Please Need Help with Finishing Birch Speakers!!

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Forum topic by Matt_L posted 10-10-2017 02:50 PM 643 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1001 days

10-10-2017 02:50 PM


First post here. I’m totally new woodworking and finishing. I bought some big 1984 vintage speakers that have a very thin birch veneer that needed refinished and I got myself into a situation.

The finish was a mess so I sanded down to bare wood but there was a slight tone from the oak finish that I could not get without risking sanding through. I then applied chestnut colored Minwax gel stain (yes I know now I should gone with a better product and done research). I didn’t pre treat with a wood conditioner. I obviously should have done that. There were some lighter areas. I applied a second coat the next day. I tried to blend the lighter which helped a but but there is still blotchiness. I’m OK with some color variation due to graining but this isn’t consistent. I don’t think I can do much more sanding.

I haven’t applied any topcoat yet. I planned on using Minwax clear poly I thought about using Polyshades in American Chestnut to try to blend it (this is Natural Chestnut). I know this is not what any pro would do but I’m at a loss with my limited skills.

Is there hope? What should I do (with my limited skill set)?

I attached some photos.

Thanks you!

5 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5613 posts in 1362 days

#1 posted 10-11-2017 12:10 AM

I see the unevenness you are talking about, but I don’t think it looks awful. The average person wouldn’t even pay that much attention to it. You can try wiping them down with some paint thinner to see if they even out a little. Best case, they lighten up and you can apply more stain.

The paint thinner will act as a conditioner by wetting the areas that are prone to being darker and limiting the stain that soaks in there.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


5410 posts in 2160 days

#2 posted 10-11-2017 02:36 AM

I am no expert but I don’t think that adding more stain is going to help any. This sort of blotchiness is a fairly common with birch so short of treating with a blotch control product before you applied the stain, there probably is not much you can do. Personally, I don’t think it looks that bad so I would probably just put a clear topcoat on it.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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William Shelley

609 posts in 2242 days

#3 posted 10-11-2017 02:43 AM

Looks fine to me. I’m pretty picky, typically, but I would be okay with those results.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7554 posts in 1485 days

#4 posted 10-11-2017 02:02 PM

consider this a lesson you learned …move on to next project …do not sand again you will surely go through the veneer …then that would look worse :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4643 days

#5 posted 10-11-2017 02:39 PM

Apply your first coat of finish, when dry do a VERY LIGHT scuff sand with some 600 or so, avoid edges, dont want to go thru. Its more of a light wipe tp remove any fuzzies,
Then go back over it with your stain or dye , its called glazing, it will help to even out he color some and make the color deeper and richer. when dry add more topcoats.

Just say NO to polyshades, its horrible

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