Help, I just ruined my new table


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Hello all,

im new to woodworking and just about completed a new farmhouse table for our new home. 

Then I ruined it.

The surface is pine, and I just applied two coats of Watco Danish Oil in dark walnut, with plans to poly after.  The color came out well at first and then when it cured, it’s a blotched mess.  I either totally spaced out or thought that pretreating the wood with natural oil was optional (as the can says), but it is definitely NOT optional.  

Please, is there a way I can fix this issue? I doubt I can use stripper on the  cured product, and I’m worried about sanding since it absorbs. I’m totally destroyed.  This went from a project I was proud of to one I’m thinking of not completing

Thanks 

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Oils penetrate pretty well and pine has a variety of soft and softer areas.  It really just looks like stained pine to me.  You obviously had a different expectation.  I would sand and finish a bit of scrap the same as you did your top so far.  Then add the poly and see if it looks better to you; it will look different after the topcoat and possibly closer to what you are after.

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For pine that looks pretty good.

Pre-stain conditioners are going to improve the situation slightly but will not entirely solve blotching. If you want to get a perfect even color coat spraying a water born dye with a conversion hvlp or turbine hvlp is the only way to get blotch free results.

If you want easy hassle free staining, chose a wood like oak or ash that isn't prone to heavy blot. What they are charging for construction lumber these days oak is barley more expensive.

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So far, these comments are making me feel better. I suppose my expectations were different.

ill create a little sample area to finish and see how it looks.

Would anyone have a recommendation for Watco Wipe-On poly vs Varathan oil based poly as a better option to hide these “dry looking” spots? 

Thanks again 

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I'd go with the wipe on poly. It's going to take 5-6 coats to build the same as 1-2 coats of the verathane product BUT it will apply easier. It also gives you more between coat sanding opportunities. This will help give you a smoother

I just use the shop towels in a box or cotton rags to wipe on wiping poly. It's WAY easier than brushing.

Oh make sure the remaining finish you are using is clear, or natural. If it has any pigments in it that will cause problems.

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I agree with the above. Looks like a damn good job to me. Don’t scrap it as a farmhouse table, you have created! Keep us posted on your progress and welcome to the forum. I’m curious as to how you did your breadboard ends? I’m thinking that might be more of a concern.

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These guys are being a bit reserved, IMO. Pine is one of the most blotchy species I've ever worked with, and early/late growth grain variation just accentuates it. You have actually done a very fine job with this table top.

For future reference, clear, straight grain has far less tendency to blotch. Sanding to very high grits can reduce stain absorbtion, and thus reduce blotch. Pre-conditioners also help, again by reducing absorbtion. As @Chestnut mentioned, spraying dye, even better, a tinted clear coat, is the safest method for achieving an even color. But then, it no longer looks so much like pine...

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My knee jerk reaction was the same as Coop's - the real problem is the restricted wood movement. I agree that for pine the oil looks like what I would expect. If the wood inside the outer, box-jointed frame is solid wood there's no place for it to expand in the wetter months and no way for it to contract in the drier months. 

If it were up to me, I would cut the ends off before doing any more finish work and apply proper, already stained breadboard ends.

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You might also consider just leaving the end grain uncovered. While a proper breadboard end does help hold the top flat, it will also NEVER be flush with the sides of tbe table, once the piece enters a controlled environment. Batten under the top, or a wide trestle leg structure are alternatives that hide underneath. Bare endgrain on a "farmhouse" tabletop is pretty common.

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Well, shoot. I appreciate all the comments. As a total beginner, I had no idea breadboard was necessary and the guide I used suggested that pocket screws and glue would minimize or stop shifting in wood that had sat for months. 

I do not think I have the tools or expertise to do breadboard. Should I poly it and see what happens or cut off the ends and leave it bare? If I do leave it bare, the end thickness will appear thinner than the lengthwise thickness due to board running there.

thanks 

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In your shoes, I would probably take my chances and finish it. You might get lucky, and it will be fine. You can slow the transfer of moisture into and out of the wood by completely sealing every part of it with the poly. If the environment is stable enough, that may prevent any major problems.

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10 hours ago, nickinnh said:

I do not think I have the tools or expertise to do breadboard.

We all start somewhere.  You will find self deprecating tales of missteps galore peppered throughout the woodworking forums by beginners and seasoned folks when they were beginners.  I would forge ahead.  If things start to go sideways down the road you can take what you have learned and make another.  If it weren't for the cost of the craft I would give all sorts of stuff away and make it again for the enjoyment of making it.  I have to sell some items to pay the bills ;-)  Have fun.

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14 minutes ago, Cliff said:

I know I'm late to the party, but I think that looks pretty good. I hate pine and that does not make me puke. 

Haha! That's exactly my opinion of pine. But I gotta say that OP made that pine look just about as good as it could. I wouldn't mess with it at all.

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I tend to agree with the opinions that applying poly over what you have will work out well. Maybe some one already said, but if not, I think you should use an oil based poly. However, I also think a test panel is a good plan just to be sure.

As other have already said, I think you will likely have cracking issues some day in the future due to the cross grain end pieces. You might get lucky, but maybe not. Now would be a good time to fix it before you put on the final finish.

A fairly simple solution would be to cut the ends off and re-fasten or replace them without gluing them full length.  When you replace the ends, glue them over about 4-6" in the center only. A couple of pocket screws in that area will help hold it until the glue dries. Then fasten the rest, at about 6" intervals with figure 8 fasteners or some other fastener that will allow the top to expand a contract relative to the end board.Selection_015.jpg.41a0b203b835f1041bd8141ab73873f2.jpg

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It will probably shrink and with a bit of luck it won't crack. I was a big fan of pine in the 80's . 50 cents a board foot. Build stuff all day for a few dollars.Oak, ash and birch became the next budget wood. Now we are off to maple and walnut.

 

Believe it or not it's coming back. Diyers are Killin it these days...it's the new Norm.....

 

Best education in woodworking can come from working with pine. It's one of the most difficult to control. It gets easier after that...

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