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I am about to start building a walk-in closet using Europly, specifically for the look of exposed edges. What is a recommended finishing schedule to get smooth edges?

How to finish Europly edges Q# 2471 / Submitted 2/17/2012

Sand the edge by hand or machine satring with 150 grit then 180, then to 220 or 240 grit. Then apply one coat of a water based sanding sealer, let dry then sand with 320 grit until uniformly smooth. Remove the dust, and then apply 1-2 coats of a waterbased lacquer or polyurethane in satin sheen. I'd use a small brush or possibly a paint pad or roller to apply these products. <br /><br />Some waterbased products are self-sealing, meaning they don't require a special sealer. They product is both sealer and finish and should say on the can. <br /><br />Jeff

Please recommend a water-based clear finish for your birch or red oak PureBond<br />plywood (purchased at Home Depot) which does not require sanding betwen coats,<br />even if there is a week's delay between applying the several coats. I will<br />use it for drop-in shelving in metal frame shelving units in a garage and<br />would like it to resist moisture.<br />Last time I used an oil-based varnish (Wood Pro from West Marine) which <br />requires no sanding between coats. it ended up fine, and I could use it<br />again, but it was messy and took a long time, and remained slightly tacky<br />for some time afterwards.<br />

Finishing plywood shelving Q# 2467 / Submitted 11/1/2011

You'll have to sand any waterbased coating after the 1st or 2nd to relieve grain raising, but after that you shouldn't have to sand bewteen coats of most waterbased acrylic lacquers. The one I would recommend would be General Finishes Water Based Lacquer<br /><br />Here is a link<br /><br />www.generalfinishes.com<br /><br />Jeff

Hi-I have a picnic table made of clear heart redwood. I also have 2 dogs that will clime on it while I'm at work. I just refinished it with Min-wax Helsman spar poly-urethane and I'm not real happy with the scratches that the dogs are leaving in it. What can I put on over what I have that will it hold up to the weather and the dogs?<br />Thanks<br />Craig

picknik table finish & dogs Q# 2464 / Submitted 9/5/2011

There really isn't anything you can put over the existing finish that will stick properly. I suggest removing the original coating and using a marine finish called 2 part urethane. You can find this product at the link below. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=70

Where can I find McCloskey colonial cherry 1935 oil base wood stain or an equivalent?

Wood Stain Q# 2458 / Submitted 1/29/2011

McCloskey stains were discontinued 6 years ago. The current owner of the McCloskey brand name is Valspar and their replacement product is called Cabot. The website is here<br /><br />http://www.cabotstain.com/<br /><br /><br />Customer Service<br />Mail to:<br />100 Hale Street Newburyport, MA 01950<br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada<br />1-800-US-STAIN<br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada<br />978-465-1900All fields required<br /><br />

On presealers what is the ration of sealer to thinner.

finish compound ratio Q# 2456 / Submitted 1/26/2011

As a rule you want a pre-sealer (I'm assuming you mean a stain controller/conditioner/washcoat etc) to be 5-7% solids content by weight after thinning. So it would vary a bit depending on the type of finish. If you are using Nitrocellulose based, vinyl or shellac that works out to around 2 parts thinner to 1 part finish. For waterbase you may want to up that to 3 parts thinner to 1 part finish.<br /><br />Jeff

What is the ratio of water to glue for glue sizing.

Finishing of Cherry or Walnut Q# 2455 / Submitted 1/26/2011

It may vary by manufacturer of the sizing but I always use a 1:1 ration. Experimentation is necessary because woods vary in absorption. Also I always try to wipe the size after application with a spray gun (or you can just rag it on). Wiping forces it into the porous area better and usually guves a more even stain result. Make sure you scuff sand it after drying. <br /><br />Jeff

Where Can I find McCloskey Tungseal oil base stain 1918 Dark Oak? Anything closely comparable? <br /><br />

oak stain Q# 2451 / Submitted 11/3/2010

McCloskey Products were discontinued 6 years ago. The company that bought them makes Cabot Stains and Finishes and they may have a recommendation, however the Minwax stain by the same name or Jacobean Oak may be close. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />

Where Can I find McCloskey Tungseal oil base stain 1928 Dark Oak? Anything closely comparable?

