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How do I sand pre-finished Wood to Re-Stain?

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Forum topic by wilschroter posted 12-09-2019 12:08 PM 490 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wilschroter

118 posts in 1132 days


12-09-2019 12:08 PM

I have been making cabinets out of pre-finished poplar (stained + poly) which is fantastic for 99% of the project.

In some cases though, I need to sand the finish for face frames or in this case some joinery. The problem is, when I sand the boards, I can’t seem to get to a point where I can get the original stain to “take” again.

Here’s an example of two practice boards I used in a biscuit joinery configuration. I’ve sanded the boards down to what appears to be the grain but when I apply stain, it doesn’t grab at all.

This is way more sanding than I need to get the two pieces nice and flush, so I’m wondering if once a board is stained/poly’d if it’s nearly impossible to touch up.


4 replies so far

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bilyo

961 posts in 1710 days


#1 posted 12-09-2019 11:16 PM

It is very difficult to do what you are trying to do successfully. You have not sanded enough yet to get to the original wood and, even if you did, there is the surrounding area that will be difficult to blend. It is unclear what you are making but, for instance, if it is a table top, once it is all glued up, you will need to sand the whole top to bare wood in order to restain it properly and have any hope of getting it to not only look good but have it match the color you want. Having said that, you may have better results using a gel stain rather than liquid.

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Axis39

145 posts in 204 days


#2 posted 12-10-2019 12:39 AM

Use aluminum flashing as a sanding guide/shield and only sand where you need to. Still difficult, but maybe able to contain the damage to the pre-finished parts.

Blending pre-finished and fresh finished is usually a losing proposition. Between the stain not having a clean edge to soak into, and the top coat transition… It’s just near on impossible.

Also, the pre-finished stuff is probably not stained and then top coated. It is usually is a toned finish. Or, are you saying that you finished it first, and are now trying to touch it up?

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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wilschroter

118 posts in 1132 days


#3 posted 12-10-2019 11:10 AM

@Axis39 I’m not 100% sure how the mill finished this, but my assumption was stain and then and then clear gloss finish on top. I can tell when I sand that I’m wearing down the poly first and only then getting into the stain. I really love the “factory finish” I get from the mill so I would love to keep using that approach versus having to worry about staining/poly the entire project (I’m building closetry) afterward.

Most of my challenges are around the face frames (getting them even) so perhaps what I’ll do here is to order the face frames unfinished and then just stain/poly those at the end after a nice beautiful sanding.

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Axis39

145 posts in 204 days


#4 posted 12-10-2019 03:00 PM

Since it seems to be layered, maybe they are shooting a stain and a clear coat?

That being the case, the only way I see this working out is by using some kind of shield to keep the finish in any place you want it to be and only sanding where you need it removed.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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