AHHHHH - Staining a Mantle...


Old 08-24-08, 08:32 AM
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AHHHHH - Staining a Mantle...

Full History:
- Tried to use and old can on Minwax Polyshades (stain and poly in one) that I found in a closet to match other elements in the room... applied it WAY too thick
- Stripped and sanded the entire mantle
- Reapplied Polyshades much more carefully using a very thin coat - looked like it was going much better...
- Attempted to apply a second very thin coat - realized the thing was gonna look like crap again...
- Stripped and sanded the entire mantle
- Carefully applied a thin coat of regular old Minwax stain in approximately the same color as the Polyshades
- Waited 6 hours and applied a second coat, which i may not have wiped off as well as i should have
- Waited 10 hours and attempted to apply Minwax Wipe-On Poly, despite my better judgement, as the second coat of stain was still tacky
- Watched in horror as the poly lifted the stain off the mantle (only did one leg, once i realized what was happening).
- Cleaned wet poly off the leg with mineral spirits
- Reapplied stain and wiped down to the leg to try to match the rest of the mantle (it's close enough...)

So thats where i am right now... I've got a mantle that's pretty darn close to the right color - it lost a little bit of color with that last hard wiping that I did after letting it dry for 10 hours... What can i do to make sure I don't screw this thing up any more?

I get the feeling that there's still a little too much stain on there, and that it's just sitting on top - not soaking in. (Although, it looks OK...) But I do think I probably need to do one more coat of stain to even out everything from the last wiping (when it was tacky). Should I just wait a few days and make sure it's completely dry? Should I wipe the whole thing down with mineral spirits to get up any stain that's sitting on top and not soaking in, and then do that last coat? I also don't want the thing to get much darker (if at all) than it is right now...

Then how long should i wait before applying poly? The stain said to wait at least 8 hours - I waited 10... Should I not have used a water based poly over an oil based stain? Did I not wait long enough, regardless (since it was still tacky when I tried...)?

This is driving me out of my mind. I know why I've avoided staining my entire life...

P.S. - If you tell me to strip and sand the whole thing again I'll jump out the window. It's close enough to being OK that if nothing else could be done, I'd just finish it up with the RIGHT KIND of polyurethane and call it a day...
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Old 08-24-08, 01:43 PM
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I've never been fond of applying a tinted poly to raw wood - it's too hard to control! Wiping stains work best when just 1 coat is used. The raw wood obsorbs the majority of the stain and you wipe off the excess. Because the stain somewhat seals the wood, it is hard to add more stain... and stain is formulated to be obsorbed, not to dry on top of any substrate.

Whenever stain is not completely dry if you try to brush oil base poly over it, the thinner in the poly can partially rewet the stain and move it around . . I rarely use waterbase poly [assume the stain needs to be extra dry] and have never used any of the wipe on poly.

Probably the best plan of attack at this point would be to lightly wipe the wood with a damp thinner rag and then let it dry overnight. You should be able to apply a coat of poly with no problems then. If after the poly coat, you feel the color is too light - you can then apply tinted poly [polyshades] to darken the color. Tinted poly must be applied carefully - lap marks, runs,etc. will be too dark and you can't touch up thin or missed areas. Tinted poly should always be topcoated with a clear poly to protect the color.

Hope this helps, open the window only for ventilation - no jumping allowed
Old 08-24-08, 02:07 PM
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sounds like a plan mark! i'll let you know how it works out...
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