Oak/refinishing NEED Q# 2450 / Submitted 10/26/2010

McCloskey Products were discontinued 6 years ago. The company that bought them makes Cabot Stains and Finishes and they may have a recommendation, however the Minwax stain by the same name or Jacobean Oak may be close. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />

My door is painted red mahogany, ad i need change it to ebony, my question is sand or striping. thanks

changing color Q# 2446 / Submitted 10/1/2010

If the old color is an opaque paint (you can't see the wood figure or grain underneath the color)then all you have to do clean it with TSP and water, sand with 150 grit sandpaper and then re-paint. <br /><br />If the color is transparent stain (you can see the wood grain and figure) then you have to strip the finish, then sand to bare wood until it will accept water (it doesn't bead up the water). Then stain it with an ebony stain. <br /><br />Jeff

I need to match McCloskey tungseal wood stain Light Oak #917. any suggestions for best match?

mcCloskey Tungseal Q# 2445 / Submitted 9/29/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a suggested replacement in the Cabot line. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

I need to match McCloskey Tungseal oil base stain for Fruitwood #1958 Dark Walnut #1952 and McCloskey wood conditioner. Any suggestions for best match?

McCloskey Tungseal wood stain Q# 2444 / Submitted 9/27/2010

The Minwax Dark Walnut and Oil Based Stain Controller should match.<br /><br />Jeff

In 1992 we did an addition to our home, we used the subject Stain to use on Pine Car siding for our addition ceiling.<br /><br />I am having trouble locating the same product. Do you know of any stain that would match.<br /><br />Thank You.

McCloskey Tungseal Oil Stain – Fruitwood Color, #958 Q# 2443 / Submitted 9/25/2010

Cabot #8127 PECAN should match the Fruitwood Tungseal. There is a Fruitwood Cabot but it doesn't match. Jeff <br />

How do I prepare late 70's era pre-finished paneling to create a smooth finish I can texture and paint?

Painting prefinished plywood paneling Q# 2438 / Submitted 9/11/2010

You should wash it down with TSP. Then rinse with clear water and then sand with 150 grit. After sanding wipe the residue with a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Then apply your painting schedfule. <br /><br />Jeff

I have outdoor teak furniture that I have only put teak oil on...keeping it the original teak color...but would like to make it darker with an ebony stain. Can I just apply the ebony stain over it...or do I have to sand it all down etc? thank you

ebony stain for outdoor teak furniture Q# 2437 / Submitted 9/7/2010

You should sand the wood until you can see the stain penetrate on an unseen surface. Wiping stain are meant to be applied to bare wood so they can cure properly and develop the desired color. <br /><br />Jeff

Are the old McCloskey "Tung Seal" products safe for use on kitchen products like cutting and serving boards? I remember reading years ago that once the solvents evaporate the solids are ok for these uses. True?<br /><br />Thank you, Bill Sloan

tung seal products Q# 2431 / Submitted 8/11/2010

Most clear finishes are OK once the solvents evaporate (usually 72 hours)for contact with food or the mouth. Stains can be dicey because some colorants may contain heavy metals. You should contact the people that bought out McCloskey and see if the current lineup of Cabot stains can be used for this.<br /><br />For Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /> <br /><br />

I have an old can of Tungseal wood stain, Mandarin Teak 963. What is a current wood stain I can purchase that will match in color? Thanks much

Match for Tungseal wood stain mandarin teak 963 Q# 2429 / Submitted 7/30/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a suggested replacement. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

can ifind this stain

McCloskey tungseal fruitwood 1948 Q# 2428 / Submitted 7/28/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 6 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. Cabot #8127 PECAN should match the Fruitwood Tungseal. There is a Fruitwood Cabot but it doesn't match.<br />You might call Cabot Customer service however at the number below and see if they concur or can suggest a replacement. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br /><br />Jeff

I'm looking for a match for McCloskey Tungseal Wood stain Light Oak #917

stain match Q# 2425 / Submitted 7/21/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a suggested replacement. <br />As I recall the McCloskey Light Walnut stain used Gilsonite (a natural mineral like tar) as the colorant. The Minwax Fruitwood or Golden Oak might be a suitable replacement. Look for a stain that lists Gilsonite as one of the ingredients. <br /><br />The best thing to do is call:<br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

Hello, I have an indoor teak breakfast table and chairs that I would like to stain to a black. How do I go about it? OR will it ruin the wood? <br /><br />Thank you, N

Teak Furniture Q# 2423 / Submitted 7/8/2010

Re-staining something that's already finished requires stripping (removing) the finish. Stripping finish is best done with a chemical remover. If it's an old clear finish, or a lacquer finish, it should come off easily with something called a furniture refinisher:<br /><br />http://www.minwax.com/products/specialty_products/antique_furniture_refinisher.html<br /><br />Using this product requires chemical resistant gloves (usually sold where the remover is, and 00 steel wool) <br /><br />This product does not work on paint, polyurethane or modern finishes, which require something called paint and varnish paste remover. If you use this product you need gloves, plenty of rags and a wide putty knife. <br /><br />With both products make sure you work in a well ventilated area, preferably outdoors in the shade. Do not work in a closed environment or outside in direct sunlight. <br /><br />Once you get the finish off, sand the wood with 150, then 220, going with the grain of the wood. If it's veneer be careful not to sand too much. If you're not sure, don't do too much sanding in one place. Then you stain with a black (sometimes sold as ebony) stain and apply clear finish. <br /><br />Jeff

