Re: Minwax Stain
Question, were you using a standard "liquid" stain or were you using a gel stain or a poly/stain combo? Liquid stain will penetrate deeper, leaving a darker finish than either gel stains or the poly/stain combos. Poly stain combos have two problems, first is that MinWax poly's are garbage, second is that you're color remains suspended in the poly, it doesn't penetrate the wood. What that means is that if the finish chips or is damaged, the color goes with it.
Another issue could be your prep. Sanding to bare wood may have removed any lacquer or poly finish that came from the factory, however if it was stained, the stain may still have blocked the pores of the wood. More important is what finish grit you sanded the table with and whether or not you polished the table with the sanding process. If the surface was almost glossy after sanding, you've definitely sanded too much, actually burnishing the wood and preventing stain from penetrating. The cure is to resand the table with a more coarse grit. For projects such as this I would likely not go beyond a 150 grit paper. Something to keep in mind with sanding is that as you use the paper it dulls and fills with wood dust, effectively reducing the grit and causing a "polishing" effect more than a sanding effect. Cheap, off brand paper doesn't hold the grit as well as better quality papers, causing the same effect.
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