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  • Red Oak Finishing Problem

    I mixed a couple of oil based stains together to get close to the color I want to match. After I put on 2 coats of the mixture, I found that I needed to put one of the colors on to get closer to the shade I wanted. So I added 2 more coats. Now I have a surface that is the right color, but looks like I've already put on the polyurethane. Most areas are shiney but others are sort of dull. It looks like poo.
    Has anyone ever run into this problem before? What are my options?

  • #2
    It sounds like you have put on more stain than the wood will absorb, and have excess stain on the surface. Red oak has large pores and will also bleed stain back out of them as it sits, so requires repeated wiping to get the excess off. You will probably have to remove the excess with mineral spirits, let it dry well, and then may be able to go back with one more coat of the correct shade.
    Practicing at practical wood working

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    • #3
      As Gofor mentioned, red oak is very porous and using any penetrating stain will present challenges as the stain not only penetrates unevenly, but will also bleed back out of the pores causing blotches in the color.

      You didn't mention rubbing off the excess stain before it dried. Can we presume that you followed that rather normal procedure or did you use a gel stain? In my experience, you don't want to let a penetrating stain dry on the surface as it will give that dull, crusted look. If you wiped off the a penetrating stain, I'm sure you would have noticed the bleed.

      I recently attempted to use a penetrating oil stain on a scrap of red oak to see if I could get the dark oak finish that is on the rather aged baseboard on our future home. Didn't like the results at all, and even after two or three days of summer temperatures, I was still getting bleed back. From what I have learned through this example and further reading, I'm under the impression that a gel stain is probably the best way to approach the problem. However, it is my understanding that if a gel stain is used, you have to be careful with the application of your varnish, as the gel stain simply coats the wood's surface.

      CWS

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      • #4
        Well Gofor and CWSmith, I used mineral spirits and lots of paper towels to remove the excess stain and the surface has the nice dull look that it should.
        What I did wrong was to use a wipe off rag that had too much stain on it to begin with, which didn't remove enough of the excess stain so that when it dried it gave me the uneven shiney surface. Ahh, learning a new skill, what fun.
        I may not acheive the exact color match that I wanted, but at least now I can see the beautiful oak graining, and the surface looks more natural and even.
        Thanks guys. I appreciate the advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          On oak you would be better off with gel stains, there will be less blotching and shouldn't be any bleeding.
          I always put on a coat of shellac before staining oak, that prevents the blotching altogether.
          www.TheWoodCellar.com

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          • #6
            Rafael wrote: "I always put on a coat of shellac before staining oak..."

            Me too, but I use a 2# cut of dewaxed shellac, not the stock 3# out of the can.
            ---------------
            Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
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            “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
            ---------
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            • #7
              Premixed out of the can shellac has additives. I have no idea what the additives can do to anything else applied over the shellac, so I mix my own.
              I use a 1# cut of super blonde dewaxed in this situation.
              www.TheWoodCellar.com

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              • #8
                Wow, you guys went right over the top of my head on that one. What's a #1.....#2..... or a..... #3 cut. Is it like who's on first? Sorry, but as you can see, I don't even know how to put on stain properly, let alone decipher what you guys are going on about. Laymans term please, because I may be working with a lot of oak, and what you were saying sounded like important info. Thanks

                Comment


                • #9
                  The cut is determined by how much denatured alcohol is mixed with the shellac. The more DNA, the thinner the mixture. 1 dry ounce of shellac flake mixed with 8 fluid ounces of alcohol will yield a 1 pound cut. 2 dry ounces of shellac with 8 fluid ounces of alchohol will yield a 2 pound cut. And so on.
                  The thinner mixes are easier to apply and deal with.
                  For the purpose you have, the 1 or 2# cut would be fine.
                  www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                  • #10
                    The minwax site also has a users forum, lots of answers there too.
                    http://minwax.com/bbs/
                    Only a surfer knows the feeling. Billabong ca. 1985 or so

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for demystifying the 1#, 2#, 3# shellac conversation. Just to make sure I have it right, here's my take on it
                      • Oak has varying degrees of porosity
                      • stain will be sucked deeper in some spots, and stay near the surface on others
                      • the spots were it gets sucked in deep doesn't necessarily mean that it disperses into the surrounding wood, so it bleeds out and I need to keep wiping it off
                      • you put the thinned out shellac on first to reduce how deep the stain penetrates and get a more even coloration and minimized bleeding
                      Is that about right?
                      I will scope out the minwax site too RR. Thanks guys

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                      • #12
                        Shellac

                        Here is an article that explains an easy way to apply shellac as a seal coat:

                        Knipfer Rude and Crude

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Generally that is right.
                          Except that stain does not get sucked in so to speak. Stain basically covers the surface it is applied to, it is not like a dye that gets absorbed into the fibers of the wood.
                          www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                          • #14
                            Shellac

                            Hi Guys - this is a shellac question, not really a red oak one, so I may be thread jacking here - can you use rubbing alcohol (propyl alcohol) to mix shellac? No-one seems to know.

                            Cheers
                            "Dad, E means empty, NOT broken" - my cousin Doug, to his dad after the tractor ran out of diesel and Ed claimed the gas gauge was broken.

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                            • #15
                              Do not use "rubbing" alcohol (isopropyl), as it usually contains too much water to be used for shellac.

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