I am staining fir dorrs.<br />I started with the pre-stain, it works great!<br />However, I made the mistake of conditioning both sides of the door, and was only able to stain one side. Do I reapply before staining the other side, due to the 2 hour staining requirement after pre stain application? Should I sand lightly and reapply the pre-stain? Or should I apply a new coat?

minwax pre-stain wood conditioner Q# 2418 / Submitted 6/26/2010

I have achieved results similar to stining within 2 hours by letting the stain dry completely. I would very lightly sand using 400 grit and go ahead with your staining. If there is a slight differenece I don't think it will be noticeable. <br /><br />Jeff

I am looking for a match for McCloskey Colonial Cherry Tunseal. Thanks You

Match for McCluskey Colonial Cherry Q# 2416 / Submitted 6/22/2010

Cabot says #8124 Cherry is the match but it is a little redder and darker. You might want to mix it with some #8122 Fruitwood to get a better match.

I recently inherited a carved teak chest from my grandmother. It was brought back from Korea by my uncle in the 1960's. On the trip home, it rubbed against another piece of furniture and the raw wood was revealed. The depressions are not deep and are on the back where the lid is hinged. The chest is a beautiful caramel brown and doesn't feel like it has a wax finish on it. What would be the best way to care for the chest and repair this damage?

Touching up a teak chest Q# 2414 / Submitted 6/19/2010

The first step is to determine whether the just the finish is scratched or the finish and stain both are damaged. This can be easily determined by wiping the scratch with mineral spirits or naphtha. If the scratch seems to disappear completely after you wipe on the solvent, just the finish is affected - see Step 1. If the scratched area appears lighter, then both the stain and finish are damaged - see Step 2.<br /><br />Step 1. If the finish is the only part that

I am wondering if I can still purchase this product. If not, what<br />would be4 a good replacement?<br /><br />Sincerely,<br />Janice Deadrich

McCloskey tungleal oil base anitique walnut Q# 2411 / Submitted 6/9/2010

Cabot #8136 Antique Walnut is the replacement<br /><br />Jeff

I only have a small section left on my deck to finish and I ran out of stain. I was using McCloskey 7921 Cedar TINTED. I can not find the tinted anywhere (I've searched 5 different stores). Any suggestions? Is the Semi Transparent the replacement for tinted? <br /><br />Thanks

McCloskey 7921 Tinted Q# 2410 / Submitted 6/8/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years ago and the Tungseal line of stains and McCloskey Finishes discontinued. There is no replacement for the product you mention I'm aware of. At this point I would try Cabot Customer Service here: <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br /><br />If all fails and you have a bit of the stain left, try a Sherwin Williams Branch location that is listed in your yellow pages or phone book as a "Commercial Branch". They may be able to use their computer and experience in color matching to mix you up a replacement color in their product line. It's better to deal with the commercial branches if possible, particularly if you are a contractor or small business in the trades. If no commercial branch is listed, try one of the consumer branches and explain the situation. <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

I need a match for Tungseal oil base stain.<br />Dark Oak #1918<br /><br /><br />Thank you

McCloskey Tungseal wood stain Q# 2408 / Submitted 6/3/2010

Cabot #8126 Provincial is the match to the Tungseal Dark Oak color. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a special project that requires both light oak and dark oak stains (tungseal) I was able to aquire a suffient supply of light oak. Can't find the dark. Tried other brands but it was like spreading mud on the wood. The result was pathetic. Suggestions please. I'm desperate. Thanks for your help

dark oak stain Q# 2407 / Submitted 6/3/2010

Try Cabot #8126 Provincial. Jeff

I have always used a conversion varnish.I am going to try Crystalac super premium topcoat over an oil based wiping stain. Any red flags

waterbased topcoat Q# 2406 / Submitted 5/30/2010

Most waterbornes can go over a fully cured oil stain. To check - wipe the dry stain lightly wioth a white cloth. If any stain transfers let it dry longer.<br />Some stains seem to cause problems on a regular basis - particular the sark Minwax colors such as red mahogany. I would put 1 coat of SealCoat or equivalent dewaxed 2 lb cut shellac before applying the Crystalac.<br /><br />Also - it's not a bad idea to ask the manufacturer. Some waterbornes aren't meant to go over oil based products. <br /><br />Jeff

Years ago when we bought our house (early 1970's) we started rehabbing it, which included stripping the woodwork and re-staining it.<br /><br />A local paint store happened to carry the McCloskey Tung Seal brand of stains, and that is what we selected, in the above stated color. Now, I've found Mccloskeys is no longer available.<br /><br />I take it from your answers to other queries about McCloskey stains that a Cabot or Sherwin Williams stain could match what I've used?

