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Botched Staining Job - Need Help!

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Forum topic by Jay289 posted 10-25-2020 05:26 PM 339 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jay289

4 posts in 31 days


10-25-2020 05:26 PM

So I’m about to jump off a cliff because I’ve been working on this red oak slab table for weeks, and when I go to stain it yesterday, the most horrible spots appear. This slab has gone through a router sled to flatten and has on multiple occasions gone through 60-80-120-180-220 grit (both turbo mode to remove lots of stock and ROS mode at the higher grits). I used a pre-stain conditioner and followed it up with an oil-based dark walnut stain, which is when the spots appeared. These were not visible before the stain and everything felt smooth, so I’m stumped. First, what are these spots, and second, how do I fix it? Just so frustrated because I thought I was close to the finish line on this one. Thanks for the help!


7 replies so far

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Loren

10785 posts in 4561 days


#1 posted 10-25-2020 05:43 PM

Capillary action I reckon. Staining end grain evenly can be tricky. The way to fix it that comes to mind is to sand it off. You could also ebonize it.

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4wood

66 posts in 867 days


#2 posted 10-26-2020 09:36 PM

Could it be water popping? If a drop of water, sweat or a sweaty palm touches the surface before staining, those areas will stain darker. I have had that happen when someone rested their forearm on a freshly sanded piece of plywood. No one noticed the mark left behind until after the stain was applied. Since you already applied conditioner I don’t know if that would have prevented it from happening. Try sanding another piece of scrap wood and sprinkle a few drops of water on it and let it dry then apply some stain as a test. I would try to sand an area on the backside of you table and stain it the same way as the front to see what happens. I am not a finisher so I hope someone else can offer more information.

Here is some information about water popping. https://www.woodfloorbusiness.com/troubleshooting/sweaty-situation-steamy-job-causes-unusual-stain-problem.html

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Aj2

3495 posts in 2712 days


#3 posted 10-27-2020 12:28 AM

It kinda looks like contamination from chainsaw oil.
Is it dry we would except to see some cracks. The dark gray look leads me to believe it’s not dry.

-- Aj

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Jay289

4 posts in 31 days


#4 posted 10-27-2020 02:32 AM



It kinda looks like contamination from chainsaw oil.
Is it dry we would except to see some cracks. The dark gray look leads me to believe it’s not dry.

- Aj2

That’s an interesting theory about the oil. The person who cut this slab used a home-made chainsaw mill so that’s possible, but wouldn’t the oils spots have been obvious? Also, I’ve taken off more than 1/2” through flattening and sanding, so I would suspect any surface contamination would be long gone by now. As far as dryness, the slab has been drying for almost 4 years at this point, so I think I should be good there.

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Jay289

4 posts in 31 days


#5 posted 10-27-2020 02:39 AM

Another really interesting theory, but I’ve never sweat on this slab or sprayed any kind of liquid in the patterns that have appeared after staining. That is a good thought about staining the backside of the slab though to see if the same blotchiness happens. I’ll have to try that.


Could it be water popping? If a drop of water, sweat or a sweaty palm touches the surface before staining, those areas will stain darker. I have had that happen when someone rested their forearm on a freshly sanded piece of plywood. No one noticed the mark left behind until after the stain was applied. Since you already applied conditioner I don t know if that would have prevented it from happening. Try sanding another piece of scrap wood and sprinkle a few drops of water on it and let it dry then apply some stain as a test. I would try to sand an area on the backside of you table and stain it the same way as the front to see what happens. I am not a finisher so I hope someone else can offer more information.

Here is some information about water popping. https://www.woodfloorbusiness.com/troubleshooting/sweaty-situation-steamy-job-causes-unusual-stain-problem.html

- 4wood


View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5889 posts in 3265 days


#6 posted 10-27-2020 01:18 PM

At this point I would try sanding it out to see if it evens up the color. If it does, don’t attempt to re-stain.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Jay289

4 posts in 31 days


#7 posted 10-27-2020 03:30 PM

Thanks for the feedback! I may actually try a gel stain on my 2nd attempt in a small, inconspicuous location just for kicks.


At this point I would try sanding it out to see if it evens up the color. If it does, don t attempt to re-stain.

- bondogaposis


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