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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Default Refinishing Nightmare

    So, after spending many hours, heat stripping, then liquid stripping, then steel wooling and sanding the 100+ year old fur/pine built in cabinet doors in my home, I seal the now bare wood, and apply the Minwax oil stain, only to be horrified at how poorly the stain took. The old finish was the original faux grain, with a redo on top of it that was probably done 40 years ago. There appears to be some sort of wood filler residue in much of the grain that jumped out when I applied the stain. Any thoughts on what this putty like stuff is, and how I can get it all out of the wood so the stain will go on evenly?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: Refinishing Nightmare

    Are you sure it is filler? Pine is very difficult to stain evenly because of the wide variances in hard and soft areas. A stain sealer or conditioner is needed.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Default Re: Refinishing Nightmare

    TAV,

    Wiping stains, such as Minwax,rarely look good unless the wood is in really pristine shape. Every blemish will show, as well as any part which prevents the stain from being absorbed.

    You might get better results if you restain the wood with a really good bristle brush and then not wipe it. The additional pigment left behind will help mask the imperfections. If you do this, make sure to let the stain really dry, otherwise the solvents in the varnish may lift the stain.

    There are also brushing stains on the market which are intended to be brushed on and not wiped. Benjamin Moore makes such a product. These are even more highly pigmented.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Refinishing Nightmare

    Another possibility would be to try a dye instead of a stain.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    2

    Default Re: Refinishing Nightmare

    I read somewhere that it was a common practice back in the day to completely cover the wood surface with a filler before the faux grain was applied. I did use the pre stain conditioner, but once the stain went on almost none of it absorbed as you would expect. Just a lot of this tan residue all throughout the grain that took none of the color! I actually did the pantry doors a few years back in the same house, and they look amazing, but I'm fairly sure they did not have the faux grain type finish like in the current room I am working on. Unfortunately, these are raised panel doors with a molded edge around the bevels, so lots of detail work. I was just hoping to find the "ideal" stripper that would get it all out. I re-coated one of the drawer fronts with standard paint stripper last night, let it sit for an hour, and scrubbed it with coarse steel wool again, and the "filler" just kept on coming out and clogging the pad! There seems to be no end to the stuff!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Refinishing Nightmare

    What you are describing sounds like hide based finish. You might try treating it like hide glue http://www.ehow.com/how_6509398_remove-hide-glue.html

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Default Re: Refinishing Nightmare

    TAV,

    Something remains on the surface or upper grain of the wood which is preventing absorbtion of the stain. If the doors are removable, try taking them outside and flooding them with acetone while rubbing with steel wool. I say outside because acetone is flammable and very volatile. I always completed the stripping operation with a wipe down with lacquer thinner or acetone. Acetone is a little more aggressive than lacquer thinner. Experiment on the back of one of the doors first.

    When stripping, I always try to avoid the use of sandpaper because it is too difficult to open the grain evenly, resulting in splotchy stain absorbtion. Also, much of today´s furniture is veneered and sanding rapidly cuts through the veneer. Steel wool, stripper and solvents are much safer when removing old finishes off veneer.

    One final solution would be the use of Minwax PolyShades. Like a glaze, the color is sitting on the surface, so it more vulnerable to damage from scratching, but because it does not penetrate and is not wiped, it will look better. Each coat of PolyShades will darken the finish as the color is in the varnish itself.

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