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On a recent project (red oak) I noticed that then I tried to brush on a coat of polyurethane a decent amount of stain lifted out of the wood. The color of the piece changed quite a bit because of this. Is this because of bad stain? Or is it because of the finish not being sealed? Should I seal the stain with a spit coat of shellac first (As Scott Bryan mentions)? Would that prevent the smearing and stain transfer? Would I just brush on the shellac?

Thanks!
Brian
 

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Brian, stain lift-off is not the result of a bad stain but it is just a natural process (I am assuming that the stain and poly were similar formulations). Sealing the stained wood with shellac will help with your lift off problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The stain and poly were both oil-based. I waited 3 days between stain and poly.

I was pretty mystified when it happened - I've never had to deal with this before (that I noticed anyway).

I found a similar discussion at WoodWeb (although they are talking about Water-based over Oil-based).

So applying a thin coat of shellac with a brush should not lift the stain? Should I cut the shellac with anything?

Thanks
Brian
 

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I haven't had that problem, but I usually wipe off all excess stain before it dries. With oak, I sometimes have to wipe it a couple times as it seeps out of the large pores.

However, IIRC, Zinsser's Bulls-Eye Seal Coat is premixed 1/2lb cut dewaxed shellac. The cans should have the mfgr date on them, so don't buy any pre-mix that is over 6 months old.

Go
 

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I have had that same problem. What I have done in the past (after a little bit of crying) is to spray my first coat of poly after staining. brush on my second coat, sand very lightly with at the roughest 180 grit sandpaper or sponge, then brush on 1 or 2 more coats sanding in between coats. for a final buffing I sometimes get the cheap brown paper towels like out of a gas station and rub the final dryed finish with these. it comes out very nice. hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the feedback guys!

I went out and purchased Zinsser's Clear Shellac and some Denatured alcohol solvent. I read that Zinsser's is a 2lb cut, so I used the chart at shallac.net to get an idea of what a 1/2lb cut is.

I sanded everything back down to bare wood (ultra smooth - 220 grit), restained (wiping away the excess), let dry for 12 hours then I lightly brushed on the shellac solution with a foam brush and let dry. I let it wait 12 hours and then I proceeded to start applying polyurethane - which is in process now. It isn't as smooth as I wanted, but I am guessing that will come with layers of polyurethane (using 0000 steel wool inbetween layers). The wood was like glass before the shellac.

Thanks again for all your help guys.
Brian
 
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