Blotchy Stain

Marlo34January 7, 2013

Please help.

I applied two coats of Minwax Ebony oil stain for 15 minutes and waited a day between coats. The newel posts and the railing on the second floor look much better but the railing coming down the stairs is bad. When I added the second coat it removed a bit of the first in some areas.

Did I not prep well? I striped, used steel wool and then sanded with fine grit sanding sponge. I didn't apply a wood conditioner because I heard that red oak doesn't need it.

I was expecting the end grain to be darker but didn't expect the blotches and I was hoping for a very dark stain. I did some sample boards first and was able to get a very dark espresso-looking stain in two coats but it was on bare wood so I'm sure that made a difference.

Will using Goudey stain even out the blotches? Will adding stain to poly (I know it will cover the grain) even it out? At this point I'm willing to lose the grain because if I can't fix this I will have to paint it.

This wood may only take one more coat of stain so there is not a lot more I can do with it.

Is there any way I can fix this?

Thank you.

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Another section towards the top of the stairs.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 12:32PM
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*Question: Did you use a moist sanding sponge?*

You can fix this, if you had a little more experience in wood finishing. I think you are on the right track.

In my opinion, it is a railing and will not be walked on, so you can load the wood with more pigment...if you can get the stain media with the pigment to stick.

I once got the stain wrong on a customer's stairparts and I had no choice but to remove as much as I could and reapply product.

You really need to do a little more experimentation to see what will work here. Perhaps someone will come in and give you a prescription. However, if it was me behind that eight ball, I would sand what you have as consistently as possible and then apply a stain color that looks right. You don't have to sand down to bare just want to open the grain up some, so that pigment in the new stain application will have somewhere to sit. I would not rag off completely, but blend the light and dark areas. I have used a quality foam brush to do that. You are essentially 'painting' on the stain medium.

I am not fond of the Minwax products for my floor work. I get better results with Bona's DriFast stains, but I think you could continue with the Minwax product and get the results you're after.

Try the technique in a small area first to see if it will work.

If you restain the thing and it is acceptable, you MUST wait an awful long time before you coat Minwax stain with anything. Let it dry a week if you can.

Wish I could be of more help. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 10:58PM
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The volute and curved pieces have a different grain direction and absorb stain differently.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:48AM
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Using a toner may help. Click the link below for an example and I know what the guy is doing in the link isn't a hand rail, but his technique may be helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Glen Huey Finishing Adjustments

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 10:59PM
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