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How to fix dyed and sealed raised grain

Sean_Thompson's picture

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I am building a wine cabinet using birch veneer plywood. I raised the grain and resanded (enough, I thought). I used an aniline dye to change the color to a deep reddish brown, applied a coat of tung oil/urethane and then two coats of polyurethane. The problem that I have is that the grain is still fairly rough. I lightly (again, I thought)sanded a piece and promptly cut right through the dye. My question is this: Is there a way to achieve a smooth finish without sanding down to below the dye and starting this finish process all over again?

Wm_Tuggle's picture

(post #110146, reply #1 of 5)

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Sean,

Next time try this approach. Keep two things in mind. (1) the veneer layer on your ply is thin. Don't sand through it. Real problems. (2) When raising the grain, sand LIGHTLY. If you are too agressive you defeat your purpose and go below the raised grain.

(1) Wipe down the piece with a damp rag. Allow to dry. Sand lightly.

(2) Apply dye. Allow to dry overnight. Apply again. Allow to dry overnight.

(3) Apply wash coat of shellac. Allow to dry 2 hours. Sand LIGHTLY.

(4) Apply finish as usual. And finish the finish.

That should give you a smooth finish.

This time you can try to touch up the area with a glaze. Artist oils and grain tips can also repair the spot. You can rub out the existing finish to get the results you want. Or you can strip it and start over. A hard lesson to learn but it works. The real question is, "Will you accept it like this"? I have done it myself simply because I would not accept my own work Learning to hide mistakes is all part of woodworking. But remember that layer is thin.

Sean_Thompson's picture

(post #110146, reply #2 of 5)

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Thanks for the information. A little bit more on my predicament. I didn't sand through the veneer, just through the dye. I think I sanded too lightly after raising the grain. I was able to minimize the damage to the finish due to where that piece will eventually wind up in the end. Due to this experience I haven't messed around with any of the other pieces but rather chose to yell for help and hope someone answered. Is there something that I can do at this point (other than sand back down to bare wood) that will preserve the work that I have done to this point and yield a smooth finish? I don't have a problem sanding down and starting over if it is the only option but if there are other ways I am all ears. You mentioned that I could rub out the existing finish to get the results that I want. How?

William_Tuggle's picture

(post #110146, reply #3 of 5)

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Sean,

Two rhetorical questions: (1) What size is the piece that you have already finished? and (2) Are you finishing the individual pieces before assembly? Where you are and what you want to accomplish determine the best approach to your problem.

Now, if you sanded to/through the dye, you have sanded too much to eliminate just the "raised grain". Raising the grain is a delicate process. Easy but delicate. Sand LIGHTLY with a fine grit.

There are non-graining raising (NGR) dyes to use. That is another issue. Water based and some other finishes will raise the grain. The idea behind "raising the grain" is to eliminate that fuzz before finishing. Resulting in a better finish. In any case, despite commercials, finishing is usually a multi-step process. And usually not as easy as one might assume. But don't you just love it.

If the answer to the questions are (1) Small and (2) Yes, then strip and do over. Same answers and you don't start over. Be aware that the same method should be used on ALL pieces, otherwise, they will not match. Looks bad.

Good luck.

Sean_Thompson's picture

(post #110146, reply #4 of 5)

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1) The piece will be when assembled about 6' tall and 2' wide, solid on three sides with a glass door.

2) I am finishing the pieces before assembling.

I have been given advice on rubbing out the finish with steel wool, pumice and then rottenstone. Will the two coats of polyurethane that I have applied be thick enough to do this? I applied them liberally, waited 5-10 minutes and then wiped off the excess. Will a couple of more coats help?

William_Tuggle's picture

(post #110146, reply #5 of 5)

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Sean,

I know this has gotten confusing. But the problem with a forum such as this, is not all the pertinent details come out in the beginning. You apply a finish depending on the results that you want.

Given that you are finishing before assembly and have only done one piece, stop and start over. You will end up with a much better finished piece. Just suck it in an do it. Its your choice but that is what I would do in this case.

If you do strip, there is an orange citrus stripper that works good. Can't remember the name.

After finushing rub down with 0000 steel wool (lightly) to get a uniform satin finish. Then apply a coat of wax for the end piece. Use the other steps if you want more sheen. No offense, but I am getting the feeling that this may be new to you. If so, strip, redo use poly and finish with steel wool to get a satin finish. Here again, I dont' know what you are using, Gloss, satin, whatever. So fill in the blanks with common sense.