I have an oak table that I have been "trying" finish.
Essentially its the table from hell...i managed to get all the stains
out (water, ink etc) but I can not get a finish to stick! All chems.
have been neutralized etc.
I stained and COMPLETELY dried (at least I think??). Put a top coat of
shellac....dried and began to sand with 220...all the shellac came off
and so did the stain!!????
This was not my first issue...the first sign of a problem was my first
coats of stain...I stained/and sanded with 320...again the stain came
off...came off like you were sanding paint. The surface had been sanded
with 80 but nothing held.
On my last go round (shellac and stain coming up) I got frustrated and
grabbed a can of Polyshade Mahogonny...and "slapped" it on (not
smart..but i was ticked!) The result was good color but streaky in some
parts (again, ticked I brushed out certain areas with mineral spirts to
try to even the color) needless to say I have uneven areas of uneven
It's in the process of drying from my first "uneven coat"...what do I
do!!??? Dry, sand and recoat..will this even up the color and finish.
Or do I drop back and punt....strip the whole thing and start from
www.homesteadfinishing.com has a forum for refinishing & restoration,
or a name close to that, and there is www.refinishwizard.com for
another forum that might be helpful. PLEASE report back on
re-stripping is my plan of attack...but what then???...nothing is
penetrating (stain) or sticking (stain or shellac)...in fact its been
well over 12 hours since i polyshaded and (while i am guessing its not
completely dry..it scrapes off easily with the finger nail
this will be my third stain attempt...i have never had this problem..i
have worked with oak on numerous oaccasions...
i don't have alcohol stains nor are they available in my area...so my
only other thought was strip it aa down...clean iot all up and then hit
with danish oil
I think I have this right:
Wipe or brush on oil based stain.
Wait 15 minutes
Wipe off with nice non-shedding cloth.
Wait 8 or 12 hours.
BUT the stain should have a temperature and humidity range on the can. You
can do the above steps over and over but if you are working in a very
confined space so the excess (whatever it is) can't evaporate or the temp
is too low or the humidity too high it isn't doing to dry and when you put
the next whatever you want on top it will either stay wet or get gummy or
get up and leave home.
If the stain isn't dark enough you can do the above steps all over again.
In my house, right now, in Virginia I've been staining and applying
polyurethane (both oil based) and have had to put a heater in the kitchen
(where I apply stain and poly) and in the dining room where I put things to
finish drying. I tried this earlier without the heaters and had to remove
everything with turps and start over. Oops, also keep the range fan on all
the time, too.
Shellac is wierd and can't be used with the urethanes unless you use a
de-waxed shellac that you buy especially from a mail order company and mix
up yourself. There are internet descriptions for de-waxing shellac but I
don't have time to test something like that now. Zinsser makes"SealCoat"
that is unwaxed shellac in a can but I can't find it at Lowe's or HD and
will try to order some from a catalog when I have time. If you are short
of time, too, forget the shellac.
If you got two layers of stain down and dried you can apply a polyurethane
oil-type finish on top. You aren't supposed to sand between coats of stain
but you are supposed to sand between coats of finish. 220 seems to be the
recommended paper. I keep the heaters on until I'm done the whole
business, except for night time. I give each coat of finish a good 8 hours
to dry, then sand, then wipe down, then re-coat.
Polyshade sounds frightening to me.
I have considered that this maybe a temp/humidity moisture issue. I am
working in the basement ..NY. The basement is dry but it is clamy and
the temp gets down to 50. I would think that stain should have adhered
after 24 hours...but also know this not an exact science.
Polyshade is an "intersting" product....its colored poly..like a
transluscent paint and it doesn't absorb into the wood.
I think I need to take a few steps back and start from scratch...and
above all be patient.
But this the last time I put a finish on it...if it doesn't work...i
won't have to worry about turning up the heat becuase the table will be
fuel : )
So tonights agenda is to go home and emmerse my self in chemical
stripper..neutralize and walk away for a day ..i am "supposed" to have
this done by Christmas...
