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Adding stain to clear coat OK?

Posted by cjccmc (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 19, 07 at 15:14

I'm finishing the quarter round molding between our kitchen cabinets and the new wood floor.

I stained it yesterday but the coloring is somewhat uneven and a little too light. I used Mini Wax stain and also have their clear coat stuff (poly...?). I'm thinking of adding some stain to the clear coat hoping that it will provide a more even coloring. There are areas of blotchiness where glue spilled and dark spots where the nail hole filler soaked up the stain.

Will this help provide a more uniform coloring? Any particular method to it? I'm guessing that I would only color the first coat of finish, then sand it and apply a second clear coat without the stain?

I'm not looking for "stunning" results, just a pleasing appearance without a lot of extra work.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Adding stain to clear coat OK?

Try using a spray toner. You might have to take out whatever you filled the nail holes with after you use the toner and refill with some color sticks. Stand back and use a light mist. You can always spray on more. Let us know how it works for you. Follow directions on can.

RE: Adding stain to clear coat OK?

Russ is right, what you are describing is technically a toner, a finish with color in it. However, toners almost always have to be sprayed on LIGHTLY to get an even color.

Your approach sounds like disaster.

At this point, I'd do one of the following:
* Sand back the glue splotches and re-stain the entire piece. There is no rule that says you can't stain more than once.

* Move to a gel stain that you can manipulate a little more. This will allow you to cover the light areas. If you have already put a coat of finish on, this is called a glaze. Then top coat. General finishes makes a good gel stain.

Without knowing what color "Minwax" stain you have applied it's hard to say, but the fact that areas are uneven probably says it has some pigment in it and is unevenly absorbed by the variations in the grain. Some woods are notorious for this, notably poplar and pine, likely woods for your shoe molding.

You have also found out another fact of life. Stainable fillers do take stain, they just never look like the surrounding wood. Use wax filler sticks once you are farther down the finishing regimen.

RE: Adding stain to clear coat OK?

I did some web surfing after you guys mentioned the gel and found this:

Minwax® Woodsheen®
A wipe-on gel which combines oil stain with a soft lustre top-coat.

And just yesterday I'm at Home Depot asking the clerk if there was any one coat product that would give me a finished wood or "faux" finished wood look and he tells me "no". I bet this stuff was right next to the stain and clear coat he got for me.

There was also something on the website called: "Minwax® PolyShades®
A one-step stain and finish that provides rich wood color and durable polyurethane protection."
Now this stuff sounds about like what I would get if I mixed some stain in with the clear coat.

We had our maple cabinets finished by a pro and somehow he got the crown molding which was a different wood with different natural color to come out the same color as the cabinets. When I look close, there is no visible grain in the finished molding but the color is an exact match to the cabinet. I would have liked to get this same effect on the shoe molding but don't know how he did it.

Working close to the floor like this just kills my back, so I'm looking to finish this job with as few steps as possible.

RE: Adding stain to clear coat OK?

I much prefer aniline dye than any of the pigment type stains.
It is a lot easier to get an even coat on typical trim hardwoods like oak.
I usually do all the quarter round finishing before I cut a single piece.
Working on saw horses is a lot easier than crawling around.

RE: Adding stain to clear coat OK?

Stain and finish together is a compromise at best. I agree with the sand and reapply stain advice.

Working with wood is a three step process---selection, machining/assembly, and finishing. I know of hundreds of woodworkers---including myself---- who can do the first two well but fall flat on the finishing. Finishing a project can easily take more time than making it.

If you are using the old trim, you are making the job more difficult---it will be catually faster with new wood. If the trim is new, resand, then use a wood conditioner---that minimizes the blotchiness---then stain and then finish.

The other problem with mixing stain and finish is the difference in the basic makeup----most over the counter stains sold in home improvement stores are oil based while the poly finishes are water based---those two will NOT mix.

RE: Adding stain to clear coat OK?


You have several alternatives here. None of them include Polyshades or WoodSheen. These are not silver bullets in a can. A friend of mine who is an expert finisher calls Polyshades the worst thing that ever happened to a can.

The fact that you made some errors in your first application is making things harder to correct.

Cheap, fast, good. Pick two.

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