Restaining a wood mantel. Please HELP!


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Old 09-25-09, 11:51 AM
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Restaining a wood mantel. Please HELP!

So I just bought my first house.

I laid new hardwood downstairs, and it looks great! The problem is now the hardwood doesn't match the mantel in the living room.

The hardwood is a walnut color, and the mantel is a honey pecan shade. I found a stain that pretty well matches (or complements) the floors, and I'm now working on how to restain the mantel.

I researched it as much as possible, bought all the equipment, and have started, but I've run into a couple of problems and need advice.

I'm using an electric sander on the flat surfaces and hand-sanding the fluting and curves. Even with the electric sander, I've only gotten down to "pure" wood in a few places. And with the hand sanding, I only seem to be getting through the poly. Do I have t get it down to bare wood before I can restain? If I just restain over hte existing stain, will it mess the coloration up?

My other issue is this, where I used the electric sander, there seem to be little "bubbles" forming. I went over them by hand afterward to smooth them out, but now they look like little black spots on the wood. Is that just the poly? Does it mean I haven't gone deep enough?

Thank you so much for any insight you can give me! I'm a new homeowner and have to get "handy" fast, or the future Mrs. will not be happy!
 
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Old 09-25-09, 01:53 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Most wood stains are formulated to be applied over raw wood. If there are spots that aren't raw - they generally won't take any new stain. Most interior stains are formulated to be obsorbed by the raw wood with any stain not obsorbed, being wiped off with a rag. Often excess stain not wiped off won't dry sufficently to be coated over with the poly

Usually the best method for stripping an old finish is to use a paint and varnish remover [stripper] It will soften and bubble up the old finish where you can scrape it off. It still requires sanding as the last step [well, cleaning off the dust too] before refinishing.

I'm not sure about the bubbles - maybe the sander is heating up the poly??
 
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Old 09-25-09, 02:48 PM
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Thanks!

That's what I was planning on doing, but the paint/stain person at Lowes insisted stripper should not be used for stain, and strictly sanding was the way to go to get through the poly and stain.


Any suggestions on the best stripper? Or is it irrelevant?
 
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Old 09-25-09, 02:57 PM
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Also, will it hurt to use stripper since I've already pretty much sanded all the poly off? How long should I leave it on since there's no poly? I know when there is poly and paint, you need a scraper to get the excess off, but is that the same with stain? Or do I just wipe it off and then sand it?

Sorry for all the questions!
 
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Old 09-26-09, 05:21 AM
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IMO the person who told you NOT to use a stripper was wrong. Stripping is the easiest and fastest way to remove a finish.

A final cleanup with lacquer thinner and 0000 steel wool will remove the last of the finish as well as some of the stain. After drying (it won't take long) the raw wood can then be sanded to remove any remaining stain.

Stripper will not hurt raw wood. It attacks only finish. It should be left on as if there were finish still there - read the instructions on the product as to time. As mentioned above, steel wool can be used to remove small amounts of finish - some stain will come off too, but probably not all.

Sanding the remainder of the stain out will be the final step (before wiping dust off) before restaining.

BTW - a small brass bristle brush is handy for dealing with carvings and trim work to remove the finish...
 
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Old 09-26-09, 06:50 AM
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Awesome. I'm going to give this a shot today. Back to Lowes I suppose, though I'm perturbed at the gentleman who misinformed me.

Thanks so much for the feedback.

If I can figure out how to post pictures on here, I'll post some before and after shots.


Thanks again.
 
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Old 09-26-09, 06:56 AM
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To post pics, most use a free site like Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket

I don't know if the same is true of all their depts but generally the help in big box paint depts isn't very knowledgable about the coatings they sell and how or what should be used for any given job. That is one of many reasons why it's better to buy paint and supplies from your local paint store.
 
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Old 10-02-09, 09:22 AM
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okay, so i've re-stained the mantel. it looks good, not quite as dark as i wanted, and it certainly doesn't look professionally done, but for my first project like this, it's certainly passable. i'm sure at some point i will re-stain it again.

now i need to put some poly on there, but all i know is that i shuold get an oil-basedo one since that's the kind of stain i used. i want a low gloss, as i do not want it to be shiny. how do i know how many coats to put on? do i just use a paint brush to apply it? any thing i should be cautious about in its application?

thanks again!
 
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Old 10-03-09, 05:46 PM
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A satin poly is the lowest sheen readily available to the general public. Basically it will shine at an angle but very little straight on. A brush is fine for application - use a natural bristle brush, they do a better job with solvent based coatings than a synthetic bristle will do. Let each coat dry and then sand with 180-220 grit, remove the dust and recoat, repeat. 3 coats usually give the best finish. Some will get by with 2 but the 3rd coat really does make a difference
 
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Old 10-04-09, 09:52 AM
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how lightly do you sand between coats? and i assume you don't sand after the third coat?
 
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Old 10-04-09, 10:44 AM
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It only needs a light sanding. The 1st coat of poly will need the most sanding. The poly will raise the grain some and needs to be smoothed out. The 2nd coat of poly won't need as much sanding as the 1st. Hopefully the 3rd coat will come out great and you will be done
 
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Old 10-04-09, 11:50 AM
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thanks!

yeah, i finished putting the 1st coat on earlier and i could already tell how the grain was raising up with it. im afraid to sand too hard or itll mess up the stain? im hoping two coats will be enough, but we'll see.

you guys are awesome!
 
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Old 10-05-09, 02:50 AM
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As long as you use a fine grit sandpaper and don't go crazy - you'll be ok.
 
 

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