I am trying to re-stain an old table but several spots
refuse to take the stain....why would this be and what would you suggest?
The wood is clean, no oil etc clogging the wood.
"THE WOOD IS CLEAN". Probily not as clean as you think. Silicone is next to impossible to remove from wood. Auto paint stores carry cleaner that takes a lot of the silicon off. Look at the contints of everything that has been used to clean and polish the table to see if silicone is named.
In addition to silicone (most likely culprit is Pledge furniture polish), glues, incomplete removal of old finish (e.g., sanding only), or other contamination can cause stains not to grab. Dyes need to soak into the wood structure and pigments need somewhere to lodge.
How did you prepare the surface for staining?
Liquid stripper then a sanding..then a laquer thinner wipe.
There may still be finish left in the spots that aren't taking the stain.
Or the sanding of the old stripped finish may have burnished the wood in spots, making the pores closed and unable to absorb stain. What grit did you use? Did you use a power sander? Did the paper tend to gum up?
Basically all the reasons mentioned so far, plus there could be the original stain still in the wood. Wood has soft grain and hard grain areas. Pine is the most common wood with that characteristic---and pine is infamous for staining badly. The more dense grain takes very little stain, while the softer areas soak it up.