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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Can anyone give me info on how to correct a bad woodstaining job?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11205 points ) May 8th, 2010

I hope someone can answer this quickly…

A friend came over to help stain a table that had been stripped and sanded down to the bare wood. I cleaned it and got it prepped. He insisted on doing it himself because “he had done this sort of thing before.” I said, “Fine” as it isn’t rocket science, right?

Before leaving him to do his thing, I said, “Don’t forget to follow the grain of the wood, okay? In a straight line across.” He said okay.

I left for about two minutes and came back. He was going totally against the grain of the wood! I cleared my throat, “Hmm…uh…don’t forget about the grain of the wood.”
“Oh, yeah,” he muttered and started to change course and go in the right direction. Which would have been okay, but now it looked like a right mess. Then, I noticed that instead of adding the stain in a straight line, he was making swoops and arches big ones. I was horrified.

“It’s not straight, ” I said. “Uh…look…you can see where you ended the strokes and it’s not in a straight line.”

“Oh, it will all even out when we put on the second coat,” he assured me.

I just checked. You can see the swoops and the crooked lines and it looks like a very bad paint job. The worst thing is that you can see where the sponge was lifted and where it was put down all over the place.

Will the second coat make it better? I am throwing this to someone who really knows what is going on. I am hoping to dissuade him from putting on the second coat. Is there something I can do to correct this?

HEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLP.

(Yes, I promise, I learned my lesson. I will ask an expert or do it myself next time.)

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12 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Get out the sandpaper once again.

liminal's avatar

What sort of stain are you using? Is the table solid wood or veneered? Did you progressively use different grits of sandpaper before staining? (i.e. Started with 60 grit and worked your way up to 150 grit.)

faye's avatar

strip it off and use a stain that needs wet sanded into the wood, -no lines, streaks -lasts forever if you polish it with tung oil.

gailcalled's avatar

And polish it and polish it. Tung oil is nice but needs repeated applications.

MissA's avatar

Sorry to say, but it IS time to revisit the sandpaper. I feel so badly for you…I had a similar thing happen with a floor…a BRAND NEW floor. Good luck to you.

Silhouette's avatar

Back to the drawing board. Sand it back to bare wood and start over.

Dr_C's avatar

Re-sand and re-stain going with the grain. Also, get new friends.

majorrich's avatar

I like a green table. :-D but if you want wood grain, I see sandpaper in your future.

wilma's avatar

You may also have to use a stripping solvent again to get all of the bad stain off.
Is the stain gel or liquid? I would not use a sponge, for the very reason that you said it shows more where you use it.
I use a soft lint free cloth, like an old Tee shirt.
Go with the grain as you already know, and then wipe the excess off after a few minutes.
Do you really need two coats?

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Okay everyone…..first of all, THANK YOU for your responses! And for your help! I was actually using a low solvent wood dye.

I went ahead and applied a second coat gently and with a brush and wiped as I went…no, it doesn’t look great…you can still see some marks. I applied the second coat in straight lines…and it seemed to take away a lot of the crazy arches. What is in my favour is that it is a very rustic table, so the stain did not absorb evenly and what has happened is that it looks like a very, very old table top. (I only did the top, the bottom is painted wood.) It looks like it has been in a kitchen for a long time. It isn’t perfect, A third coat really helped and though it is far from perfect….a table that has been used a long time (as in a hundred years) isn’t perfect either. The gradations of colour aren’t the best, but they aren’t as horrifying as before.

Yes, new friends would be nice….or friends that can take direction. :)

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

gailcalled's avatar

Drag a heavy chain over the table top several times to enhance the rustic look.

YARNLADY's avatar

If you still don’t like it in a few weeks, send it out to a professional and get it done right.

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