Advice on wood stain

gillian_41February 27, 2007

I have some 2 beds and 2 tables made from kiln dried poplar wood, would like to use a clear finish have been told to use min-wax rub in finish natural colour will this be ok? right now they are not assembled.


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For a natural color on poplar, minwax "natural" stain would be okay, but you will probably want to protect it with something more substantial; while you're in the minwax aisle, pick up a can on the wipe-on poly finish, it's not bad.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 8:25PM
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You don't say your experience level.

Minwax "Wood Finish" natural is used for diluting their other stains. Wipe on poly is simply a thinned varnish, suitable for an easy finish.

Here is a link that might be useful: Finishing for first-timers.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 10:10PM
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My experiece level would be First Timer, I printed up the above article. I like the idea of wipe on poly guess that would be best to put on the tables may as well use it on the beds also. Will make a trip down to Lowes tomorrow.
Thank you for the help.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 10:35PM
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Made a trip to Lowes ready to buy "Wipe on Poly" and the man there said he would use "Minwax Wood-Sheen" so came home empty handed to ask you here what you think.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:54AM
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Use the wipe on poly---it will take at least four coats, since wipe on is thinner by design. Many folks apply six coats.

Wipe on is as goof proof as it gets----each coat is so thin and so easy to even out it is really difficult to make it look bad.

The major gotcha with water based poly is it is very clear---where an oil based finish adds an amber color---which is usually referred to as 'A warm amber tone.'

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 11:40AM
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I agree with HandyMac. You can just buy any oil-based varnish and thin it 50:50 with mineral spirits. This is a more cost effective way to go if you are doing a number of projects. Be sure to stir well and often if you are using anything other than a gloss because the flattening agents will quickly fall out of suspension.

If you have some mineral spirits (paint thinner), wipe some on your wood. This will show what it will look like with a few coats of varnish (without stain). It will evaporate away in a little time.

Adding a lot of water to a water-borne finish is not a good idea. It has a delicate balance of chemistry.

There are very few people at the big box stores that I would trust to provide accurate and good information on wood finishing. You will find an occasional diamond, but most of them just know paint and how to mix it. That's being generous, some of them just transferred from plumbing supplies or home and garden.

I am not familiar with Wood Sheen so I looked it up. It is a gelled, colored varnish. Minwax are experts at marketing and obfuscated labeling. As appealing as a "one-step" finish is, it's a terrible idea. If you do manage to get a non-streaky finish (which is difficult), it will likely be too thick and opaque. As far as 'gelled' finishes, you _want_ the finish to soak into the wood. Gel does just the opposite. Would I use it knowing what I know about it now? Never. (I am a professional finisher and touch up person and regularly teach classes in wood finishing to woodworkers, so I can use any finish available. I still would not use WoodSheen).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 3:25PM
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Thank you will go back tomorrow and buy the Poly, I have plenty of time so can go slow will I need any sandpaper and tach cloth to use in between coats of the poly?.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 4:25PM
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I do like to sand between coats of varnish to get rid or brush marks and dust nibs. Buy the P400 grade of 3m's "Sandblaster" sandpaper. At about $1 a sheet, it's expensive but it goes a long way. I typically use a 1/4 sheet on a project like a table 3 or 4 coats and it's still got life left in it. Polyurethane does not have a chemical bond with lower coats, so you need a scratch pattern to create a mechanical bond. But be careful not to sand through a coat.

Here is the schedule I'd recommend:

* Thin varnish 50-50 with odorless mineral spirits (paint thinner) If you want, you can buy the pre-canned stuff, but to me it seems a little thinner than necessary.

Day 1:
* Wipe on a coat with a rag dampened in your mix. You want a thin coat just like you would wet-wipe a formica countertop.
* Let it dry until you can put a finger on it and it's lost its tackiness. Depending on conditions and products, about 2-4 hours. At this point, it's not fully cured (absorbed oxygen and polymerized) but you can still apply another light coat.
* Repeat the prior step.
* Let dry overnight

Day 2:
* Scuff sand with P400 sandpaper
* Dust off with a rag dampened in mineral spirits.
* Repeat the Day 1's regimen.

Day 3:
* Repeat Day 2.

Let cure for 1-3 weeks. Buff out with 0000 Steel Wool lubricated with furniture wax (e.g., Minwax, Johnson's). Buff off as much wax as you can with a soft cloth.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 6:52PM
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I am a first-timer and old old as dirt. What would you use to restore this small cabinet. Poly wipe-on, or an oil based satin sheen? I am told the wood is probably Chestnut. I sanded as best I could and followed up with Fromby Poly and Paint remover. I then sanded some more. Probably should have worked the other way around!

Here is a link that might be useful: Click for more pictures

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Sorry, somehow I posted article twice and don't know how to delete.

This post was edited by lpalta on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 9:49

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 9:18AM
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I'm finishing my basement stairs. I previously had carpeted treads stapled down to the center of each stair tread. Even after sanding and cleaning extensively, the bare pine wood is lighter where the carpeted treads were. I applied Minwax Pre-Stain and then Minwax water-based stain (Parchment color) and now the difference in color is even more pronounced -- much lighter where the carpeted treads were and darker at the ends of each step. Can i just apply another coat of the same stain to where the carpeted treads were to make the color more even? Should I apply a darker stain?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Wood care products such as polishes and touch up repair kits can easily take care of surface scratches and scuffing. You have to remember that you will have to reapply these products from time to time to keep your furniture looking good, but one application can last months.

Remember to use a product that matches the color of your wood. With filler crayons, you might have to mix colors to get the right match. Always try out the products first in an inconspicuous spot to see how it is going to look, as a botched up fix can look worse than a scratch.

Since it is important to match the color of your wood, use this polish to fix scratches on your dark furniture.

This liquid polish works on scratches in dark wood furniture such as mahogany and cherry. Depending on how deep the scratch is, the polish works to make it close to invisible or at least less noticeable. Apply sparingly with a soft lint free cloth, and follow by buffing with another soft lint free cloth.
Use Minwax on a clean, dust free surface when you need to apply wax to your wood surfaces. Apply a thin, even coat with a clean cloth. Allow Minwax Paste Finishing Wax to dry thoroughly (10-15 minutes)and polish with a clean cloth, weighted buffer or electric polisher. This finishing wax produces a hard, dry, oil-less polish and is recommended for lighter wood.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:54AM
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