Help! Staining With Pine

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Old 01-19-13, 04:21 PM
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Help! Staining With Pine

Hi!

I built a new bench for my entryway last week (an Ana White design). Turned out great! That is until I started staining.

Here's the "darkness" I was hoping for..

Ana White | Build a Entryway Bench and Storage Shelf with Hooks | Free and Easy DIY Project and Furniture Plans

I sanded with 150 grit, and then applied the Minxwax Wood Conditioner, and then used Minwax Polyshades (Tudor) oil-based to stain.

I was not happy with the results, and read a bunch of reviews online that suggest it is a horrible product.

So, I stripped it with Circa Soft Strip, did a light sanding (I didn't remove the stain that was there). I re-applied the wood conditioner, and so far have done 2 coats of stain with Minwax Gel Stain (Walnut). I am not happy with the results.

I want it to be very dark, almost like an Espresso finish. I'm not sure where I went wrong, but I would appreciate any advice..

Here is the Before Pic:



And then the After:

Pic #1 - Polyshades -



Pic # 2 - After 2 coats of Gel Stain



Any suggestions on how I can obtain a "dark brown" even stain?? I feel like I completely ruined a nice piece of furniture...
 
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Old 01-19-13, 09:46 PM
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Wow, than Ana White is cute! LOL Generally you should test stain on a sample or on the backside or underneath to see if you like the color before staining the entire project, then deciding it's not what you expected.

Polyshades is stain mixed with polyurethane. Once you put that on you "sealed" the wood, preventing the wood from absorbing any further stain. If the stripper didn't completely remove this sealer, whatever additional stain you put on is simply sitting on the surface like paint... and even if it did remove the sealer, once wood has been stained once, the color rarely changes much with a 2nd or 3rd coat.

My guess is that you gave up on the Polyshades Tudor too soon. I would guess that it would take about 4 or 5 very thin coats of the stuff to build up the nice even color that is on the can. You could still go that route if you wish.

Either that or you should go to a paint store, tell them what color you are after, and see if they would be willing to mix you up an espresso waterborne polyurethane that has paint pigments in it. A buddy of mine used to do that to get some freakishly cool colors and it worked pretty well for him.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 05:16 AM
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When PolyShades isn't dark enough [or if I need to make my own tinted poly] I've had good results adding paint to the poly. You'll loose some of the wood grain but it will give you the desired color. With the oil base PolyShades you'd use/add an oil base paint.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 05:44 AM
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I was concerned that I might have given up on the Polyshades too son, but after I read so many negative reviews on it about people who had to strip and start over I thought I might as well do it sooner rather than later.

I don't have the Polyshades anymore, the local store allowed me to do a swap to the gel stain.

I'm wondering about maybe buying a small fine roller and putting some of the gel stain on and rolling the excess and letting that dry?. As the Colour before I wipe it looks okay. Maybe I was wiping too much off??
 
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Old 01-20-13, 05:55 AM
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The problem with piling on more stain is stain is meant to be absorbed by the wood which can make it problematic when multiple coats are applied. What happens is when you apply the poly, it will rewet the stain and your brush will move the stain around.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 06:24 AM
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So I should pick up a can of Tudor Polyshades and apply a few coats?

Will it get to the dark colour I'm looking for? If I were to add paint what color would it be? Would the local building supply store do this?
 
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Old 01-20-13, 01:08 PM
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First, you need to know pine is tough to stain in the first place. As a result, I'm not going to recommend stripping this and starting over, which would be my thought if this was something like oak.

Second, as others have said, sealing the wood means you cannot stain any more, regardless of whether you sealed the wood with poly or just the first coat of stain. The paint store telling you to use a gel stain was, IMO, bad advice.

At this point, I would continue with the polyshades, just knowing you must be careful with it. After you get the color you want, a couple coats of clear polyurethane for protection of your color layer is a good idea.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 01:10 PM
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Some paint stores will add colorant to poly [or tinted poly] I don't know if your local building supply store will. What I've done on the job site is to darken poly with whatever color paint [same base as the poly] I had on the van that would give the desired look.

You would want to add some dark brown [black and red will make brown] Always add paint in small amounts! and test your mixture on some scrap material. You can always add more paint/colorant but it's next to impossible to take any of the color out.

As Mitch pointed out in his post above - always finish with a clear coat of poly! That prevents any wear and tear from removing any of the tint.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 02:19 PM
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So I re-purchased some poly and applied a coat on a back piece, I'll do a few coats there and see how it goes. There was no one around to ask about adding some paint....

Should I be sanding it first?

Worst case scenario I'll paint it or build a new one haha and start over.

I appreciate all of you feedback and suggestions.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 03:07 PM
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You should just VERY lightly scuff sand with 220 grit or a fine 3M Sandblaster sanding pad between coats. The only purpose of this light sanding is to scuff off any small particles that may have raised from the surface or that have gotten in the finish. If you don't scuff sand, they are embedded in between each successive coat, which can result in a rough finish.

If you can feel any roughness with your hand, that's what this light sanding is intended to remove. You don't sand so hard that you sand through the finish down to bare wood.

Practicing on the back side is smart. You're learning!
 
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Old 01-21-13, 05:08 AM
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I would add that sanding also promotes good adhesion.
 
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Old 01-21-13, 07:01 AM
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Make sure to remove the sanding dust before applying the next coat of poly as well.
 
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