View Full Version : Arghhh!!!! Has my mistake finished me?

Dan Land
04-12-2006, 1:19 AM
I've been a lurker for a long time, but now I need some advice. I'm working on finishing a quartersawn white oak table. My planned finish was water based antique maple dye (yellow) followed by shellac sealer followed by walnut gel stain.

I had run out of dye from my previous project, so I made up a fresh batch. I applied the dye to the table and let it dry. Even though I had already applied the dye, I decided to take a test piece through the gel stain step to verify the new batch would give me what I wanted. I sealed the test piece, dried for 15 minutes and applied the gel stain. Looked great.

I then turned to my table and started to apply the gel stain (the rag was still in my hand from the test piece). Trouble is I hadn't yet sealed the table -- I only sealed the test piece. After doing the drawer, back of the table top, a side rail, and two legs; I was wondering why it was coming out so much darker than my test piece. Then I realized what I had done.

After moping for about 20 minutes. I went back out to see what chemicals I had on hand: mineral spirits, acetone, lacquer thinner. I tried the lacquer thinner and it removed a lot of the walnut stain. There is still stain in the pores and overall it is darker than the original dye; however the color actually looks pretty good, just lighter than I wanted. It actually looks as if the finish was finished (if you know what I mean).

So here's the problem, the color is not the original yellow dye, and it does show some stain. In stripping with lacquer thinner have I stripped the dye as well? What should I do now?
1) Try more chemicals to see if I can get more walnut out (ran out of thinner and it's past midnight so this will have to wait till after work tomorrow).
2) Add dye to the previously stained area and see if it lightens the stained are.
3) Try bleaching.
4) Go ahead and apply the stain to the rest of the piece, then strip with thinner to match my oops.
4) Seal and continue as if nothing happened.
If I seal and continue, is the finish going to match between my oops and the regular stuff?

Looking for advice.

Steve Schoene
04-12-2006, 1:34 AM
You might get more of the walnut out of the pores, but probably not worth it at this point. And it may have cured enough that it would take methyl chloride to to much better, and even then pigment in pores is a challenge. So I think the best thing at this point is to work around the stain you have.

If the lacquer thinner got most all the gel stain off the main surface areas of the wood, you may be able to refresh the yellow stain a bit. It won't lighten the remaining gel, but may restore the undertone that may have been washed/wiped out of the wood. Go lightly here, and test before you get too much dye. In particular it is possible the wood has been sealed enough with the gel stain than it might make the dye behave pecurliarly. (I presume this was water mixed dye.?)

Then you can seal and apply the gel stain as you had originally planned. It would lodge heavily in the pores any way, so it will make little difference I think whether it was applied in two coats or one. Sealing should make it behave roughly as before.

Bleaching will only effect the dye that was not sealed by the gel stain, so I don't think that would help.

The main thing is to make lots of tests on scrap. Duplicate the original error and then try the various alternatives to see which out come works best for you .