Staining Oak Mantle

Old 02-18-01, 05:16 PM
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I'm working on a prefab oak mantle. It came in 3 pcs, 2 legs and the top. There are inset designs accented with 1/4 round. On first inspection I found excess dried glue around most of the 1/4 round. The nail holes were filled at the factory and smudge marks were around each hole. I pointed this out to the owner knowing that glue would seal the wood creating problems when staining. On request with no gurantees, I hand sanded the whole piece with 220 grit paper. Then stained one leg with MinWax Walnut stain. As I feared the stain is lighter over the glue areas and the nail holes are unsightly. I know this is going to be a difficult project, but is it salvageable?
Prep sanding was extensive and proper. It has been suggested that I stain the complete piece. Then sand & seal the complete piece and restain.
Personally I'd have returned the mantle on first inspection. Any other suggestions?
Old 02-20-01, 05:46 AM
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I hate it when the glue squeezes out and not cleaned off while it is wet and when the trim carpenters try to patch or fill holes and gaps, I wish carpenters would just leave the fixes to us instead of trying to hide there mistakes with caulk or colored putty because 9 times out of 10 I have to remove the mess they made and fix it properly. I will ask them to stop attempting to fixing there gaps and nail holes and if that doesn't work I tell the General Contractor that I won't touch the woodwork until it is all cleaned and sanded off and that usually does the trick. Don't get me wrong, some are good at on-site fixes and repairs but mostly they create more work for me because the finished product is all in my hands. OK, nuff said.

The glue needs to be removed out of the grain to take stain properly, you will need to get a razor knife or a good pocket knife and carefully cut the glue out, even taking some(a small layer) of the wood down, then it will need to be sanded in the spot with 150 grit, then 220 grit. As far as the nail holes go, dig out the putty, sand the spots well with the 220 to remove the smug spots, after you do this you will need to re-sand the entire piece with the 220 grit, sand it well(without damaging the detail) to match the sanding you did on the bad spots, when you are satisfied, stain and finish it. It takes some work, but can be done.

If you think a mantle is tuff, try a 9000 sq ft new furniture store with glue, caulk and putty poorly applied everywhere (trim, doors, etc), sometimes I just don't understand how people can think a big mounded mess of wood filler will look good when painted or stained.

Hope this helps.

PS - No offence to the good trim carpenters , the ones I am speaking of had there helpers doing the repairing I think(I hope!)

Old 02-20-01, 04:27 PM
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Thanx chipfo! "it can be done" is what I really needed to hear. I presanded the piece with 220 paper prior to staining the one leg. I think I am going to use laquer thinner and remove as much of the stain off that leg. Then sand the complete piece again with 150 paper, then with 220. I'm going to have to cover every inch of the piece I know. Lol, yes trim carpenters can be our worse nightmare! I have given several nail sets as christmas gifts! hehehe. But there are those who's craftmanship is a pleasure to preserve and protect.

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