Stained cabinets blotchy


PJ5000
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My husband and I put in Lowe’s unfinished oak cabinets that I stained with minwax oil penetrating dark walnut. Some of the doors did not take the stain very well and I got some blotchiness. One door in particular has a huge irregular spot that is super light and so noticeable as it is above my range vent hood and irritating to me. I sanded the door down to bare wood and added a pre stain conditioner before staining again and still got the same problem. How can I fix this? Could I use gel stain over the oil penetrating stain?  Thanks for any help you can give me. 

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Gel stain will work over the previous stain, and will probably work well to even the color, but it will obscure the grain to some degree.

What you describe sounds like surface contamination, oil or some such substance. Unfortunately, the pre-stain conditioner applied during the second attempt is actually meant to reduce stain penetration for better control, so may have exacerbated the issue.

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I posted a picture. I’ve been working with it this morning trying to get it to blend and I think it’s getting a little better. It’s not so defined as it was. I really only see it when the light hits it from the window. I was wondering about using gel stain over it. I’m not super crazy about the grain anyway, my husband likes it but I don’t really. Can I use gel stain over the penetrating stain? The rep with minwax said I can’t because it will just sit on top of the cabinet. 

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11 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Gel stain will work over the previous stain, and will probably work well to even the color, but it will obscure the grain to some degree.

What you describe sounds like surface contamination, oil or some such substance. Unfortunately, the pre-stain conditioner applied during the second attempt is actually meant to reduce stain penetration for better control, so may have exacerbated the issue.

Can I use gel stain over the penetrating stain? Minwax rep said I couldn’t because the gel stain will not penetrate and will just sit on top even though they are both oil stains. 

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I appreciate y’all’s help. I’m a Newbie on here and learning how to post pictures and reply. Hope I’m doing it correctly.

I’ve stained many projects before and never had this happen. This is my first time staining oak cabinets though and They were unfinished and cleaned before I started. They were pretty well sanded and so I didn’t sand before applying the first coat of stain. I did not use Pre stain conditioner the first time because I read you don’t have to with oak.

 I want a rustic look but not this rustic. Lol

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So this looks less like blotching and more like the surface was burnished or polished before color was added or the veneer was sanded too much. Have you applied a clear topcoat yet? If you have yet to apply the top coat it's probable that a gel stain will darken the color some to blend with the adjacent door.

Another possibility, and this unfortunately is hindsight advice, is to make sure to change the sand paper somewhat frequently. I have a suspicion that this door was the last one that you sanded? Dull paper could burnish the surface causing the wood to absorb less stain and appear lighter.

There is also the major fear that you sanded through the veneer of the cabinet door. If the face veneer gets sanded too thin the glue used in the manufacture process will stop the wood from absorbing stain. It is probable that if you purchased the cabinets from a home center, that they have replacement doors for the size you purchased. It may be possible if the veneer is indeed sanded through to purchase a replacement door. Hand sanding with 150-180 grit making sure to go with the grain would be the best way to prep the panel for finish. A power sander will sand too much too quickly.

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1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

So this looks less like blotching and more like the surface was burnished or polished before color was added or the veneer was sanded too much. Have you applied a clear topcoat yet? If you have yet to apply the top coat it's probable that a gel stain will darken the color some to blend with the adjacent door.

Another possibility, and this unfortunately is hindsight advice, is to make sure to change the sand paper somewhat frequently. I have a suspicion that this door was the last one that you sanded? Dull paper could burnish the surface causing the wood to absorb less stain and appear lighter.

There is also the major fear that you sanded through the veneer of the cabinet door. If the face veneer gets sanded too thin the glue used in the manufacture process will stop the wood from absorbing stain. It is probable that if you purchased the cabinets from a home center, that they have replacement doors for the size you purchased. It may be possible if the veneer is indeed sanded through to purchase a replacement door. Hand sanding with 150-180 grit making sure to go with the grain would be the best way to prep the panel for finish. A power sander will sand too much too quickly.

Thank you. I’m sure this is what happened. I took wtnhighlander advice and went and got some gel stain. I got a little darker than what my cabinet color is and it worked. It still needs work and will do another coat but it looks so much better already. 

5F76F799-BFC1-4B5C-B608-E20B21DE0A84.jpeg

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14 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Gel stain will work over the previous stain, and will probably work well to even the color, but it will obscure the grain to some degree.

What you describe sounds like surface contamination, oil or some such substance. Unfortunately, the pre-stain conditioner applied during the second attempt is actually meant to reduce stain penetration for better control, so may have exacerbated the issue.

I took your advice and got some gel stain. This is after one thin coat. I will do another coat later. It looks so much better already.  Thank you so much. 

F11786E6-3661-41C8-942F-2BE05D9B53E7.jpeg

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Gel stain can be tricky, as it does sort of 'sit on top' of the surface, as your Minwax rep said. However, it works pretty well for situations like this, and can even do a decent job of blending the color AFTER a clear top coat is applied. Just remember to top coat again, as the pigment can rub off with use. DAMHIK

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