McCloskey Tung Seal oil based stain: Fruitwood color, # 958 Q# 2402 / Submitted 5/10/2010

Cabot #8127 PECAN should match the Fruitwood Tungseal. There is a Fruitwood Cabot but it doesn't match. Jeff


McCLUSKYS 7961 Q# 2400 / Submitted 4/26/2010

Many McCloskey products were discontinued 5+ years ago when Valspar purchased them. There is no current information on #7961 exept that it may have been the Waterproof Wood Protector. It definitely is no longer available. <br />The only current product in the Cabot line is waterbased and I don't know how well it will work over your old finish. I suggest you call their customer service and ask them about the McCloskey #7961 number and find out exactly what it was. <br /><br />For Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />If this doesn't get you anywhere you should pressure wash the old surface and then scrub really well with a mild bleach solution. There are plenty of oil based product out there including Olympic, Thompsons, etc that will work as well as the old product. <br /><br />Jeff

I am looking for a replacement to tungseal dark oak #7602 by McCloskey

tungseal dark oat Q# 2398 / Submitted 4/14/2010

The replacement is #8126 Provincial by Cabot Stain<br /><br />Jeff

where can i find McCloskey Tungseal oil base stain #1421 Maple

McCloskey Tungseal stain Q# 2394 / Submitted 4/2/2010

The replacement color is #8138 Maple by Cabot Stains

I'm trying to match my baseboards that were stained with Minwax fruitwood stain. I can't find it at the local Lowes or Home Depot. Do you know where I can find it or what I can use for a substitute in the Cincinnati area.<br /><br />Thanks.<br />Jeannie Kilpatrick

fruitwood stain Q# 2390 / Submitted 3/24/2010

Any of the Sherwin Williams Paint store branches should have it. <br /><br />Jeff

I'm trying to match my baseboards that were stained with Minwax fruitwood stain. I can't find it at the local Lowes or Home Depot. Do you know where I can find it or what I can use for a substitute in the Cincinnati area.<br /><br />Thanks.<br />Jeannie Kilpatrick

fruitwood stain Q# 2389 / Submitted 3/24/2010

Try Cabot stains which are sold at Home Depot - they have a Fruitwood color, or perhaps the Pecan which looks close on the Minwax color chart. You can also buy Minwax stains on-line. - Jeff

I'm trying to find this paticular stain by McCloskey, it is cherry #997, does Cabot make a compatible cherry stain that would come real close to matching the McCloskey

McCloskey Tungseal wood stain Cherry #997 Q# 2388 / Submitted 3/21/2010

From what I can tell you would use the Cabot Red Chestnut #8135. <br /><br />The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a different suggested replacement. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

I am looking for Minwax High Perforance Wood Hardedner. Lowe's & Home Deport do no carry it. Where can I find it in Houston, Tx

Minwax Wood Hardener Q# 2387 / Submitted 3/20/2010

That's something you should run past Minwax<br /><br />Minwax® Company<br />10 Mountainview Road<br />Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458<br />Phone: 800-523-9299<br /><br />A google search of on-line reatilers pulled up dozens of hits, including amazon.com<br /><br />Jeff

I just bought your birch 3/4" plywood at Home Depot for both sides of the lower part of a 13' long eating bar between two rooms. <br /><br />I'm painting it white with water-based (acrylic) primer and semi-gloss paint by Mythic.<br /><br />After sanding, how many coats of primer, and how many coats of paint do you recommend?<br /><br />Any other suggestions?<br /><br />Thanks very much.<br />Jan

painting your birch 3/4" plywood Q# 2381 / Submitted 2/25/2010

Apply one full, wet coat of the primer and let dry overnight at least. Sand with 220-240 grit sandpaper (SandBlaster 3M is a good choice).<br /><br />Remove the dust with damp cloth and repeat. If the surface is till rough (it's normal for some more) sand again with the paper. <br /><br />Apply two coats of the paint, If you need to sand lightly between coats it's OK.

I need a close match for McCloskey Tungseal stain - Light Oak 1917.

