Project for Mom Gone Wrong (white haze/cloudy)

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Curlyps posted 10-25-2020 05:27 PM 429 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Curlyps's profile


1 post in 31 days

10-25-2020 05:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finish wood table haze question

Hello All!

I am new to the forums and want to reach out to the community for some help/assistance.

My mother recently had a stroke and is currently wheelchair bound. I decided to make a coffee table for her that would allow her to pull up under with the wheelchair to make and pour her coffee (help give her some independence). I created a table made from 2×6’s that I cut to 3” wide and a spruce laminate wood top. All materials were purchased from Home Depot.

After making the table I sanded it with a 60,80,120, and then 210 grit sand paper. I wiped and vacuumed the table really well before staining. I purchased oil polyurethane stain and used a 2” brush to apply the stain. After 5 -10 minutes, I used an old white tee-shirt to wipe off the stain.

Here is where I messed up…After 24 hours, I applied a second coat of stain to make it darker. This time, I didn’t wipe off the stain as I figured it would really darken it up (it did, but boy was I wrong). After 24 hours the table was super tacky (top, legs, etc.). I brought it inside to dry under a fan and that did not help. I let it sit under a fan for almost two weeks and it was still tacky.

I read online that the reason why the table is tacky is due to the stain sitting on top of the other stain and it is unable to penetrate into the wood and dry. I tried several fixes that were recommended and neither one of them worked fully.

First, I reapplied the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping off. This is suppose to soften up the tacky stain and allow me to remove it.

Second, since it was still tacky, I tried the wiping it with old English oil to remove the tack spots and was unsuccessfully.

Lastly, I went back to Home Depot to buy mineral spirits. I wiped the whole table twice with it and used an old tee shirt to wipe the access off. This removed some of it, but not all.

After 24 hours, I figured let me try to polish it. Various blogs online recommended buying car polish to buff the wood tables. I went to our local auto zone and purchased Turtle Wax finishing polish. I buffed the table this morning. It appeared to turn out well and most of the tackiness was gone. However, now I have a white haze/cloudy all over my table. I tried wiping it with mineral spirits and a wet cloth. It wipes away, then reappears.

I have no idea what to do to fix this table so my mother can use it. Did I completely ruin the table and it’s over? Please let me know if there is anything I can do to remove this haze.

Thank you in advance for reading my post.

7 replies so far

View diverlloyd's profile


4029 posts in 2770 days

#1 posted 10-25-2020 09:11 PM

Sand it off and try again. In the long run it will be quicker and easier then trying to fix what is there.

View Loren's profile


10784 posts in 4561 days

#2 posted 10-25-2020 09:27 PM

If you can get the wax off, wet sanding could possibly remove the haze.

This is unlikely, but sometimes moisture gets trapped in a finish during application and shows up as milky haze. Let alone, it dries out and disappears.

View Chenier's profile


25 posts in 620 days

#3 posted 10-26-2020 01:00 AM

Tell your mother it looks that way on purpose. :)

View mel52's profile


1740 posts in 1177 days

#4 posted 10-26-2020 01:19 AM

You might try a card scraper to get it off a little faster before sanding. Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View bilyo's profile


1190 posts in 2015 days

#5 posted 10-26-2020 01:55 AM

Apply some stripper and rub with some abrasive pads (use gloves of course). Wash it down per instructions and start over with your finish.

View Sark's profile


352 posts in 1273 days

#6 posted 10-26-2020 05:25 AM

I think you need to refinish. I like the stripper with abrasive pad idea…and start over. The oil based poly would probably gummy if you tried to sand it. Also, I agree with Loren that you’ve trapped moisture between the layers, and this is causing the milky haze. It’s not that it hasn’t penetrated enough. The second layer doesn’t really penetrate much into the wood. But it can trap moisture, and the whole mess may never dry completely.

Once I refinished a table and had the same problem…with oil based finish. I work in the garage, but fog rolled in that night. Put the second layer down the next day. Third day it turned milky. Don’t know where you live, but moisture can be a big problem with oil based finishes and lacquers.

Wipe on finishes must go on thin. Make sure its really dry. Sand slightly between coats. Build up coats slowly.

View northwoodsman's profile


412 posts in 4659 days

#7 posted 10-26-2020 01:22 PM

If you want the stain to be darker either 1) sand only to 180 grit, or 2) buy a darker stain. Although car wax may work under perfect conditions I would stick to products designed specifically for wood.

-- NorthWoodsMan

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics