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Thread: I hate finishing!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Mount Vernon, Ohio

    I hate finishing!!

    Every project becomes more of a battle with finishing for me. The attached are pics of one side of a cherry box I'm building.
    Since I hate finishing, I try my best to do everything by the book and then this. The wood was sanded to 220, washed with MS, dried, and Varathane Cabernet stain applied. Really looking good, spirits are high. Next day, re-wipe everything to be sure all's well like I usually do and apply wipe-on poly. Carefully apply poly, I also dislike sags. Then I sit down, open a bottle of water and admire my work so far.
    Light spots!! More than the one in the pics. Everything was fine until I sat down! What happened? How can I fix it? My only thought was to sand, then sand some more and start all over. But, what if it happens again? That's why I came here for expert advise. If I went through the whole process again with the same results, I probably would either paint it, or just close my workshop for the rest of the year
    .Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Just to clarify, the areas where the stain appears to not have taken was not present and became present over time? It looks like a contaminant that has prevented the pigment or dye from doing its job but, this would be present from the start and not appear later so I am scratching my head a bit.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    I am going to throw my "guess" in there and say "finger prints". Some people sweat more than other people, and some people just produce more contaminants from their skin than other people do. For one thing I don't care much for the wipe down with MS - I am assuming that means Mineral Spirits. I will blow dry - then use an old tack rag. Lots of people hate tack rags - they work great for me. I buy them from whereever I happen to see them - Rockler, Woodcraft, borg. I don't really like then when they are brandy new - but after a year or so - yeah, cats meow. I don't mean to sound disrespectfully here - but, I would suggest that you wash and dry your hands really well before finish sanding. Maybe even a few times during the process. Make sure you rinse REALLY well and dry your hands with a clean towel. Don't use the MS - just don't do any of that. I finish plenty of Cherry and I never do it. Sometimes on Cherry a pre-stain conditioner helps. I don't really have blotchy cherry problems, so I don't use it. Looks like you stained. Let the prestain conditioner dry REALLY well - read the can - then add some time to that. Wash yer hands again. Wear gloves to do the staining. When you put the thing down for the stain to dry - take the rag you wiped off the excess with and look closely at the piece and meticulously wipe the finger prints from where you held it. Let the stain REALLY dry. Read the can and add time - maybe another day. Wash yer hands - and give it a very light worn 220 sanding. Maybe even with gloves on. Air blow - tack rag. NOW - I don't even try - to get the first coat smooth. The wood now needs to be sealed. Poly, Lacquer, Shellac - no matter what (cept drying oils, like Bushes or Danish) - it's gonna raise the grain. Hooweeee I can hear the arguments already. I can hear the dust nibs and all the rest of it. I'm not going to argue my point. So after that coat dries, a good 220 sanding is in order. Wash yer hands. The subsequent coats should be applied with great care. I don't care for wipe on poly any more. For small projects 24" x 24" of less, I use rattle can. Lately, I have really been liking rattle can Lacquer. I have done LOTS of rattle can satin Poly and I really do like that finish. By the 3-rd coat it should be areal nice finish. Before trying to get a glass smooth superfinish - just go for a nice finish. For that 220 on the wood - no higher. Then 220 for 2 coats. I will often times sand AFTER my final 3-rd coat, with wet 600, then automotive rubbing compound, then a paste wax and hand buff. That is glass smooth and it does not take a long time. BUT ---- you REALLY need to keep your hands clean. I do NOT let people touch my work when it is in the final stages.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Central valley, calif.
    Sure does look like contamination, could be glue, wax, grease, traces of another finish before you applied the stain, who knows ? I am wondering why you applied stain to cherry, it appears to be cherry stain on cherry wood. It's a little darker than fresh milled cherry, but cherry darkens over time anyway. I am not a great finisher, not even close, but try to keep the process as simple and minimal as possible.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Cheektowaga ,NY
    This is what I use on cherry wood ( Charles Neal blotch control) This is stuff is great.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Joe Acquisto; 11-03-2015 at 01:53 AM.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Mount Vernon, Ohio
    Good thoughts so far. Yes Glenn, the blotch showed up about an hour after the poly was applied. The stained wood looked great and nothing looked awry at that time.
    Leo, you might have a good idea there. But, I use a nitrile glove that I put on way before I am ready to finish so,,,,maybe getting contaminants on my glove?
    And yes Bill, I am staining cherry. I found a long time ago that the Cabernet color from varathane just adds the red color to the wood and it does not turn as brown as just aging does.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Outside the beltway
    Did you lay a wet rag on it you used to wipe glue,
    I'd acetone and a Scotch Brite purple pad and wipe it down real good.
    You have a contaminated the wood some how.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::

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