OK, I have a shelf that my dad made a long time ago and I've decided I
want to change the stain color. I first tried a stain called
PolyShades directly over the old stain and that didn't look good at
all. So, I scraped all of the old stain off and started over. We'll,
I didn't do a very good job of sanding after I scraped and so when I
added my new stain, it didn't look good at all.
My question is, can I just sand over the stain I just applied without
having to strip or scrape the stain off? Or do I have to strip it
first and then sand again?
The typical way to finish wood is to put stain IN the wood .. you wipe
or brush it on, it sinks into the wood. Then a clear protective coat of
varnish or lacquer goes on to keep anything else from soaking into the
wood. So, if you want the wood a different color, you need to strip or
sand off both the clear coat and the stain. Only way to get all of the
stain out is to sand it away. Stripper will remove the clear coat and
most of the stain. When you sanded, it sounds like you still had some
clear coat on part of the wood, which would keep the second stain from
soaking in evenly. If you do a hack job of sanding, you are likely to
ruin the shelf. Safer to get some stripper, follow the label
instructions to remove the old finish. Try to find out what kind of
wood you are working with, as soft wood will soak in more stain than
harder woods. Plain oak or maple might be beautiful without stain, and
just a clear coat. Good luck.
Is this just a simple shelf, or something more complicated?
If the first, I wonder if it is worth the effort this would take.
If the second, it is worth it more, but will also take even more
Maybe painting it would be compromise idea. Perhaps some shade of
I have a stepstool my grampa made. It was wider than the legs and if
you stood outside the legs, it would tip over. I used it like that
for years, but eventually decided to fix it and kept cutting parts off
the ends. It still isn't perfect but would look funny if I cut off
any more. So I've gone back to trying to make sure I stand in the
middle. Fortunately it was already painted glossy white, so I don't
have the issue you have.
Use a good quality stripper (Zip Strip) brush it on thick, but do not
over brush too much. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so and keep any
drying areas wet with more stripper. Scrap off the finish and
stripper with a putty knife and buff right away with the grain with #2
or 3 steel wool until you start getting dust. If any finish is left
repeat the steps again. Use a rag and apply some laquer thinner on
the wood and buff again with the steel wool until you get dust again.
Sand the wood until the color is consistant. Use 120 grit and finish
with 220 grit. Apply stain as desired, let dry and spray with a can
of laquer thinner. It will take several coats to get a great finish,
sand lightly between coats with 220 or finer. After finish coat buff
with 000 steel wool and add a coat of wax (not Pledge type stuff, but
real furniture wax or carnuba). Good luck, as this is a more time
consuming way, but the results will last for many years and it is done
Thanks for all your replies!
Actually there is no clear coat or anything, its only the stain that I
have added. The reason the sanding doesn't look good is because i
went against the grain and it made scratches in the wood. I couldn't
see the scratches until I added the stain and now the scrates are
darker than everything else.
Also there are two peices of the shelf made out of a different kind of
wood than the rest of the shelf and the stain looks much, much darker
on those peices, what should I do about that? I've heard that a wood
conditioner might help? Anyone know about wood conditioners?
Can you post a picture on the internet or email me one? Most sanding
with the grain can get the scratches out. It will take a bit of elbow
grease however. A darker stain can make the differnet woods match ok
and you and more stain after the first coat dries and make the lighter
woods darker. You can also add color in between coats of lacquer, but
only if you are spraying on the finish.
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