I don't stain things very often...maybe once a year, and I have never
had any trouble before this.
I used some Minwax Wood Finish stain on a piece of pine. I let it sit,
as per the instructions, for 15 minutes and then wiped it off. I left
it to dry in a room with a heater, well over 70 degrees.
24 hours later I applied a second coat, which I left on for about 10
minutes. When I went to wipe it off, I found that it was very sticky
and hard to wipe. I got off what I could and then left it in the room,
heater on, for 3 days. I checked it daily and it was always a bit
After 3 days I decided it was dry enough (it's just a shelf) to apply
some wipe-on poly. As I applied the poly, the rag got darker and
darker as it picked up the stain. When the first coat of poly dried
and I applied the second, there was hardly any stain on the rag.
Why was the second coat of stain so hard to wipe off and why would it
take over three days and a coat of poly to remove the stickiness from
Did you apply the stain to bare wood? No pre treatment of any kind?
How thick did you put the first coat on?
On some woods it is much better to put on several coat thin.
Was it humid in the room, this can also slow the drying process.
Pine, spruce, and some other softwoods have a sap that dissolves in
solvent of your stain, and the solvent + resin mixture doesn't dry
as fast as the solvent alone would.
There are preconditioner schemes (using linseed oil if stain is next,
shellac under nonpenetrating finish) that will help, but the wood is
opposed to you on this kind of finish. It might be better to use a
water-borne stain/dye, and/or a sealer coat of shellac before you put
on the varnish.
I've had good luck with stains on this kind of wood, but I was
3 minutes before wipeoff, not 15, and I used the conditioner (or
boiled linseed oil/ thinner, 50:50). My definition of 'good luck' is
the result wasn't ugly, but no two boards looked similar either...
Was it just a stain or a stain finish? If it is a stain finish the first
coat will seal the surface and the second coat will not penetrate but it
will stay on the surface and not dry as quickly as the first coat. IIRC
Polyshades is a stain with a finish, if you used that.
On Wed, 5 Mar 2008 12:37:02 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
I've had a comparable problem refinishing some chair legs. I used
Minwax dark walnut stain and it just wouldn't dry. Here's what
I foundout in my google searches:
These stains are starting to use a new formula to meet some
California EPA standard. Instead of having multiple versions
of the same thing, they have gone to the Calif. EPA standard
everywhere. This new formula takes a lot longer to dry.
There was a recent article in Wood Magazine (?) or other
woodworking mag showing how the stain was staying wet
longer and coming off during top coating. The causes
there were: temperature and humidity.
In my case, I was staining in the garage which was kept
above 50 degrees F (I'm in North Carolina, Charlotte
area). The humidity was pretty low during this time
of the year: less than 30%. The stain didn't dry for
I finally brought the chairs inside that was above 65 degrees.
The chairs dried over night but didn't with a second coat of
stain: dark walnut on, I think, alder.
I also think that, although I stripped and sanded to bare
wood on the chair legs, the wood still retained some of the
finishing and wouldn't let the stain fully absorb into the
The final solution was one of the wife's hair dryers. I put it
on low and had it flow over the chair legs and the stain
dried enough to work with in about 4 hours.
Hope this helps,
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