Arm-R-seal and Varathane

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Forum topic by RothFam posted 11-30-2020 01:25 PM 279 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 59 days

11-30-2020 01:25 PM

While testing some stain colors, i applied Varathane’s American Walnut to a red oak board. After 2 hours applied a second coat of stain. After 18 hrs, I wiped on a coat of Arm-R-seal gloss and the poly wiped off the stain.
The stain can is less than a year old, stirred AND shaken twice to ensure mixed well.
Any ideas why this happens?

7 replies so far

View avsmusic1's profile


680 posts in 1659 days

#1 posted 11-30-2020 02:53 PM

Did you mean to post a picture? Or explain the issue?

View Lazyman's profile


6359 posts in 2361 days

#2 posted 11-30-2020 03:03 PM

Did you wipe off the excess stain after about 5 minutes?

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

View bilyo's profile


1256 posts in 2076 days

#3 posted 11-30-2020 03:34 PM

In my experience, this is not unusual. The solvents in the poly will dissolve the stain and streak it. This is a bigger problem if you don’t sufficiently wipe off the excess stain. You can prevent the problem if you apply a thin coat of shellac Seal Coat before the poly. This “locks” the stain in place. Stains are supposed to have a binder in them for this purpose. Maybe some are more effective than others. I haven’t tested.

View SMP's profile


3192 posts in 879 days

#4 posted 11-30-2020 04:28 PM

Was it gel stain you used? If not it sounds like it wasn’t wiped away enough.

View EarlS's profile


4215 posts in 3322 days

#5 posted 11-30-2020 05:22 PM

I always wipe off the excess stain after 5 minutes as Nathan suggested. I generally wipe it off, then follow with a clean rag for a second wipe off. I also let it dry overnight, then wipe it down one more time before applying Arm-R-Seal. There still will be some stain that shows up on the applicator, but not enough that the stain on the wood looks streaky or uneven.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View BurlyBob's profile


8283 posts in 3239 days

#6 posted 11-30-2020 06:18 PM

One thing I’ve found with Varathane stains that have sat for any length of time is they have to be stirred quite a bit. The suspended pigment settles to the bottom of the can and it can thicken up quite a bit depending on how long it sat. I use strips of plexiglass to stir so as not to lose pigment being soaked up in a piece of wood.

View RothFam's profile


2 posts in 59 days

#7 posted 11-30-2020 06:47 PM

It is Varathane’s Premium stain. I did have to mix it quite a bit, there was a lot of pigment at the bottom.
I let it dry for about 30hrs and it was dry and the clear coat applied with no wipe off. I’ve never had to let a stain dry that long. I’ve used Minwax and a commericial stain while at a cabinet shop and usually only had to dry overnight. Sounds like Varathane is a longer drying stain. Thanks for the replies.

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