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Old 12-15-2013, 10:30 PM   #1
Ginger Quill
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Default I think I screwed up a wood staining project...and pics of what that might look like

I could use some wood staining advice...

I've been working on a piece I was going to discard, but I decided to keep it. I'm on a repurposing binge...turning ugly things (to me) into something I might like.

This is a nice piece: vintage 60's/70's-ish and well made, and I have no idea what kind of wood it is.

Both sides look exactly the same, the 2 drawers are fully functional in the front, but the back piece is a pull down with storage behind it. The glass slides are the same on both sides.

It was so neglected that not much work needed to be done. A week or so ago, I sanded to remove the original stain/varnish and a little wood putty touch up to fill in a split on the top...which is slightly warped.

I want it to match the other budget furniture I currently have and even though the style doesn't *fit* with my other stuff, I like the piece enough to want to make it work. When I entertain, I'm always lacking in a place to serve food. There's no counter space in the kitchen, so this would solve the "buffet" problem without having to set up card tables. I could also use it as a "bar".

I pretreated with wood conditioner and I used Minwax Red Mahogany. *I* Think the wood is too light to absorb that stain to make it look like it belongs. Doesn't have to be exact, just darker. I won't be doing anything to it until after Christmas.

I know nothing about wood types and their saturation levels, so I'm making my pitiful plea to the experts here.

1. Do I need to start over, sand it down again and use a darker stain, or just apply a darker stain on top of what I've already done?

2. What about the final coat? Wet things will probably be on top of it. tia

/sigh



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Old 12-15-2013, 11:20 PM   #2
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I have no clue but I think it's beautiful as it is.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:47 PM   #3
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GQ --- I think it looks wonderful. Love the design and your reuse of it. You did right in using a wood conditioner to start ..... Did you sand before hand? Another idea might have been to a wood pore filler after, then after that dried, another sanding, then a couple of light coats of a your stain - sanding between coats, then a sealer.

However -------- I think the darker portion on the doors might simply be the nature of the wood used .... the grain in some areas taking up more stain than other areas?

Regardless, I do think it looks great! Love the retro 60's stuff!
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:08 AM   #4
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Nice piece! I would leave it just the way it is. The grain being highlighted just gives it personality and character! Now go make yourself a White Russian and enjoy your handiwork
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:26 AM   #5
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Maybe it's the camera angle but if you look closely the colour picks up the brown tones in your floor tile - nothing wrong with that!
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:59 AM   #6
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Now I want a Kahlua and cream. :/
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger Quill View Post
I could use some wood staining advice...

...

1. Do I need to start over, sand it down again and use a darker stain, or just apply a darker stain on top of what I've already done?

2. What about the final coat? Wet things will probably be on top of it. tia

/sigh


OK, first and I hope it doesn't come as a shocker, being a natural product wood doesn't always behave as we want.

Different woods stain and receive paint, at varying levels. Even the same wood on the same plank will take differently depending on the way it is sawn and the rings are revealed.

It is very difficult to make two pieces of furniture match especially if it is from different woods. It is easier to strip and stain BOTH pieces and refinish them together.

But that isn't directly answering your questions.

Have you put a top coat like varnish, shellac or polyurathane on it yet?

If so, it has to come off. I am not a big fan on sanding. It creates "fuzzy" wood fibers and causes stains to take at different levels. (Some rings take more, some less depending.)

You also lose detain and round the corners off.

If so, I would use a stripper compound on it and remove the top coat.

If you don't have a top coat I would still avoid sanding to remove the stain. I would use one of the wood bleaching compounds on the market. I think there are some recipes on the Internet.

If you didn't use it, next time try a hand rubbed stain. Easier to control especially if you don't have a lot of expierence with staining. Takes longer but YOU control how much goes on.

It is is looking a little light then you make another pass to get it darker or apply slightly varying the pressure of the rag.

If it doesn't have a top coat of clear you MIGHT try applying a slightly darker hand rubbed finish to get it to the right color. Try a small section on the back and let it dry to see how it works first.