I have the impression that it's a used table. Any possibility that someone
doused it in silicone oil or grease at some point? If so, _nothing_ is
going to stick to it (unless you want to get off into the esoteric art of
adhesive bonding of silicone).
Considering that it seems to be behaving like Teflon, have you considered
just leaving it unfinished?
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
It is a "used", "antique" table that was lacking any finish and had
been well abused. I have seen worse stains and was able to remove 90%
of them without much effort.
Now with that said there is one stain which does fit into an oil or
grease. It smells of wax but it is isolated area and does not cover the
table. The whole piece has been pain...structurally the wood is in
great condition and the stains did come up ..but something is
preventing a stain.
It is either my lack of patients...or as you describe something much
more sinster (my guess is a combination of both).
The orginal piece was stained a red oak (there are remainders of the
stain bottomside). After stripping, cleaning, neutralization and drying
the wood responded as normal (raised grain etc). I sanded with 60,
cleaned and applied a light coat of stain. As it dried I noticed
numerous tiny (pin) dark red puddles forming. They were as if someone
took a brush loaded with stain and "flicked" it at the stop of the
table. I immediately assumed that they were just excess stain and would
remove upon rub and that's exactly what i did. However, more formed in
different areas..wipe and more time past and they would form again ..in
The wood is deeply impregnated with something and whatever it is..it
doesn't like mineral spirits (stain base)??
(I applied straight MS to the bare wood and experienced the same
So, last night i stripped again...and decided that i would spend this
evening concetrating on wood prep.
I did try a aerosol product sold at Lowes called Stain Stripper (i am
old school, bleach, oxcylic acid, peroxide etc.) most new fangled stuff
don't do snap.
However, this did something...on a visually clean/stain free area,
treated, bleached, raised grain, dry area...it brought up something
It works fast .. Plus, it worked on that grease/oil stain (as described
above).....brown red oozed from the spot. The wood still "feels"
different in that area (you can't stick your nail into it as you can
in the surrounding areas...it also feels slightly raised, smooth,
dense) but it did make it better.
My guess there is something deep in the wood (in the spot and thru out
the piece maybe oil...grease or stain???) and i need to warm up my work
area and slow down! : )
Over the weekend, I took my time and carefully prep the wood (solid
oak). Once everything was good and driy I used 60-80 instead of my
usual 100-120. Took my time and checked my work.
Plus I was able to heat up the basement to close to 70...while it
didn't feel all that "warm" it did feel less damp. I allowed the piece
to warm and applied my first light coat of stain (fresh can) and it
went down without issue nice and even...good color..no pin puddles. I
rubbed it out after 20 and let it stand for over 12 hours (keeping
reasonably warm). I raised the temp and applied/rubbed my second coat
without any problem. Again, I am giving it extra time to dry.
This evening, I will heat the place up again and make sure everything
is dry and apply my first coat of shellac.
I believe what I orginally suspected is true...prep and heat/moisture
issue. I also suspect that despite the traditional methods...that there
was something I didn't get out of the wood (stain? moisture? ick?). The
only reason I say this is..that despite how clean and stripped the wood
was the Stain Stripper did draw something from the wood.
Bottomline..I needed to take more time and not take drying time, heat
and moisture for granted. Common sense goes out the window when you get
in a hurry. I should have considered the issues of moisture and temp
more closely. Not only in the working environment, but drying times
after oxylic acid washes etc. If the piece was already "damp" (stored
in a "dry" shed : ) then I add more in the way of washes etc...its
going to need extra time in "warm" dry enviroment.
Hopefully problems solved...shellac tonight..rub it out and see what
happens : )
First, I'd suggest not using the polyshade. The stain in it is very
unmanageable. The stain builds up with each coat and if it
runs, you have to sand if all off and start over.
You might want to try a dye instead of the stain. It sounds like
there aren't any wood pores for the stain to imbed. Also, the
shellac you used may have wax in it. That gets in the pores
and it won't take a stain either.
Are you sure the top isn't laminate or such? Is the problem just
the top? Have you tried to do a small section underneath the
For what it's worth,
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