McCloskey Tungseal Stain Q# 2379 / Submitted 2/22/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. There is no replacement for the Tungseal Light Oak. You will have to try on your own to find a Varathane brand or Minwax brand that matches your requirements. <br /><br />If all fails and you have a bit of the stain left, try a Sherwin Williams Branch location that is listed in your yellow pages or phone book as a "Commercial Branch". They may be able to use their computer and experience in color matching to mix you up a replacement color in their wiping stain base. It's better to deal with the commercial branches if possible, particularly if you are a contractor or small business in the trades. <br /><br />For Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

Is there A store near me that sale McCloskey toungseal oil base stain I live in Rochester N. Y. 14611

wood stain Q# 2378 / Submitted 2/21/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. <br /><br />There is an on-line store that lists current stains that match the old McCloskey Colors here:<br /><br />http://www.o-geepaint.com/ArchiCoats/cabot.shtml<br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

where can I find McCloskey Tungseal Wood Stain Light Oak <br /><br />Thank You <br />Bob

McCloskey Tungseal Wood Stain Q# 2377 / Submitted 2/20/2010

It has been discontinued and the folks that bought McCloskey (Cabot Wood Coatings) says there is no match. <br /><br />Jeff

I'm trying to match our original woodwork which was stained with tungseal fruitwood stain about 30 years ago. I can no longer locate tungseal stain and need to know what would be a good match. I've had poor luck so far. Jan

matching wood stain Q# 2374 / Submitted 2/15/2010

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a suggested replacement. <br />The Cabot color that replaces it is also called Fruitwood. <br /><br />If all fails and you have a bit of the stain left, try a Sherwin Williams Branch location that is listed in your yellow pages or phone book as a "Commercial Branch". They may be able to use their computer and experience in color matching to mix you up a replacement color in their wiping stain base. It's better to deal with the commercial branches if possible, particularly if you are a contractor or small business in the trades. <br /><br />For Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

Our stairway and foyer in our home is mainly fruitwood color. WE would like to use minwax gel stain on the stairs but cannot find fruitwood stain in the gel. What stain color do you recommend to use?<br />Linda Permut

minwax gel stain Q# 2368 / Submitted 1/23/2010

Find a distributor in your area for Old Masters Oil Based Gel Stains. They have fruitwood. <br /><br />http://www.oldmastrs.com/products/gelstns.html<br /><br />Jeff

Can I use Minwax wood stain and top it with Sherwin-Williams laquer? I was told by someone that they are not compitable. Any help I can get would be fine.

Minwax oil base wood stain Q# 2363 / Submitted 12/24/2009

If by "lacquer" you mean a standard nitrocellulose, lacquer thinner based lacquer, I see no problems as long as the stain is dry. If you mean a waterborne lacquer, there might be problems with some of the Minwax oil stains. Some pre-catalyzed lacquers may have problems, but these usually can be mitigated with the use of a vinyl sealer. <br />Minwax is owned by Sherwin Williams, so I would think it may be prudent to ask SW rather than someone's opinion. When dealing with SW it's best to ask questions at the commercial branches rather than the consumer stores. <br /><br />Jeff

I have partially completed a project (blanket chest) constructed of 3/4" sandply after discovering that it was not a very good quality for staining. Should I scrap the project and start over with oak plywood or will this turn out acceptable and how should I proceed with staining?

staining sandeply Q# 2359 / Submitted 12/7/2009

Any plywood can be hard to stain, but as a rule, the open grained oak plys do better with wood stains than tighter grained birches, maples as well as the wood used in sandeply. <br /><br />You can control staining penetratation and appearance on the sandply by using a stain controller first. Minwax makes the product - just make sure to use the oil based stain controller for oil based stains and the water based controller for waterbased stains. <br /><br />At this point I would suggest trying some controller/stain on a scrap piece and see if the appearance is acceptable to you. <br /><br />For future reference, sandeply is best finished clear or painted. <br /><br />Jeff

I need to buy or get a match for red mahogany #940

McCloskey tungseal wood stain Q# 2355 / Submitted 11/18/2009

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a suggested replacement. <br />As I recall the McCloskey Red Mahogany was pretty close to the Minwax stain of the same name so this might be a suitable replacement. The Cabot color that replaces it is also called Red Mahogany #8131. <br /><br />If all fails and you have a bit of the stain left, try a Sherwin Williams Branch location that is listed in your yellow pages or phone book as a "Commercial Branch". They may be able to use their computer and experience in color matching to mix you up a replacement color in their wiping stain base. It's better to deal with the commercial branches if possible, particularly if you are a contractor or small business in the trades. <br /><br />For Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

What readily available clear finishes are compatible and appropriate for use with or over the factory prefinshed Columbia or equivalent hardwood plywood.

