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Hey everyone. New to the forum here. :) I have a project I'm working on finishing using Zar stain - oil based Moorish teak. I applied it, let it sit for Ten minutes and wiped off the excess. The resulted color was prefect. I let it dry overnight, about 12 hours. I checked the stain and it was completely dry. This morning I started applying the poly - Varathane oil based satin - with a foam brush. Very quickly I noticed that whenever I set the brush down that a line would appear. I use a light hand when applying the poly but the stain was rubbing off while applying causing lines, blotches, streaks and light spots. I couldn't correct the blemishes and I ended up wiping off the poly , with most of the stain coming off with it, so refinishing would be easier. Not a huge deal as this piece was just a flat surface. It's almost like the poly had a solvent affect on the stain. Any idea what went on here? Any suggestions to prevent this?

Thanks.

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What are you staining, solid wood, plywood, something else? Dry to the touch doesn't mean it's dry. The same solvents are used in the stain and poly. If you didn't completely wipe off all the excess, the solvent in the poly can activate the partially cured stain that was left on top. Low temperatures can extend the drying time beyond overnight. If you left the stain on for more than a few minutes it will be difficult to completely wipe off. Sounds like too much stain left on the surface and incomplete curing.
 

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It's good you found out now. You should never let a stain set for 10 minutes and wipe it off. The stain has dried on the surface and the solvents in the poly is wiping off what is on the surface. Had this not happened the poly would have bonded to the stain on the surface instead of the wood and in a couple weeks or months the finish would start pealing off. From the point you are at now I would wash the project down with lacquer thinner and remove all the stain left on the surface. If it isn't dark enough then you can suppliment the color with a dye stain and then procede with the poly.
 

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Old School
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What are you staining, solid wood, plywood, something else? Dry to the touch doesn't mean it's dry. The same solvents are used in the stain and poly. If you didn't completely wipe off all the excess, the solvent in the poly can activate the partially cured stain that was left on top. Low temperatures can extend the drying time beyond overnight. If you left the stain on for more than a few minutes it will be difficult to completely wipe off. Sounds like too much stain left on the surface and incomplete curing.
+1. :yes:




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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies everyone. Too much stain left on the surface seems like the most logical solution. However, when I wiped it off I wiped off all I could with a clean rag until nothing more could be removed. Even on the under side of the drawer I wiped it off fairly quickly - about half the time drying - and the color is about the same. I didnt touch those piece with poly yet.

I just tried to remove the excess with mineral spirits on the bottom of the piece that got messed up. This didnt work very well either. It removed some, yes, but not as much as was removed from the top and very unevenly. It looks terrible and has to be sanded now as well. Eh, Im fine experimenting with that piece since it is going to sanded down anyways and its just a flat piece. Washing the rest of the project with a solvent would result in the whole project being sanded down, judging on how that peice looked. The project is a hallway table made with oak that Im working on here. So, Im still kinda stuck here.

Thanks again for your help. I appreciate it. Finishing is definitely my weak point.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Too much stain left on the surface seems like the most logical solution. However, when I wiped it off I wiped off all I could with a clean rag until nothing more could be removed. Even on the under side of the drawer I wiped it off fairly quickly - about half the time drying - and the color is about the same. I didnt touch those piece with poly yet.

I just tried to remove the excess with mineral spirits on the bottom of the piece that got messed up. This didnt work very well either. It removed some, yes, but not as much as was removed from the top and very unevenly. It looks terrible and has to be sanded now as well. Eh, Im fine experimenting with that piece since it is going to sanded down anyways and its just a flat piece. Washing the rest of the project with a solvent would result in the whole project being sanded down, judging on how that peice looked. The project is a hallway table made with oak that Im working on here. So, Im still kinda stuck here.

Thanks again for your help. I appreciate it. Finishing is definitely my weak point.

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At the time when you were working on it you probably could have got the excess off with mineral spirits but after a couple of hours it takes a stronger solvent like lacquer thinner or acetone.
 

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Too much stain left on the surface seems like the most logical solution. However, when I wiped it off I wiped off all I could with a clean rag until nothing more could be removed. Even on the under side of the drawer I wiped it off fairly quickly - about half the time drying - and the color is about the same. I didnt touch those piece with poly yet.

I just tried to remove the excess with mineral spirits on the bottom of the piece that got messed up. This didnt work very well either. It removed some, yes, but not as much as was removed from the top and very unevenly. It looks terrible and has to be sanded now as well. Eh, Im fine experimenting with that piece since it is going to sanded down anyways and its just a flat piece. Washing the rest of the project with a solvent would result in the whole project being sanded down, judging on how that peice looked. The project is a hallway table made with oak that Im working on here. So, Im still kinda stuck here.

Thanks again for your help. I appreciate it. Finishing is definitely my weak point.

Sent from my Transformer TF101 using Tapatalk
At this point I would just let it completely cure, and then work from there.




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Discussion Starter #9
Ok.Thanks for the help. After it fully cures would it be fine to put the poly on it then our do you think there will still be a problem with the poly flaking off?

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Ok.Thanks for the help. After it fully cures would it be fine to put the poly on it then our do you think there will still be a problem with the poly flaking off?

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An oil stain isn't like gel stain or paint. The binder in it isn't sufficent to adhere properly to surface of the wood. It's just suppose to hold the pigment together until you apply it to the wood. It doesn't matter how long it dries, the poly will adhere to the stain instead of the wood and peal off.
 

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An oil stain isn't like gel stain or paint. The binder in it isn't sufficent to adhere properly to surface of the wood. It's just suppose to hold the pigment together until you apply it to the wood. It doesn't matter how long it dries, the poly will adhere to the stain instead of the wood and peal off.
So, are you saying that oil base polyurethane will not adhere to wood that has been stained with an oil base stain, and peel off?






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So, are you saying that oil base polyurethane will not adhere to wood that has been stained with an oil base stain, and peel off?










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No, not at all. I'm saying an oil based stain not properly wiped off leaving a film on the surface will cause the poly or any other finish to peal off taking the stain with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So before I posted here I emailed the company (UGL) asking about the same question. In a follow up email I also asked about the bubbling/flaking issue that may occur. The person that responded is from their lab and doesnt think that to be an issue as long as the stain is cured long enough. Her response:

As long as the stain has fully cured, the polyurethane will adhere with no problems. The only time you would want to be concerned is if you over applied the polyurethane or put on several coats. That will make the coating too soft and will be prone to bubbling, flaking and marring. The stain is recommended to be applied in the wipe-on/wipe-off method, but a lot of customers will apply it like paint with a brush. It will dry very dark, but will take longer to dry. The drying is the only downside to the stain, and again it will depend upon the thickness and temperature/humidity of the room. If you give longer dry time there should not be an issue.
 

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I agree with the email. In my experience 12 hours is nowhere near long enough to let an oil based stain dry. I always err on the side of caution and give it 48 to 72 hours before I attempt to mess with it.
 

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I have, in some instances where I really needed a stain darker than the wood wanted to absorb, laid it on heavy, and let it completely dry for a couple days. Then shot it with satin poly. I have seen that job periodically over the years and there has never been any problem with the poly peeling, cracking, or bubbling. Let it dry thoroughly and you should not have a problem with the poly adhering, in my experience.
 
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