RunnerRN

uneven stain on pine wood

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OK.  I am officially losing my mind!  LOL.  I added a second coat of stain and hated it, so redid the whole table again, but messed up again.  I sanded too fine and the stain barely absorbed.  I am afraid that the more I redo this table the less table I will have and the worse condition of the wood.  I am close to getting rid of it with this much frustration.  I think I don't know how to "quit while I'm ahead".  Anyway, back to square 1.  Still have to sand to 22O and try to salvage the wood and then try again.    So frustrating because the wood was so smooth and I had fixed a lot of the imperfections.   Unfortunately, I sanded with 600 grit and then tried to stain.  Why oh why did I do that?!  I guess I'm battling avoiding blotching and unevenness of stain vs getting an even smooth stain but not enough absorption.  

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2 hours ago, drzaius said:

Couple of takeaways here:

1. don't use pine for anything but the fireplace

2. don't use stain on wood

:)

OK.  I know that for the future, but I am stuck with this tv stand that I paid for.  I didn't like the stain/paint job, so I thought I could redo it.  Didn't realize it would be this difficult due to the quality of the wood.  Is there anything I can do to make this look nice?  Here is what I have at the moment.  I spent all day sanding off the finish and going through the grits of sandpaper.  The last picture you can see up close the lousy piece of wood.

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1 hour ago, Mark J said:

The enemy of good is better.

OK.  So how can I make this better!  I just posted pics of what I am working with at the moment.

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19 minutes ago, RunnerRN said:

OK.  So how can I make this better!  I just posted pics of what I am working with at the moment.

I get you want to keep, you paid for it.  I'm not sure if you mentioned the price, so my advise is how I would finish to make it livable.  I would prime and paint the base white, for the top prime and paint a very dark brown.  It may take a few coats of both primer and paint sanding between coats.  Then spray a clear top coat.

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I was already planning to paint the base white, but I don't want to paint the rest of it.  I know it's not going to be perfect, but I still want to a stain or oil based finish.

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Cut your losses, paint it and be done.  That is basically construction lumber and any stain or oil based finish will look bad.  

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Consider that the finely-sanded surface absorbing less stain is a good thing. That means the stain is not soaking into the grain as much. This allows you to deepen the color slowly, applying as many coats as needed to achieve a shade you like, and should color much more evenly.

Although it will likely get pretty dark before it looks really even. The knots will be visible until the coating is completely opaque. Even under paint, pine knots are often visible unless the surface is throroughly sealed before painting.

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I agree with Wtnhighlander above. The finely sanded surface is goign to absorb less reducing your blotching. I've also in the past had good luck with a sanding sealer (Varathane and Minwax offer products by this name and are essentially the same) reducing the amount of blotching. It WILL make the stain lighter in color. This will require coats of stain and it might be best to use a gel stain. IIRC most stain companies that make liquid stain make the same color in a gel (or similar). Make sure to follow the directions of the sanding sealer. If you sanded the wood to a higher grit then their recommendation for sanding after application use the higher grit.

The best results come from taking your time. Be patient and make sure to give plenty of drying time between coats. I wouldn't worry about wearing out the wood or sanding so much taht something bad will happen. The boards appear to be quite thick. The only adverse effects from sanding are thinning out the material, and it'll take a LOT of sanding to do that. You are tackling a project that isn't easy by any standard so being frustrated isn't out of order but you are doing a good job.

If you feel like you can navigate an aerosol can spray able poly shades (https://www.minwax.com/wood-products/one-step-stain-and-finishes/minwax-polyshades-aerosol) is a decent option to add some more color. Do this after stain but before clear. I will advise to only use this product out side. If you do decide to go this route less is more. Spraying on thin coats multiple times is far better than spraying on too thick and getting a run or uneven color.

 

17 hours ago, drzaius said:

don't use pine for anything but the fireplace

I don't advise that either the pitch and sap can be hard on chimneys and even lead to chimney fires... pine is best left inside walls :ph34r:

While i agree with the sentiment it's best to deal with what you have and try and make the best of the situation. It's possible to get a passable result.

 

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Thanks for your support!  I know a lot of people seem to like general finishes gel stains, but not sure I can get a natural look with these?  Have you used these in the past on pine?  What about Ben Moore stains?  I have a local shop that carries this brand but I don't see much posted about it.

 

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I really wish i could help you, General finishes makes good products, but i never had them available to me when I did most of my gel stain experimentation. I usually used Varathane and Minwax and bought the tiny 2oz containers.

Do you have a small board that you can do some tests on so you don't have to sand down a large piece of furniture each time? I'm not sure if you can contact the person that made the piece and see if they have a scrap from that project or a scrap that is from similar wood that they could supply you if you don't have a test piece available.