Columbia Ply's UV prefinished plywood Q# 2353 / Submitted 11/17/2009

The finish that's used on the pre-finished ply will have to abraded lightly to insure adhesion. Use 400-600 grit CAMI sandaper or 600 grit P (FEPA grade) sandpaper and then wipe the residue away. <br />Common finsihes available from a lumber/plywood/cabinet distributer would be solvent based acrylic lacquer (CAB-Acrylic),nitrocellulose lacquer and most precats. Water-based acrylics can be used as well. <br />I'd avoid finishes from a Home Center or DIY Center because you never really know what you're getting. Ones I've run into would be waterbased acrylics and poly (Minwax and Varathane). Avoid oil based polyurethanes. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

I have a teak wall clock and coffee table that I would like to put in a room with a woodstove. It can be quite warm in there, will the heat damage the teak?

Teak Furniture- Indoor Q# 2350 / Submitted 11/1/2009

Teak is a very stable wood and should hold up fine in a warm room. You can leave it unfinished or finished.<br /><br />Jeff

Hello There<br />I am looking for a <br />stain by Tungseal<br />that is product<br />#1153 Pecan.<br />Do you have it and<br />is it available for<br />me to purchase ?<br />THANKS SO MUCH<br />Suzanne Carr

Tungseal wood finish product Pecan #1153 Q# 2349 / Submitted 10/29/2009

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a suggested replacement. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br />Could you please forward my email or put me in touch with this questioner from Sep 9, 2009. We are a nonprofit building materials warehouse and I believe I have 30-40 DRUMS of this material from McCloskey/Valspar.<br />I can be reached at <br />Attn: Charles Shafer<br />New Build Warehouse<br />2419 Beekman St<br />Cincinnati, OH 45214<br />Tel 513-471-5500<br />cshafer.newbuild@fuse.net<br /><br /><br />Thanks

Tungseal Products Q# 2343 / Submitted 10/20/2009

The person who asked about the product can be contacted here.<br /><br />gerrydecave@earthlink.net<br /><br />Jeff

i need to locate this stain

tungseal wood stain walnut#937 Q# 2337 / Submitted 9/19/2009

The McCloskey branded stain was discontinued 4 years ago. It is not made anymore. According to the folks who bought McCloskey, Cabot Interior Wood Stain #8130 replaces it and should be a match.<br /><br />Jeff

I can no longer find McCloskey Tungseal oil stain with high solids. The color is dark walnut and the number is 7613. I need tons of it for my business.

McCloskey tungseal Q# 2336 / Submitted 9/5/2009

The McCloskey brand name was purchased by Cabot coatings about 5 years and the Tungseal line of stains discontinued. You might call Cabot Customer service at the number below and see if they have a suggested replacement. <br />As I recall the McCloskey Walnut stain used Gilsonite (a natural mineral like tar) as the colorant. The Minwax Jacobean or Dark Walnut also use this so they might be a suitable replacement. Look for a stain that lists Gilsonite as one of the ingredients. <br /><br />Cabot Customer Service <br /><br />Technical Hotline within the US and Canada <br />1-800-US-STAIN <br />Technical Hotline outside of the US and Canada <br />978-465-1900 <br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

Is it possible to get samples of the wood veneer?

samples Q# 2319 / Submitted 6/18/2009

Contact Customer Service for this request.<br /><br />Eastern US 800.237.2428<br />Western US/Canada 800.547.1791<br />Northeast US/Canada 888.664.1964<br />Central US 800.760.3341<br />Imports 800.808.9080<br /><br />Jeff

What does center balnace mean?

burnt walnut center balance Q# 2311 / Submitted 5/28/2009

A center balance match is a way of arranging the veneer on a standard size plywood panel. It is typically used in architectural applications. It means that the individual veneer pieces are all the same width and arranged so there is a edge-to-edge joint in the center of the panel. The result of this is that grain patterns produced are even and symmetrical within each panel. In a center balance match there are always an even number of veneers. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

can i topcoat minwax antique oil finish with zar urithane

topcoating Q# 2309 / Submitted 5/22/2009

Yes you can. <br /><br />1. Assuming you are using oil based Zar polyurethane, all you have to do is scuff the Antique oil with 600 grit sandpaper, then wipe the residue from sanding with some mineral spirits on a rag. Then apply the Zar. <br /><br />2. If you are using Zar waterborne Urethane, then sand the Antique Oil with 600 grit, remove the residue with mineral spirits and then apply one coat of a product called Zinsser SealCoat Universal Shellac Sealer. Make sure it's SealCoat and not one of their other shellac products. Let dry, sand lightly again with the 600 grit, then remove the residue with a lightly water-dampened rag. Let dry and then apply the Zar. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello, my company uses your "green" wood veneer products in our closets systems. I am trying to compile informaiton for our clients about a safe way to clean their wood Veneer. Please let me know how I can attain this information. <br />Thank You<br />Brianna Lengel-Bail<br />Closets and Kitchens Vango<br />www.ckvango.com

