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How do I- remove Minwax/Polyshades run from Red Oak Bed Rail

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  • How do I- remove Minwax/Polyshades run from Red Oak Bed Rail

    I'm working on a Red Oak bed rail, I coated one side with Polyshades Bombay Mahogany. 1st coat, when I flipped it over for the other side today, I have a run at the edge that was the bottom, what would be the best way to talk care of this. I need the rail darker, maybe 3 coats, but not sure to sand it off ( the run) or keep adding coats?


  • #2
    This may be a tough one. Red oak is generally so porous that the stain will penetrate rather deep in the grain. You could try sanding it off, but I would be surprised if you don't still end up with a few spots where the stain has found its way deep into the pores.

    Try putting the Polyshades on a scrap of the same red oak (like your "run") and after a similar period of time, experiment with it. If sanding doesn't take it out, which I doubt; you could try more coats which will darken the rail overall and perhaps render less contrast with the run.

    I'm surprised you didn't get a lot of "bleed back", which has been my experience with penetrating stains (dark splotches as the stain penetrates into the pores and then "bleeds" back out, leaving dark spots).

    I know it probably doesn't help, but I would probably have put a first coat of thinned clear polyurethane on first, in order to seal the pores. Then followed with with whatever coats of the Polyshades to get the color depth that you desire.



    • #3
      Thanks, the 1st coat is already one the wood, and there is some bleeding, the color needs to be darker, a dark cherry color. I was more worryed about seeing the run as not uniform.


      • #4
        CWS, I also am working with red oak, and am planning to use the same stain/poly product. I'm just not to the stain/finish phase of my project yet. If ,I may, I'd like to ask what I would thin the clear poly with, and at what ratio?


        • #5

          If you're using the Minwax Polyshades product or something similar, you don't need to use a clear poly finish afterwards, as the product is a mix of both stain and polyurethane. However, I think you'd still have to fight the "bleed-back" challenge because of the porosity of the red oak.

          But to answer your question: If you haven't started your project yet and you're planning to use the the Polyshades, I'd apply a coat of clear polyurethane first. This would seal the pores. Then you shouldn't have any bleed when you later apply the Polyshades stain.

          My recent project was to refinish the red oak board wainscote that is in the old kitchen that we remodeled. These were 4" wide, tongue and grooved and were fastened to wall with both adhesive and screws. The kitchen layout was redesigned with new cabinets and countertop and about 2/3 of the planks had to come off the wall and then repositioned in the kitchen. Unfortunately, they came off with plaster attached and I ended up having to chisel and belt-sand the adhesive and plaster off to get an even mounting surface.

          When refinishing with new polyurethane, the temperature and humidity how much thinner you will need to use in order to reduce the viscosity and to slow the setting. At almost 90 degrees, I put the first three coats on thinned to about a 50/50 solution. This is pretty thin, but when you brush on poly, you're going to introduce bubbles. If the poly is properly thinned, the bubbles can escape before the poly starts to set. Similarly, the thinned poly will not show brush strokes as it easily levels out. If you thin the Polyshades stain, it is going to really "wash-out" the density of the color and you'll need to apply many coats to equal the color depth of an unthinned application. You may find this prohibitive as it will take much more time and patience.

          With this project I was only using polyurethane (no stain) and with the first coat, it absorbed into the oak quite nicely and there was little concern for drips or runs. This was something I had to keep an eye out for, on the boards that were still on the wall. But, it really wasn't much of a problem as the thinned poly flows quite evenly and the porous oak soaked it up nicely. With the boards that I could take to the garage, it wasn't a problem at all.

          I used gloss finish thinned 50/50 for the first three coats, and a Norton extra fine (000) synthetic pad to lightly sand between each coat. (Steel wool is simply too messy, leaving a lot of fibers that need to be cleaned up.) After each sanding, I used an old T-shirt dampened in mineral spirits to wipe away any dust. The final coat was matte finish, thinned to about 80/20 (poly/mineral spirits), this gave me the final sheen I wanted to match the new cabinets.

          When applying any finish, you'll want to be able to view it from a couple of angles and have a light positioned so it reflects the application of the finish. Apply to a relatively small area (for this project, it was three boards at a time) and then check to ensure you've covered everything and that there are no runs. If caught in time, a second brush lightly dampened in mineral spirits will even out any excess poly that you find. But you need to do this before the poly gets tacky (within a couple of minutes with it thinned as described).

          My project came out great with two coats applied each day (about five or six hours between each coat) over a two day period. With the final, thicker (80/20) coat, you need to take more care not to overbrush. In all cases, I try to make my brush strokes long and in a single direction.

          Normally, I prefer using a spray gun to apply about a 70/30 mix (depends on brand and its viscosity). But since a third of this job was done in the kitchen, spraying wasn't an option. For a "brush-job" the above description came out very well. My wife loves it.

          Sorry this was a bit long, but I hope it helps,

          Last edited by CWSmith; 07-22-2006, 06:56 PM.


          • #6
            Don't use polyshades.

            It is very difficult to get barely acceptable results with polyshades. It's hard to control the distribution of color on the surface of the wood. Years ago I was thrilled when Minwax came out with polyshades. I had tried some "varnish stain" (a non-poly version of the same thing) and got really bad results. Then I came to realize that polyshades worked only marginally better.

            You're much better off using dye or stain and then clear coating with varnish or lacquer. You could also coat first with one of the various shades of shellac to get a color you like and then topcoat. You can fill the pores of the oak or not, according to your preference. Get a good book on finishing, Flexner's for example. If you want a piece that will look good for a long time, polyshades is not the answer.
            Joe Spear


            • #7
              Being a fan of forums, here is one that might be able to give a bit better insight on your conundrum.
              Only a surfer knows the feeling. Billabong ca. 1985 or so


              • #8
                Thanks for all the tips, CWS, JS and RR. The only reason I was using the poly shades was because I had it in the cabinet and it worked with the woven leather inset top I used it on to match a woven leather set of chairs that gave me my inspiration for the peice. I don't need to use it on the wood too, plus the project is looking better than expected so more effort will need to go into the finishing of the table. Me thinks a visit to the minwax sight is looming in my future to find out more about bleeding red oak and its cures. Thanks guys

                PS to Mountaineer
                Thanks for letting me horn in on your question. It was just a coincidence that we were using the same exact Polyshades product, including the Red Bombay color. How did your project come out? Did the extra coats even the color out for you?
                Last edited by Hector B; 07-28-2006, 11:49 PM.