I've recently tried to stain some wood mouldings around the doors and
windows in my kitchen. They're pine so I did a little research and found
that people recommended gel stains to deal with the pine which is apparently
blotchy with other types of stains.
I filled in all the nail heads and sanded down the putty and stained. It
turns out that on most of the wood everything was fine. However, on those
areas where I had sanded the putty over the nail heads the entire sanded
area came out blotchy.
Thankfully, I only did the one door frame. I have two questions...
1) Will sanding and application of another coat of the gel stain even out
those blotchy areas on the door I've started?
2) Is there some product (I saw wood conditioner in the store) that I
should apply before I try to stain the 2 other doors and 2 other windows to
make sure this doesn't happen again?
Thanks for your help.
firstname.lastname@example.org (remove XXX to reply directly)
You didn't really give enough detail, so it is hard to be sure what is going
The stain affected the wood differently where you than where you didn't
sand; it got blotchy where you sanded and didn't elsewhere. Is that correct?
Is this new material or old pieces that have already been finished?
If it is new material, you probably didn't use fine enough sandpaper. Try
going down to 320 or so, without skipping any grades.
If it is old material, you sanded the old finish off, and you don't have
much of a chance getting it to match. Either sand everything, or don't sand
at all. That will require a little more care in using the filler, but can
In my experience I've found that the blotchy area remains. I've found I
can use acrylic paint, carefully matching colors and paint "grain" on small
Nice thing is that you can quickly wipe the acrylic off if you don't like
the way it looks. If you like it, varnish will seal the stuff up and give
both the paint and the stain the same gloss/matte/medium shine.
This seems to be the prime recommentation for staining pine.
Sanding and the degree sanded too (final grit) greatly affects how stain
takes. This is especially true of pigment stains, which gel stain is,
that depend on such things as pores and sanding scratches to catch and
hold the pigment.
If you are going to sand you have to sand the whole thing to the same
degree and a wood conditioner isn't going to help you if you have deep
sanding scratches in a bunch of small areas around the trim.
You may be able to accomplish the task by being very careful to only
fill the nail holes with no filler spilling out then sanding the filler
VERY lightly with a VERY fine grit sand paper.
It is the application of the putty that has caused the problem. Just
enough became embedded in the surrounding surface that it prevented an even
uptake of the stain. All that it takes is a very small amount that you
couldn't see even after sanding.
Sanding and another application of the stain might work. A gel stain
tends not to penetrate very far into the wood so a sanding might do it for
With gel stains, prestain or "wood conditioners" are not usually needed
but they shouldn't hurt. Just make sure you use one compatible with your
In the future, tape over the area where you plan to drive the nail.
Drive the nail through the tape. Putty. Remove the tape. Let dry and
sand. The tape prevents the wood surface from excess putty.
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