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Wood door: How to get rid of gray residue from old stain after door was stripped

Wood door: How to get rid of gray residue from old stain after door was stripped

Old 02-24-06, 11:00 AM
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Wood door: How to get rid of gray residue from old stain after door was stripped

I recently stripped my 70-year-old interior doors (in a stripping workshop) that had a dark brown stain. The stripped doors look nice (the stiles and rails apparently are made of orangy pine; the moulding and single central panel of something similar) and most of the stain is out. However, I was told that the old stain was aniline stain, and the stripping process left some gray spots (not too strong, but still noticeable) were the old stain was most deeply applied. These gray spots are particularly more noticeable in the moulding. My idea was to refinish with just a clear coat, but the gray stuff doesn't look nice under poly -- it looks even darker gray. How can I get rid of the gray spots?

Update: the person who commercially stripped the doors just told me that he did use oxalic acid to neutralize the stripper, and he doubts that more oxalic acid will do much. He recommends sodium hypochlorite and some sun.

I am thinking about the following options:
1) Use more oxalic acid, which should slightly lighten the color of the wood but should get rid of the gray residue. I am a bit reluctant to use two-part bleach, since I don't really want to bleach the wood too much.
2) Use some minwax stain to even out the color of the wood with the gray spots. However, I tried it in incospicuous places (with ipswich pine and golden pecan) and the wood (and gray spots) gets too dark. I also tried it with natural color, and it's better -- but the color of the wood gets a bit darker than I want, while the grey stuff gets dark brown (which is better than gray, but too dark for my taste).
3) Try minwax pickled oak stain. it should lighten the whole thing; however, I suspect the grey spots will just become lighter gray.
4) Use sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach?)

Last edited by maestroperu; 02-24-06 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Update info
Old 02-24-06, 04:04 PM
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Wood bleach (oxalic acid) is a weaker bleach than chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite). It it somewhat easier to control. Some sun might help the bleach's effectiveness.

If the stain has not been removed by the stripper, then more stripper needs to be applied. Bleaching won't remove the stain, but it will lighten the wood.

Sometimes, wooden items are made from more than one wood for economy. The differences in the appearances of the various woods are unimportant when the item will be painted. Unfortunately, subsequent owners will want to strip the paint and stain the wood. Now the differences are important, and often unresolvable. Lesser quality woods used for painting are often unsuited for staining because of variations in the colors in the wood, such as: sapwood and heartwood.

It may be that the only solution will be to achieve the effect of staining by applying a finishing product that has the stain in it. This is much the same as painting the wood because the color and finish are applied to the wood together. The wood is not stained, but appears to have been. Much commercial furniture is finished in this manner. In this approach, the appearance is achieved although the wood being so coated does not look that way.

By deftly blending a pickling stain during application, the variations in the wood can be masked rather effectively. Take your time and focus on the results.

Hope this helps.

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