Cleaning Wood Veneer Q# 2307 / Submitted 5/11/2009

As long as the wood product you used is pre-finished by Columbia or finished with some sort of protective finish (varnish, lacquer polyurethane) you can clean it with a damp cloth with just a little dishwashing detergent (like Dawn). Other products that can be used are Pledge and most consumer wood polishes and cleaners. <br /><br />Jeff

Can no longer find this product to mix the stain for my house what cabot base can I use to get the same mixing color stain

McCloskey TungSeal clear tint base 1900 Q# 2297 / Submitted 4/14/2009

It appears from Cabots website that you would use the product #8120 Natural base to make a custom stain color. You would have to visit the website to find a dealer <br /><br />http://www.cabotstain.com/<br /><br />or call their Hotline at 1-800-US-STAIN to get more information. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

Is there any product I can use to touch up scratches on your prefinished plywoods?

touching up flat line finishes Q# 2296 / Submitted 4/3/2009

Depends on the severity of the scratch. Superficial or light scratches can be handled with paste wax or a clear polish. If they are deep you might try inpainting with some clear lacquer. <br />Because the finish used doesn't remelt, deep scratches will probably show so it would be best to use damaged material on insides where it won't be seen. It should also go without saying that careful handling to avoid scratches in the first place should be practiced. <br /><br />Jeff

I need to paint some prefinished Chinese birch plywood on one side. What kind of paint and what kind of prep do I need?<br /><br />Thanks

painting prefinished Chinese plywood Q# 2295 / Submitted 4/1/2009

Sand the surface with a no-load premium sandapaper such as 3M 216u or Mirka Royal in 220 or 240 grit. Remove the sanding dust and debris with Naphtha, then prime the surface with a shellac based primer called BIN, made by Zinsser. When dry, sand smooth with 320 grit and then apply any paint you wish. It can be lacquer, oil or water based. <br /><br />You can subsitute another primer if you use a specialty product such as conversion varnish or pre-cat lacquer, just makes sure you tell your supplier that you are painting on a UV-cured acrylated clear finish. If he's not sure which primer to use I would suggest a pigmented vinyl primer/sealer. <br /><br />Jeff

I purchased some of your prefinished birch plywood for some pantry shelves. I would like to match the finish on the birch hardwood I will use for the face frame. What product can I use to match your finish?

Prefinishdbirch plywood Q# 2291 / Submitted 3/28/2009

If you spray your finishes, then either a water-white conversion varnish or CAB-Acrylic lacquer in satin sheen (40 degree) over a vinyl sealer will work. <br /><br />If you brush finishes, then a waterborne non-yellowing, water clear polyurethane like General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane in satin sheen will match pretty well. <br /><br />Avoid darker or strongly amber finishes like shellac and oil based polyurethanes and varnishes. <br /><br />Jeff

We are in the process of building some custom cabinets useing your pre-finished ply. Our customer has panel doors on the lower have of the cabinets with glass doors above in the same cabinet. We would like to match the interior of he cabinet with the same color as the exterior (true white). Can we paint this part with cat varnish?

Finishing Q# 2288 / Submitted 3/27/2009

You need to establish a mechanical bond between the finished ply and your finish by sanding with 240 grit. Then wipe with Naphtha. I would urge you to cross-check my following recommendation with your finish supplier, but typically I would use a vinyl sealer that's compatible with your catalyzed varnish as a tie-coat to your cat varnish. <br /><br />Jeff


out door table top finish Q# 2276 / Submitted 2/22/2009

You use what is called an exterior gloss varnish, also known as a marine or spar varnish. Plan on 6-8 coats. <br />My experience with the consumer versions of these and consumer exterior poly is that there are poor. You might see 1-2 years out of this finish. It's better that you get a product sold for boats as they are typically more durable (and more expensive. Try a search for "Interlux Schooner Varnish" which is one of the better ones. <br /><br />If you can live with the color they add a "system" like that made by Sikkens is even better<br /><br />http://www.loghelp.com/finishes/finishes3a.html#123plus<br /><br />The transparent iron oxides in the final coat will add color, but these pigments have a tremendous UV blocking ability. <br /><br />Jeff

what is the most appropriate glue to fix two pieces of white melamime particle board, surface to surface

adhesive for white melamime particleboard Q# 2274 / Submitted 2/18/2009

I don't think such a glue exists. The main issue I see it that you will trap the solvents in the glue and they can't escape. <br />There is a product called Roo-Glue<br /><br />http://www.rooglue.com/rooclear.html<br /><br />that some have had success with, but you will need to leave it in the clamps a long time. If this is something you absolutely have to do, make sure that it's not a structural or load sensitive component. <br /><br />Jeff

