White patches in Minwax finishes

My sister-in law was recently repairing the finish on some doors and door moldings and ran into a problem neither of us understands.
Quoting from her email:
"[after sanding to bare wood] I then varnished it with Minwax Wood Finish that Penetrates, Stains, and Seals. I waited for about half a year. I just coated it with Minwax Polyurethane Clear Semi-gloss. While it was drying, white patches developed under it or within it. They weren't there before. It actually looked better with just the wood varnish on it, no gloss."
Presumeably to fix this the surface will need to be scraped, stripped or sanded back to bare wood and finished again, but how can this problem be prevented second time around?
--

FF

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Well for once, I probably would not blame Minwax for this one. Waiting about half a year probably was long enough for the previous surface to be contaminated with "What Ever". If you hear of problems with a finish it is normally a Minwax product that is being used. In this case a contaminated surface is probably the culprit. I agree with the thought that the surface will have to be removed, and the process started over.
Because of my experience with Miniwax stains and finishes, I suggest a better brand and finish to start with, just in case, and to try to finish the whole job ASAP. Don't wait 6 months between coats. Keep the area free of traffic and hands and contaminates.
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Leon wrote:

Leon, can you tell me again what brand of oil based stain works well? I've slept since we discussed this. My 2 cans of Bonakemi oil modified stain have gelled in the cans. It's great stuff, but I'd like to keep some oil based stain in stock that won't go bad after opened. Basically, I use a bit of oil based to color deep pores that don't accept my dark water based stains. I wouldn't use Miniwhacks again in this lifetime. I HATE that stuff. It stinks and it can cause problems with the finish. (I know; I know; I'm preaching to the choir). I'll skip the "TIA"-- <g>
dave
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I am more and more trying to get away form stains all together. But when I use them, I prefer to use Bartleys Gel stains, Zar or General Finishes stains. The Zar stains are a liquid but quite thick for a liquid stain. Almost like a cheap latex paint as far as viscosity goes. IIRC the stains that skim over also have a finish mixed in.
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Leon wrote:

thanks! Do the General Finishes stains dry quickly and have typical oil-stain viscosity? I hate to give up the quick drying feature if I switch from Bonakemi. I think they gelled BECAUSE they are so frickin' quick drying. :)
dave
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To tell you the truth, I do not recall. I can say that they do not seem to dry as fast as the Bartely gel stains. The Bartley gel stains can be lightly handeled usually within 20 minutes. Additionally I don't recall the General Finishes stains taking any longer than other stains. If you have a Woodcraft near by, they sell Bartleys and General Finishes.
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Leon wrote:

thanks, Leon. the nearest Woodcraft is lamentably 48 miles north of me.
dave
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Ahhh. a mere hop, skip , and jump away. Might be worth the trip though.
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Leon wrote:

well...maybe...but gas is $2.15 a gallon. 16 mpg. 6 gallons. $13 in gas! damn!
dave
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Yeah but for $13 you get the comfort of seeing all the brands of finishes that they sell. And, all the other cool stuff.
Now, consider that when you consider wear and tear on the vehicle, maintenance, and insurance, your vehicle costs you about 40 cents per mile that you drive it. The government allows about 35 cents per mile and that was when gas was 1/3 cheaper.
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