As for the top which will see abuse, the only thing I use is polyurathane. Again, hand applied in thin coats with a light sanding and tack rag between the coats. I would do 3-5 coats if it is going to see heavy service.

Or, you could do nothing. "Eclectic" home furnishing is quite the rage. People getting different pieces, putting them together.

The rest of it may get one coat but the working surface
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Have you put a top coat like varnish, shellac or polyurathane on it yet?
Minwax makes a pure stain but most of the products sold in Home Depot, Lowes, etc, are a stain PLUS polyurethane. Minwax stays tacky a long time and can be uneven just because the way the furniture was manufactured (veneers and hard woods on the same item may need two different stains because of the way they take up the color). Leave it. It is beautiful as it is.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:23 PM   #9
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Thanks all, but I'm not quite satisfied with it yet. It's finished when I say it's finished and when it is, y'all are invited for cocktail hour.

I've used that stain and sealer combo - Minwax calls it Polyshades. The WORST thing to happen to a can, the reviews said. I had nothing to lose and it worked great on my kitchen cabinets. I've got pics of that project, too. Don't use it on nice stuff. I'm in a fortunate position to be able to experiment with all kinds of stuff and right now anything I do is an improvement.

Pote, thanks for your input. I haven't put any finishing coat on it, but are the rubbing stains like the wax stains? I definitely want a darker finish. Would I be able to put that directly on top of it?
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger Quill View Post
Pote, thanks for your input. I haven't put any finishing coat on it, but are the rubbing stains like the wax stains? I definitely want a darker finish. Would I be able to put that directly on top of it?
There are all kinds. Some are direct stains, and some have a wax polishing agent in them.

I prefer the former and stay away from the latter unless it was something for fun.

With the direct stains you can put any top coat you want and as thick as you want (in thin layers) for protection.

Try this place. Gel stains (can reapply up to 6 hours), dye stains, and even wood bleaching agents if you want to start afresh. http://www.rockler.com/finishing/wood-stain
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:02 PM   #11
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Default Ginger Quill-- that's a beautiful tambour door on a 1950's-60s piece

Ginger,

I like what you've done. That piece reminds me of what I saw in my childhood in the 1950's. The wood has character, so I can see why you decided to rescue it. It reminds me of a tambour top on a desk or bread box.

I make furniture and useful things for my family, as a hobby, to help me "come down" and settle myself from the craziness of life.

I've learned that old wood develops a 'patina' from age, that can't be hastened. So, I try not to cut or sand that off. Instead, I remove an old finish gently with a stripper that doesn't bleach or change the patina. Then I refresh the top finish with something that serves the purpose. Hornsby finishes has a fairly gentle restorative system that can--but doesn't always--preserve the patina and improves the top-coat finish. Nothing is perfect--or guaranteed.

Note: if there is a top-coat (glue, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, or oil/wax, etc) new stain can't penetrate evenly and uniformly. So, the result isn't even or predictable. Stripping that top-coat 'can' let new stain or coloring penetrate and recolor the piece. I think it's art, not science.

Our choice is whether to preserve the aged look (patina) with it's imperfections and blemishes--and give it a new protective finish, or to sand/grind/plane it to new wood and start over.

Pote shares wisdom on these matters.

I started as a rough carpenter in the 1960's working my way through college, and I've learned cabinet work and custom furniture work slowly, and only as a hobby (I've been a clergyman for the last three+ decades).

I've found good instruction, and great help, from magazines such as Shop Notes, and in recent years, Fine Woodworking.

Beautiful piece. Wood is never perfect or uniform. Each species of wood offers different uses/strengths/weaknesses/character/beauty. Enjoy the process.

Stephen
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Old 12-22-2013, 12:38 AM   #12
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My cousin had a piece just like that, and sure nuff it was used as a bar! I have no suggestions of how to achieve the color you are going for but it does look very nice as is.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I've found good instruction, and great help, from magazines such as Shop Notes, and in recent years, Fine Woodworking.
Fine Woodworking/Fine Homebuilding Magazines. I love them.

