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What did I do to this piece of oak?

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Forum topic by lazrus55 posted 08-01-2019 01:14 PM 875 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lazrus55

1 post in 535 days


08-01-2019 01:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So I agreed to build a mantel and when I completed the build it looked amazing. I delivered it and the guy started staining it. He sent me this picture and asked what I did to the top. I have no idea. Can anyone point out my mistake?

https://www.flickr.com/gp/[email protected]/R4W5c3


18 replies so far

View Robert's profile

Robert

4287 posts in 2447 days


#1 posted 08-01-2019 01:26 PM

Could just be the wood.

How did you prep it?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2817 posts in 1128 days


#2 posted 08-01-2019 01:39 PM

so – you made the mantle and delivered it unfinished ?
like Robert said – it could be just in the wood naturally.
if only that one board has the issue, it is hard to tell.
it could be contamination of the owner handling it.
there is no telling what could have caused it after it left your hands.
especially if the owner did not clean it prior to the stain.
[if it is only on the top, to me, out of sight-out of mind].
is the owner asking for a refund or replacement ??

magnifying the photo and looking closely at the issue,
the gray line “appears” to be the glue line.
the yellow circle indicates the off-color which “appears” to be only
on one board and not the other. to me, this would indicate
that the issue is in the grain of that one piece. an act of nature.
and is not something that you did – or anything the customer did.
with the feedback you receive here, go over and look at it in person
and explain to the owner your findings. if he insists it is your fault,
take more photos from different angles and post them back here.
and try to find a way to satisfy your customer.
good luck !!

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View DS's profile

DS

3605 posts in 3386 days


#3 posted 08-01-2019 01:43 PM

It is a little hard to tell from the photo.

Either,
1) There is a bunch of small tear out from a dull planer blade that is catching lots of stain, (Proper sanding would’ve removed this.)

or,

2) You got some bleed out of the stain after the sealer coat was applied.

Bleed out is pretty common with open grained woods like Oak, or Ash.
It results from not waiting long enough after staining before applying the sealer coat.

Excess uncured stain gets trapped in the pores and gets drawn back to the surface when the sealer coat dries.
Never rush a finish – lessons learned, etc. etc, et. al.

Good luck.

BTW, I don’t consider a wavy figure to be a defect – just the character of certain woods.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2709 posts in 2955 days


#4 posted 08-01-2019 01:56 PM

Why are you asking what you did wrong? Customer accepted the unfinished piece, he definitely owns it now. If you want to help him, and us to help, we need the complete finish schedule and the branded products used. More than likely this will need to be stripped off and start again.

View Steve's profile

Steve

2365 posts in 1548 days


#5 posted 08-01-2019 02:16 PM

Tell him it’s curly red oak

View SMP's profile

SMP

3168 posts in 871 days


#6 posted 08-01-2019 02:28 PM



Tell him it s curly red oak

- Steve


\
Birds eye red oak

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1472 posts in 693 days


#7 posted 08-01-2019 02:39 PM

Looks like it got splashed with water or something. Like a spray when you open a carbonated drink.
All the wet spots raise the grain and it takes on more stain making them show up. a quick sand and restain will fix it if that is what it is.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

1602 posts in 567 days


#8 posted 08-01-2019 02:47 PM

Is it possible that some rain or water hit this prior to staining? I have seen floor sanders freakout when on a rainy day someone gets water on an unfinished floor. I think it is also incumbent to sand and clean any unfinished wood that could have picked up any rain, sprinker, dew and fingerprint oils etc. prior to staining. There is also a pre stain conditioner that can help even out the rate of absorption but this is normally used on soft pine.

View Rich's profile

Rich

6385 posts in 1555 days


#9 posted 08-01-2019 02:52 PM


So I agreed to build a mantel and when I completed the build it looked amazing. I delivered it and the guy started staining it. He sent me this picture and asked what I did to the top. I have no idea. Can anyone point out my mistake?

- lazrus55

Talk about cojones. This guy has the nerve to ask what you did to it? When someone decides to do their own finishing, they are responsible for the result. The only mistake you could make is to offer to fix it for free.

I let one client do their own finishing on a cherry bathroom vanity. When I saw it, it was pure blotch. They loved it though and had no idea how bad of a job they did. Of course, I lied and said it was awesome. But, if they’d called me and asked what I did to make it blotch, I would have explained to them where they went wrong.

This highlights the need to put things in writing. When I get sign-off on a project, I’ve outlined, in detail, every thing the project will include and what I’ll be delivering. I go over each item with them to make sure they understand, and then we both sign it. Without that, you’re putting yourself at risk.

You needed to spell out in detail what you were delivering and part of that would be how you will do final prep on the board (what grit, etc) and that once the customer accepts the piece, it’s their responsibility. You’ve delivered what you both agreed to and signed off on it.

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

View putty's profile

putty

1300 posts in 2572 days


#10 posted 08-01-2019 03:15 PM

did customer use steel wool in his finishing process? Steel wool can cause dark spots in oak if some wool fibers are left.

-- Putty

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1472 posts in 693 days


#11 posted 08-01-2019 06:32 PM

Look at the direction of all the little marks?

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1218 posts in 877 days


#12 posted 08-01-2019 06:44 PM

Out of curiosity, what was your final sanding grit.. you don’t know how he handled the peice, or any sweat dripped off onto the piece, Did your client clean or wipe clean before staining and did he do light sanding between coats. This is one of the reasons I have this on the bottom of my Estimate Wish List sheet and also on the bottom of my Invoices..

View MPython's profile

MPython

329 posts in 778 days


#13 posted 08-01-2019 07:17 PM

I don’t understand. Is the customer complaining about the roughly parallel shadowy areas on the left half of the panel, the various random dark spots or the mysterious red marks all over the panel? If it’s the shadowy darker areas, that looks to me like some very faint curl in the grain that absorbed more stain than the rest of the board. It’s a natural phenomenon. It could have been reduced or eliminated by applying a thin wash coat of shellac before applying the stain. Probably nothing to be done at this point short of stripping the whole thing and starting over. Even then, you might not get the stain completely out of the curly grain. I have no idea what the dark spots or the little red lines are, but they look like the result of sloppy finishing technique.

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1472 posts in 693 days


#14 posted 08-01-2019 07:33 PM

MP, the red lines aren’t on the wood,
I drew the little red lines over the dark stain marks to show that there is a direction to most of the marks. It’s like a crime scene investigation looking at blood splatter.. LOL

View Robert's profile

Robert

4287 posts in 2447 days


#15 posted 08-01-2019 07:44 PM

LeeRoy nailed it. Something got sprayed on it.

Depending on who he is, I’d tell him to take a hike.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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