Minwax Polyshades Disaster- advice needed

KooopsFebruary 8, 2012

Whenever I start a new project, I do my research and often stumble upon this site with great advice.

Unfortunately I did not do great research before starting this kitchen project and now I'm left with a mess!

We have stained cherry cabinets. They are in decent shape (12 years old) but we wanted to stain our island in a dark ebony finish. We are wrapping the 3 sides of the island in bead board and I was planning to stain the cabinet doors and drawers to match. (3 doors and 2 drawers)

I selected Minwax polyshades in ebony.

I stained the bead board boards first, no issues- they were unfinished wood to start.

I removed the doors/drawers and cleaned with a degreaser/liquid sander and did a light sanding over the finish. I removed the gloss and was thorough with this process.

I applied one light coat of the minwax and on 2 of my surfaces it remained tacky in areas after 2 days. It was in my basement, I had air circulating so I don't think that was a problem. The other surfaces dried fine.

So I took mineral spirits over the tacky areas and the stain came right off. I re-cleaned this area, sanded again, let it dry a day and applied another coat. This coat went on worse than the first. It remained tacky and had streaks.

I now realize that this product has a bad rap for a good reason. However, I do not know what I can do at this point other than try to completely strip my doors and drawers.

I again took mineral spirits over the newly applied stain to remove it, but of course there are areas where it is adhering very well.

Any advice short of stripping to bare wood? At this point I perhaps will consider just painting but even then I fear a poor finish since I have different layers of the minwax on.

Thanks for any advice.

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The adhesion problem is not the Polyshades product, since it worked fine on the unfinished beadboard. Plus, adhesion problems are almost always due to the prep/substrate.

A deglosser is NOT an adequate cleaner/prep. Cabinets are incredibly dirty and greasy and require that all grease be thoroughly cleaned off. A cleaning lady used to spray Pledge on our kitchen cabinets, and the silicone in Pledge causes problems in new finishes (usually fisheye though, not adhesion problems or streaking).

I have successfully prepped dirty, Pledged kitchen cabinets by washing with original Dawn in HOT water, several times. Then wiped with mineral spirits. Sanded thoroughly and wiped off all dust. I also find real TSP very effective for dirt and grease.

Another issue could be temperature. Poly will NOT cure at too low of a temperature. I once painted an item with oil-based paint (same basic chemistry) that would not dry or cure after several days of waiting, because it was too cold in the garage. It would never have cured at that temperature. Had to bring it up into the heated house. Air movement alone won't help if it's too cold.

With partially cured or partially adhered product that you seem to have now, I would strip off the old finish. People always seem to think that stripping is so much work, but stripping lacquer off cabinets is easier, IMO, than properly cleaning them. Cooler temps are actually your friend here too, so the solvent doesn't evaporate as fast. I like Dad's brand of regular, nasty-solvent stripper, or, if you use the less toxic kind in plastic containers, cover the stripper with plastic wrap or sheet to give it plenty of time to work. Apply a thick layer - don't skimp on product - give it time, then just scrape and wipe off the softened lacquer, and wipe down with the liquid indicated on the stripper container.

If there's any chance silicone polishes like Pledge were ever used on the cabs, even after stripping, use a few drops of fisheye preventer in your finish. No solvent, cleaner, or stripper is known to reliably get all silicone out of the pores of wood.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 9:31PM
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No advice.
Just sympathy.
And wishes that someone has an idea other than stripping
the wood to the bare wood and starting over.

Lets hope someone else had this problem and can help.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:17PM
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