As you, woodworking is something I do for relaxing. Even something as simple replacing the handle on a mid size hewing axe from the turn of the 19th.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:33 PM   #14
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Thank you. I learned a lot, and this gave me a little more confidence in being able to finish it.

It's a little darker and somewhat more to my liking.

A side note about the gel stains. I was at Lowe's and saw that there weren't that many gel stains offered and was told that those stains aren't very popular anymore and they may be phasing them out. Take that for what it's worth; he could have made up that story to sound like he was more credible. /whatever.

Some things I have found out about wood and staining: sometimes you never know what kind of damage has been done until you start sanding and staining. I found this out with the kitchen cabinets above the stove. They had absorbed so much smoke over the years and it was undetectable...to my untrained eye. When I processed them the same way as the rest, they came out really dull. I think that's what the problem was. It doesn't matter anymore.

With that in mind, I probably should have quit while I was ahead with this project. The un-eveness of the top of this piece was evident when I put the darker coat on. I used Rustoleum/Kona and it went on easily. I topped it off with 3 coats of poly and sanded with a fine grit between coats. Only the top.

I put up some inexpensive shelves to clear space out of cabinets, and I'm still playing around with the 'dressing'. It's time to put this project to rest and move onto something else.

Photos taken with the same camera & flash, about the same time of day.





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Old 01-08-2014, 11:37 PM   #15
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I think it turned out very well! Nice job!
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:18 AM   #16
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I like it - it has character & I love the depth of colour you've managed.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:08 AM   #17
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Elbow grease and MinWax go a long way..,

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Old 01-09-2014, 09:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger Quill View Post
With that in mind, I probably should have quit while I was ahead with this project. The un-eveness of the top of this piece was evident when I put the darker coat on. I used Rustoleum/Kona and it went on easily. I topped it off with 3 coats of poly and sanded with a fine grit between coats. Only the top.
Don't be too critical.

A lot of people say this when they refinish an older piece. Most people get their expectation of what a piece should look like from a new, modern, factory made piece.

In fact, older pieces were made with different elements, and some even made by hand.

I think these "defects" (to our modern thinking) show character of older pieces.

BTW, what is in that green bottle? Absinthe decanted to get rid of the bottle with overseas markings?

Green Fairy.

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Old 01-09-2014, 12:03 PM   #19
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(That's the first thing that went through my head, Pote. Then I began to wonder about the purple and blue decanters. What interesting potions must be in THEM! LOL)
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:48 PM   #20
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I think it look great GQ!

Now what's the story on the pink 'I Dream of Jeannie' bottle?
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:14 PM   #21
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Poor GQ! Now we all want the rundown on her decanters... & their contents.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:30 PM   #22
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You're right, Pote. I did expect it to look differently, but I can't say that I'm unhappy with it. It looks a lot better than it did before I started on it.

The decanters are filled with colored water, lol! My grandmother had dozens of old bottles she filled up with water & food coloring - I must have been channeling her.

I need to spend some time with the puppy, but my next project is glamming up the bedroom; I love mirrored furniture that I can't afford. I have a couple of end tables I've had for years and I'm tired of that look. You wood folks probably won't like it, but I'm going to spray paint them silver.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:19 AM   #23
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Maybe WE wouldn't like it but so what? Your house, your money, your furniture. It's silly & pointless to try & live up to anyone else's standard of what's acceptable or 'nice'.

Go for it.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:33 AM   #24
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AND post pictures!
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:16 PM   #25
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Quote:
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I have a couple of end tables I've had for years and I'm tired of that look. You wood folks probably won't like it, but I'm going to spray paint them silver.
PFFT, not my stuff, you own it.

If it is inexpensive wood chairs, table, whatever, I wouldn't be opposed to throwing some paint on them if the design called for it.

Easy to do and you can color match.

You get tired of the color, just strip and repaint. And you don't have to strip all that well since you are repainting again.

Just make sure the wood chair is clean, clean, clean especially where body oils may be on it. If not, paint won't last long. (It may not anyway on wear surfaces.)
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