washer. I don't attempt to strip painted furniture to be stained without rinsing with a power washer. It will lift the paint out of places like that you could never do by hand. If you use a power washer just be sure it's one that is less than 1500 psi. With pressure that low you can hold parts in your hand and wash them so it doesn't hurt the wood.
 

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It looks like paint in the grain to me. The only feasible method of getting rid of it is to strip it again. I don't know if you used a brass brush on it when you stripped it before but that would help. It would also help to rinse the wood with a power washer. I don't attempt to strip painted furniture to be stained without rinsing with a power washer. It will lift the paint out of places like that you could never do by hand. If you use a power washer just be sure it's one that is less than 1500 psi. With pressure that low you can hold parts in your hand and wash them so it doesn't hurt the wood.
Steve it definitely is paint in the grain. I did the brass brush step and it did help. Unfortunately I live far enough north (in Canada just north of the upper peninsula of Michigan) that power washing activities are now done till the spring thaw. Thanks.

Gary
 

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Steve it definitely is paint in the grain. I did the brass brush step and it did help. Unfortunately I live far enough north (in Canada just north of the upper peninsula of Michigan) that power washing activities are now done till the spring thaw. Thanks.

Gary
If that is the case it would help to use the brass brush with the solvent when you are rinsing.

As far north as you are I don't know how you manage to refinish at all. I'm in Texas and I've suspended refinishing altogether until spring. That may also be part of the problem with the paint sticking in the grain. Even very strong professional removers don't do well at all below 70 degrees.
 
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