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Thread: Removing wood conditioner

  1. #1

    Removing wood conditioner

    I messed up and applied some pre-stain wood conditioner to some oak that I shouldn't have. Is there any way to try to remove the effects of the wood conditioner on boards that have and haven't been stained?

    With the wood conditioner, it doesn't stain the non-pore part of the wood nearly as much as without. Even though I put the wood conditioner on some of the wood, I'm trying to make it so that it will stain the wood as dark as the boards that were stained without the wood conditioner.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    I have been told that mineral spirits wqill remove it. Or you can sand it off.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cedar Park, TX
    Generally, wood conditioners are basically thinned versions of a filming finish. Most likely it is thinned polyurethane varnish so I don't know that mineral spirits or other thinner will dissolve it. Wood conditioner/stain pretreatment works by sealing off the open grain and not allowing as much stain to penetrate. It couldn't do that if the carrier for the oil based stain, mineral spirits or the like, dissolved the conditioner.

    To get it all by sanding, you will have to sand as deep as the grain of the wood, thus removing a significant amount of wood. You might try acetone or a stripper meant to be used to remove oil based paints and varnishes and scrub it with some sort of brush to get into the grain.

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    You don't mention if it is red or white oak. Both have pores but white oak pores are smaller (but more numerous). If it is red oak I would seal everything and correct the color through dyes or whatever other finish you choose. Sanding enough material to get a fresh layer of red oak to finish is probably not going to happen. If it is white oak you may be able to sand it out to an acceptable level.

    An alternative (if you have not already stained with and without sealer on your "keeper") would be to seal the whole thing, sand the whole thing and then finish. A lot of work but at least this way it would all be the same. If you already have a mixed-bag on your "keeper" I would try a gel stain or darker dye that will basically 'paint' the wood and therefor give you a more uniform finish. The natural absorption qualities that make oils look "deep" may have been pretty much compromised a this point.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 04-03-2008 at 03:24 AM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Jay, Maine
    You might try acetone. If the wood conditioner is thinned varnish and hasn't completely dried, acetone will dissolve it. I had a paint brush that I had used for polyurethane and hadn't cleaned well. Acetone dissolved the poly - ruined the brush, but there was no longer a clump of hardened poly at the ferrule.

    Be advised, if you are going to use acetone, keep it away from any spark source or open flame.... it is extremely flammable!


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