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Thread: Shiny stain areas

  1. #1
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    Shiny stain areas

    Hi guys an gals, im a reborn newbie here.Took carpentry for 4 yrs in vocational school.Some stuff is still in the brain some isnt...

    I have two end tables that I built out of Poplar.I have one coat of red mahogany stain on it. I didnt wipe off the stain as indicated because it wasnt very thick (no puddle per se). Plus when you wipe it seems like you loose 75% of the color. So I had it in a garage of 40 degrees for one day an in house for 2 days 70 degrees. On the top theres a couple of shiny spots. Do I need to put another coat on the top? Or can I polyurethane it over that and the shine will just be absorbed by the shine of the poly?


    PS I used minwax gel stain on it at first and had to sand it off. I will never use it again. Too much gelling and jam kind of look to it. Left little specs of gel balls on it too. I thought it was mixed thorughly but maybe not.I read an opinion about it on epinions the contractor hated it also.


    Thanks

  2. #2
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    First of all, are you using the gel stain when it's 40 degrees? It may be very stiff. Second, if you're getting "little balls" of it, that sounds like it has already started to cure in the can. You mixed it? Was there a hard layer on the top of the can that you tried to mix in. That would leave little pieces in the stuff that would make "little balls." Third, you shouldn't have to mix gel stain. Just brush it or wipe it on the way it comes from the can with a lint-free rag, and not too thick.

    About the shiny spots on the poplar, did you sand thoroughly with 180 to 220 grit before you stained? Or did you sand with a lot finer grit? If so, parts of the wood may be glazed or too smooth to absorb the stain. I would sand the whole thing again with 180-grit sandpaper and restain. I think that if you just put on the poly, the spots might show through, unless you put on 10 coats so that it looked like plastic.

    Don't worry about wiping off 75% of the stain. Just put on a coat, wait a few minutes, and wipe. Then after 8 hours or so, wipe on another coat. Repeat again if necessary until you get the tone you want. You might also want to try aniline dyes. With some experimentation of the wood you are using (cut-off scraps, of course), you can control the color real well.

  3. #3
    I would be sure you have the look you want before you poly. I take shine off and smooth appearance with some fine steel wool or a synthetic wool. Pre-sealing wood like pine oak and poplar will also smoothout color differences when you stain but you will ned more coats to achieve a darker color as the sealer prevents absorbtion.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  4. #4
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    I sanded with 120 then 220 palm sander.I guess I will steel wool shiny spots and then recoat.Thanks for advice.Yes it was between 40-50 degrees tops in garage. Next time I will use the wipe an restain procedure.Its alot of work to restain when theres alot of uprights an crossmembers but this wouldnt be the time to chince.
    Thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spear
    First of all, are you using the gel stain when it's 40 degrees? It may be very stiff. Second, if you're getting "little balls" of it, that sounds like it has already started to cure in the can. You mixed it? Was there a hard layer on the top of the can that you tried to mix in. That would leave little pieces in the stuff that would make "little balls." Third, you shouldn't have to mix gel stain. Just brush it or wipe it on the way it comes from the can with a lint-free rag, and not too thick.

    About the shiny spots on the poplar, did you sand thoroughly with 180 to 220 grit before you stained? Or did you sand with a lot finer grit? If so, parts of the wood may be glazed or too smooth to absorb the stain. I would sand the whole thing again with 180-grit sandpaper and restain. I think that if you just put on the poly, the spots might show through, unless you put on 10 coats so that it looked like plastic.

    Don't worry about wiping off 75% of the stain. Just put on a coat, wait a few minutes, and wipe. Then after 8 hours or so, wipe on another coat. Repeat again if necessary until you get the tone you want. You might also want to try aniline dyes. With some experimentation of the wood you are using (cut-off scraps, of course), you can control the color real well.

  5. #5
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    I just thought of something else. If you used gel stain on that same piece and then sanded it off, some of the gel may have been absorbed deeper into the wood in some spots. Since the gel might act like a varnish or sealer, the shiny spots may indicate that there is a residue there of the gel that shows up when you put the other stain on. I understand what you mean about about all the work to stain and restain furniture. For me the finishing is often the most time-consuming part of the job if I really want the piece to look good. That's why I usually use wood that I like the natural color of and just oil or varnish it without staining or dying. Last year I made a pair of bookends for my daughter out of some dark, highly figured poplar. She likes the so-called cherry color (very dark) that big furniture makers like to put on their stuff. I used a spit coat of garnet shellac followed by a mixture of red and brown mahogany stains. It came out "cherry." Good luck on your work. Post a picture when you're finished.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, I steelwooled (grade 0000)it, it dulled it down a bit.I will put another coat on an wipe it down this time.Yes the gel stain residue is/was an issue.I put it on one coat on one and two coats on another.Second coat was the worst so i sanded the double coat down (single coat on was very faint) and stained it on tops only on both with regular stain and the residue of gel stain was showing through so i sanded it down again. (theres almost nothing elft of the tables LOL).There nice sturdy table though.
    I did learn than building custom furniture is very expensive! I think the wood of two tables from home depot out of poplar was $230.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spear
    I just thought of something else. If you used gel stain on that same piece and then sanded it off, some of the gel may have been absorbed deeper into the wood in some spots. Since the gel might act like a varnish or sealer, the shiny spots may indicate that there is a residue there of the gel that shows up when you put the other stain on. I understand what you mean about about all the work to stain and restain furniture. For me the finishing is often the most time-consuming part of the job if I really want the piece to look good. That's why I usually use wood that I like the natural color of and just oil or varnish it without staining or dying. Last year I made a pair of bookends for my daughter out of some dark, highly figured poplar. She likes the so-called cherry color (very dark) that big furniture makers like to put on their stuff. I used a spit coat of garnet shellac followed by a mixture of red and brown mahogany stains. It came out "cherry." Good luck on your work. Post a picture when you're finished.

  7. #7
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    I don't know where you live, but here in Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire there are good wood stores (lumberyard has a different connotation for me) that have poplar, maple, and oak--and a lot of other woods-- for a lot cheaper prices than Home Depot. Maybe it's the same for you if you look around.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spear
    I don't know where you live, but here in Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire there are good wood stores (lumberyard has a different connotation for me) that have poplar, maple, and oak--and a lot of other woods-- for a lot cheaper prices than Home Depot. Maybe it's the same for you if you look around.
    Yeah I will try lumberyars.We have a few around.Im outside seattle. I lived in SE Mass for 21 years.New Bedford area (fairhaven)

  9. #9
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    Greeting all.... my inaugural post here at Sawmill.

    Craig.......... Been woodworking for many years and could never seem to get good stain results using gels so I stuck to the dyes and penetrating types. Recently I was in Woodcraft and grabbed a can of General's Gel Topcoat and noticed that they recommended a sanding schedule of 120 and no finer than 150. I have always used a schedule of 220 like you before finishing and could never achieve good results with gels. I did as per instructions, finishing up with 150 grit and got great results so this was surely a lesson learned. The rougher surface definitely allowed more stain adhesion. You might want to try it yourself.

  10. #10
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    I posted pics of tables on general board.Under Poplar end tables.They came out nice.
    Thanks for your help.

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