Several weeks ago I asked for advice on a remedy for a really bad stain job.
I had stained a larch or alder table -- light, relatively soft wood -- with
Minwax 211 Provincial "Wood Finish", which really appears to be thin stain,
and very dark in this case. Before staining, I used Minwax Stain
Conditioner. The results still wake me up at night, cause it was REALLY
After sanding out the stain -- no small task, for those wondering -- I
started over. On the advice of several posters, I used a seal and stain
approach. Shellac, followed by gel stain. I was not familiar with either
product, but the rec usually knows best.
I used a 1/2# cut of shellac, applied plenty wet. The wood absorbed a lot
of this thin mixture; this raised the grain a bit. Still, it dried nicely,
and then I sanded smooth with 180 grit. Next came dark Minwax Gel Stain --
up till now, I was a gel stain virgin. Wiped on with a rag, set for a
minute or two, wiped clean with a fresh rag. Wait overnight, another coat
of gel and I was a much happier man. One coat of semigloss poly is already
dry (purists, let your breath out now -- it is after all, a kitchen table)
and one more to go.
It looks great.
Many thanks to those who replied -- it saved me a ton of aggravation, and
your help was greatly appreciated. Without the advice, I'm not sure I would
have had the confidence to use the new-to-me techniques.