Have we ruined our kitchen cabinets? Please help!

suelynnbSeptember 16, 2007

My FIL was kind enough to build custom white maple cabinets for our new home. He did an amazing job for his first project of this size. We attempted to stain and finish the cabinets and now have a huge mess! We wanted the cabinets to have a matte finish and appear to be hand-rubbed, so we decided to try the Watco Teak Oil finish. We tried it out on our bathroom vanities and it gave just the look we wanted. On the vanities, we stained them one weekend and applied the Teak Oil finish the next weekend. They turned out great. The problem is we attempted the same finish on the kitchen cabinets and now have a mess. We stained them on Saturday and after waiting 24 hours, we applied the teak oil finish today. The result is a streaky mess. Although the stain appeared dry to the touch, the oil finish removed the stain in certain areas and now the cabinets look terrible. Is there any way to apply more stain now or perhaps apply some sort of toner to even out the color? We are just sick about the mess that we have made to my FIL's hard work. Please help us!

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Maple is famous for blotching due to parts of the grain being very dense---causing stains to sit on the surface and not be absorbed into the wood. When that happens, the stain does actually dry, but acts more like paint than stain.

You might try removing the oil finish and using a dye instead of a stain. You should be able to sand away most of the stain before using the dye. Then let the dye dry for several days and apply the finish.

In the future, always try the stain/finish process on some scrap---that will show any problems.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 6:40PM
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handymac...thanks for the information. How would I go about removing the oil? Also, what do you mean by dye? I am not familiar with wood dyes. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 7:21PM
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You have already realized that the stain was not fully cured, allowing the solvent in the watco to do its thing, and dissolve the stain. What should have been done immediately was to wipe off the oil with lacquer thinner. Wait a half hour and repeat. You could then have applied some more stain and worked it until the color matched the un-oiled ones. Then, wait until the cure time is met. These cabinets would have oiled just like the others a week before. It may now be too late to do anything but resort to a chemical stripper (instead of lacquer thinner) to remove as much of the oil as you can, and re-stain.
Best of luck.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 9:02PM
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