Ben Moore stain is an exterior product that is geared towards decks and what not. This is why i personally don't like using the word stain. It doesn't really convey all of the details behind the products. The marketing departments of these finishing companies are making things more confusing lumping too many products under 1 name. An exterior stain is a film forming finish that has a pigment similar to paint in it this stain is designed to sit on the surface. Interior stains have a finer pigment that absorbs into the wood or sits more thinly on the surface. While they are both called stain they are as similar as apples and zebra.

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Yes.  I have wood to test on, but it still doesn't come out the same when I do it on the table.  I am going to a paint store today.  They carry old masters and general finishes, and they said I could test it out on my wood.  So maybe that will help give me some better ideas.

 

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My comments were purely tongue-in-cheek (I thought the smiley made that clear). I think the best way to get a good result will be to spray on a dye followed by a top coat, or a tinted finish.

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15 minutes ago, drzaius said:

My comments were purely tongue-in-cheek (I thought the smiley made that clear). I think the best way to get a good result will be to spray on a dye followed by a top coat, or a tinted finish.

Taken as such.

I agree spraying would be the best, that's a hard suggestion to a novice that doesn't have spray equipment though. This is one of those difficult situations where advice to take the piece to a professional may be the fastest and most cost effective.

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I have no idea if they're available, but do any of the big box stores carry rattle can tinted finishes? Might be worth checking out.

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Well, the trip to the paint store was not much help.  They didn't have any gel stain for general finishes and the old masters I didn't like at all. The guy was honest though and said that he didn't think the old masters or general finishes would be much different  so suggested I keep working with the minwax.  I have never sprayed anything, and I want to try and keep it simpler.  So maybe I'll keep trying with the minwax.  I got close on one of my attempts so maybe the  third or fourth or fifth times the charm!  LOL

 

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Just now, drzaius said:

I have no idea if they're available, but do any of the big box stores carry rattle can tinted finishes? Might be worth checking out.

What products are you referring to?  Do you mean applying like a spray paint?  I only have my aparment balcony to work on so I'm not sure if that would be a problem.

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3 hours ago, Chestnut said:

I really wish i could help you, General finishes makes good products, but i never had them available to me when I did most of my gel stain experimentation. I usually used Varathane and Minwax and bought the tiny 2oz containers.

Do you have a small board that you can do some tests on so you don't have to sand down a large piece of furniture each time? I'm not sure if you can contact the person that made the piece and see if they have a scrap from that project or a scrap that is from similar wood that they could supply you if you don't have a test piece available.

Ben Moore stain is an exterior product that is geared towards decks and what not. This is why i personally don't like using the word stain. It doesn't really convey all of the details behind the products. The marketing departments of these finishing companies are making things more confusing lumping too many products under 1 name. An exterior stain is a film forming finish that has a pigment similar to paint in it this stain is designed to sit on the surface. Interior stains have a finer pigment that absorbs into the wood or sits more thinly on the surface. While they are both called stain they are as similar as apples and zebra.

Do you prefer varathane or minwax?

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2 hours ago, RunnerRN said:

What products are you referring to?  Do you mean applying like a spray paint?  I only have my aparment balcony to work on so I'm not sure if that would be a problem.

Yes, like spray paint. Search for tinted lacquer & you'll find some. Amazon carries it, or you may find somewhere local that has it. That will basically negate the effects of the absorption differences on the wood surface. It will take a lot of spray lacquer to build a good film, so you may want to just apply the tinted lacquer until the color is right & then do a top coat or two with polyurethane for added protection. Shouldn't be a problem spraying that on your balcony.

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Thanks for the suggestion.  I'm not sure that I am talented enough to do a good job spraying though.  My skills are pretty limited at this point but I am learning a lot from all of you!  I wish there was a local place that I could get some hands on help and experience so I'm not doing so much trial and error on my balcony!

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22 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Consider that the finely-sanded surface absorbing less stain is a good thing. That means the stain is not soaking into the grain as much. This allows you to deepen the color slowly, applying as many coats as needed to achieve a shade you like, and should color much more evenly.

Although it will likely get pretty dark before it looks really even. The knots will be visible until the coating is completely opaque. Even under paint, pine knots are often visible unless the surface is throroughly sealed before painting.

Well this time when I sanded to 600 the stain looked like it was hardly absorbed.  When I applied another coat it looked even worse.  Maybe it's the new formula of the minwax stain that is making things more difficult.  It's called a semitransparent stain.  It says it dries in 2 hours compared to the old formula.  Both are oil based and the color seems the same.

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