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Fixing a bad stain job

FrenchGuy's picture

I need help fixing a stain job gone wrong.


I built a console table out of White Ash.  My SO convinced me that it should be stained a mahogany color to match our living room furniture.  After several stain tests on scraps, it seemed that the best color was obtained by using an industrial stain made by Chemcraft.  The store was selling it in bulk and told me it was an oil stain.  However, it dried so fast that I suspect it to be an alcohol based stain.


The top of the table came out very nicely, probably because I did a superb job sanding it in the first place.  On the other hand, the legs and apron do not show a uniform color.  I only went through 80, 120 and 200 grits on the legs, whereas I went through 80, 100, 120, 150, and 220 for the tabletop.  Now, how do I fix this.  My inclination is to sand through the stain, and use the same sanding sequence for the legs and apron as I did for the top. 


As always, your insignt is much appreciated.




SteveSchoene's picture

(post #106952, reply #1 of 4)

Skipping a grit shouldn't cause any problem if you sanded off the scratches left by the coarser grit. 

I don't know the Chemcraft product line, but I suspect you may have a lacquer based stain, that would fall under the oil stain rubric, and yet be fast drying. Does it smell right for that?  If it is lacquer based, then you may be able to smooth and/or remove stain by rubbing with lacquer thinner, since lacquer can be redissolved with its own solvent after it has dried.  

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

FrenchGuy's picture

(post #106952, reply #2 of 4)



Thanks for the response.  I definitely need to test that product to find out what it is made of.  I would be extremely surprised if it were lacquer, as it does not have the characteristic smell.  It is not water based, because it did not raise the grain, and it was a bitch to get the stains off my hands afterwards.  It melted latex gloves, so it definitely contains some harsh chemicals.  It dried so fast that it is definitely not oil based.

Anyways, as I was not getting a response to my post, I grabbed the sander and sanded through the finish.  It took me three hours to remove everything and go through all the grits again.  After sending, the wood was a bit darker than normal, but since I was going to restain, it was not an issue.  This time around, I used Old Masters penetrating stain, an oil based product.  The color came out very nice and even. The project is salvaged.

If I find out what the product contains, I will post it.






Pondfish's picture

(post #106952, reply #3 of 4)

Steve's advice is something to consider.  The stain may be meant for lacquer applications, but be in an acetone solvent.  Acetone dries very quickly and smells a lot different than MEK.  Fortunately, acetone is not nearly as toxic-nasty as MEK.  These stains are meant to be sprayed with HVLP systems.  Wiping them on is really tough and likely to give you lousy results.

Ask your SO if the stain smells like nail polish remover.  If so, it's an acetone based stain and the above caveats apply. 

Bon chance.

Recommending the use of "Hide Signatures" option under "My Preferences" since 2005
Recommending the use of "Hide Signatures" option under "My Preferences" since 2005
FrenchGuy's picture

(post #106952, reply #4 of 4)

Definitely not acetone based.  Smell is pretty neutral, which is why I believe it to be Methyl Hydrate, which is almost odorless.  But you are probably right, that it is meant to be sprayed on.  There is just no way that you can wipe the stuff on and do a decent job.  I went to the Chemcraft website, and there is no info about the specific product.

So, I am throwing out the rest.  This will not happen to me again.