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Refinishing End Table

Ron Member

I just recently refinished a Lane end table. I took down to the wood, sanded, put stain on and it looked great. But when I put on Poly white streaks started showing up on the table top. I will try to upload a picture of before the Poly and after the Poly. Don't where to go from here. The first one is with stain only and the second is one coat of Poly

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4/25/18       #2: Refinishing End Table ...
rich c.

Does "took down to the wood" mean chemical stripper?

4/26/18       #3: Refinishing End Table ...
Robert Member

Come on rich c....with your 7 years of High Skool, even you should be able to figure that

4/26/18       #4: Refinishing End Table ...
rich c.

He does show a gas can in the photo, maybe it was soaked and set on fire!

4/26/18       #5: Refinishing End Table ...
Ron Member

Took down to the wood means I used sand paper only, using 80 grit to start with and worked up to 320, I have posted a picture of what they looked liked before I started.

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4/26/18       #6: Refinishing End Table ...

What stain and what poly did you use?
Looks like the stain wasnt dry all the way in the grain and it blushed the topcoat. Maybe you have products that dont work well together.

4/26/18       #7: Refinishing End Table ...

Looks like the poly is lifting from the open grain where the sandpaper didn't reach. Without aggressive chemical stripping, there was probably years worth of Pledge and other horrors in the grain. Curious how you confined the stain to the darker wood. Masking?

4/27/18       #8: Refinishing End Table ...
Ron Member

Kevin & Pat, I used Min Wax Stain (Natural #209) and Min Wax Poly Clear Gloss, I put 2 coats of stain on and used steel wool 0000 in between coats, I used denatured alcohol for wipe down, the white streaks did not show until I put the poly on. As for as the dark wood I did not mask, the stain took to it just like you see and came out very nice, I believe the dark wood is Walnut, I am thinking using a stripper and take it all off the top and start over, the sides and the light colored wood did not show the marks. Should I seal before I re-stain? I have never had this happen before. The tables were built in 1960. Your Thoughts?

4/27/18       #9: Refinishing End Table ...

Sealing before staining would prevent the stain from penetrating, which is not good. Not sure what the "Natural" stain is doing for you since it has virtually no pigment in it. It may help "pop" the grain, but you might achieve similar results by skipping the stain altogether and sealing with de-waxed shellac (Zinsser SealCoat or similar) prior to your topcoats. Also, 2 coats of oil-based stain is probably not doing you any good, and might be making your problem worse. Minwax stains take forever to dry (several days) and a second coat may be sitting on top of the first one without being totally absorbed into the wood.

If there's old finish and/or wax trapped in the open grain, the stain will never dry and the topcoat will not adhere properly. Even if you skip the stain, you may have adhesion problems, hence the recommendation to use chemical stripping in addition to sanding. I'd go a step further and use some wax and silicone remover after the stripper. You can get it from an automotive paint supply store.

4/30/18       #10: Refinishing End Table ...
Ron Member

Pat, thanks for the advice, I think I will give it a try. The only reason I used the Natural stain was because I didn't want the dark wood getting any darker and to help seal the wood which looks like it didn't work. I will see what happens after I strip it.

5/11/18       #11: Refinishing End Table ...
Jim Conklin  Member


"Pore Ghosts" - residual finish in the depths of the pores that doesn't get sanded off. And using only mineral-spirits based products, nothing 'hot' enough to melt them back to a clear solid. Also, if your final sanding was 320, you probably packed the pores with fine finish dust so tightly that the tack rag couldn't wipe it out. I agree that if you are going to use a 'natural' stain, skip it, and use Sealcoat as a first sealer coat.

5/16/18       #12: Refinishing End Table ...
Ron Member

Pat & Jim, thanks for the advice. I stripped them clean even after the stain and poly was gone. Did not use the Natural stain this time.
Tables look great. No more Pore Ghosts.
Thanks for the help.

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