don't like the look after staining....advise please

laynieApril 27, 2008

Thanks for responses in advance. I stained new cherry handrails that I had milled. I first lightly sanded them with 220, they seemed rather smooth. What do I know, obviously not what I need to. Well, they look okay, not great. They are a little blotchy, not a lot blotchy and the stain is a little darker that I want. I would like to have less blotches and have them a little lighter in color. I used wiping stain. Do I have to sand? If so....until the stain is all gone? What grit? How do you know when you have sanded enough? Does UV protective poly help keeping them from darkening too much? Any input is well appreciated.

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lindac

Try wiping with mineral spirits...if some color comes off on your cloth, keep wiping until either no more color comes off onto the cloth or you like the color, which ever comes first.
If you don't remove enough of the stain to suit you by that method, then get some fine garnet paper and sand...until you get the color you want.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 9:50PM
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laynie

Lindac, will that help take care of some of the blotchiness or should I have prepped them better with better sanding?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 9:58PM
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lindac

I don't know....I'm not looking at the blotches, don't know about the grain of the wood you used, what stain you used, how well you stirred the stain and how evenly you applied the stain.
But what I recommended can't hurt....and it may help.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 10:28AM
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bobismyuncle

Cherry is one of those woods that is prone to blotching. Left on its own and finished with an oil-based finish or shellac, it looks wonderful. But you are past that now.

Blotching is one of the few things that is difficult to undo. That's why it pays to run a test before starting front and center on a project.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniquearticlefinishing?id=14814

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 5:24PM
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laynie

Well, here is how this came to be. We are adding on to an existing staircase. We took a picket and part of the old hand rail to have more milled. They told me the wood was cherry and milled 150 pickets with handrails. Later found out the existing was red birch, not happy that a mill yard wouldn't have got this right in the first place. The pickets were not sanded well AT ALL and they wouldn't fix those for us. When we stained a couple of those they were blotchy. We took those to an amish man who sanded them nicely and then we stained them to match the existing staircase....beautiful. The handrails seemed to be sanded well, not like the pickets. So, I went over them lightly with 220 grit before staining. As far as I knew they seemed to feel and look like the pickets were before staining so I assumed they would come out the same. I did have a sample piece of the cherry handrail and I did test it out, it looked great. I thought I was on the right track. I understand leaving the cherry on it's own would be beautiful, but that was not an option because of the existing staircase. I am going to try the mineral spirits as suggested. I have 5 long pieces of handrail left to stain. Any suggestions for prepping better on these to try to prevent some blotching would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:09AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

One way to darken cherry with no blotchiness is to treat the wood with a caustic, like lye. You then must neutralize with dilute acid, but the color is beautiful and permanent. The treatment brings the wood to its ultimate aged darkness immediately, with a clarity that surpasses any dye or stain, because its a chemical change within the wood itself, adding nothing to obscure the grain.
I'm continuously amazed that more people don't use this technique, as popular as cherry is, and as much of a pain as it can be to stain well.
Casey

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 10:54PM
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bobismyuncle

I have used lye to color cherry with mixed results. I call it the ready, fire, aim approach. Even with careful trials, you can't guarantee that your target wood is going to work like your sample wood. The second problem is that since lye is used in meth labs, it's getting hard to come by. The Red Devil brand went off the market a few years ago.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 6:50PM
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