I am looking for a product that can be sprayed on, rolled on or even brushed on to a variety of products. I am working on a camp where I want to do some creative things. I would love to use a sunflower board as the toilet partitions but they would need to be covered with a product similar to a lacquer. However, lacquer has high VOC's and is not environmentally friendly. I also am doing a theme in the cabins according to the type of insulation used. If we use blue jean insulation, I want to hang blue jeans but spray them with a product to make them rigid. Same with cellulose insulation which is newspapers. I would like to spray newspapers and hang them as part of the design. Another application one of your products might also work on is if I would plaster corn stalks to the walls of a corridor. I would want to spray them with this material to make them easily cleanable and also durable. I know these are kind of off the wall ideas and it is difficult to convey it in an email. Feel free to call me at 614-573-3317 to discuss. Thanks,<br />Kerry

clear finish for materials Q# 2247 / Submitted 12/5/2008

I would look at a waterborne clear lacquer. One that comes to mind is Minwax Polycrylic, which is available just about anywhere. Since you have a non-traditional applicvation you may have to test it out first. <br /><br />Jeff

I polyed by bar top and when I went down the following morning 1 section did not come out well. How do I correct this?

Bar top Q# 2229 / Submitted 10/25/2008

Let it dry, sand it with 600 grit ultra fine sandpaper, and then re-coat it with the poly. <br /><br />Jeff

can you mix polyshade colors

mixing polyshade colors Q# 2225 / Submitted 10/19/2008

I don't see why not. All the colors are oil based and clean up with mineral spirits. <br /><br />Jeff

We make casework for science facilities. Customer specified Maple and then selected a dark stain. Now they are not happy with the blotchy appearance of the lumber-framed glass doors. I've explained the nature of the pores in Maple and the result of the interaction of the pores and dark stain. They are still hoping there is something we can do to mitigate the blotchy appearance. We buy oversized and then sand down, ending with 220 grit. We also use a UV-cure flat-line roll coat finishing system. Any ideas to make the blotchy appearance go away? They reluctantly admit this is their issue not ours, but they still hope we can come up with a solution. Thanks for anything you can come up with.

finishing maple Q# 2206 / Submitted 9/11/2008

When uneven staining happens it

Have a stained veneer table top, that I've been trying to coat with Minwax Fastdrying Poly, Glossy, oilbased. Have a hard time to get it to look good, has speckles in it, also this product seems to not be scratch resistant, is there a better solution for me? All I want is a high gloss, durable finish on my table top.<br />Thx/Paivi

waterbased poly over oilbased? Q# 2200 / Submitted 9/4/2008

Oil base poly is the most durable product a consumer can apply. Why the product is not applying well may be due to the fact that you got a fast-dry version. I don't know exactly what you mean be speckles, but this sounds either like entrapped air bubbles or dirt. <br /><br />Consider switching to a slower drying version or another brand like Cabot. Also make sure you strain it through a fine mesh strainer before applying. Many finishers also find thinning with 10% odorless mineral spirits helps in brushing. (Don't worry about the warning on the can not to thin)<br /><br />Oil based poly's do take a while to reach maximum protection against scratches and nicks so wait 30 days at least before hard use. <br /><br />You should be able to switch to a slower version or another brand as long as prep the old surface by sanding with 600 grit sandpaper and wiping the residue with a tack cloth. <br /><br />I would not use a water based poly over the oil based you have down. If you go that route, strip the finish off, re-stain and then use the water-based one. The are no significant differences between the water based poly's and the oil, and in the Minwax lineup, the oil based poly is more durable. <br /><br />Jeff


FINISH Q# 2195 / Submitted 8/20/2008

I'm sorry, but that information is not available. <br /><br />Jeff

is polyurethane compatable over gymseal?, I'm having ahard time finding gymseal in my area, all my hardware stores are switching to polyurethane, and i just want to touch up a few spots on my floors.

polyurethane Q# 2187 / Submitted 8/9/2008

Gymseal had polyurethane in it, so I would think if the floor were properly prepared, yes. The old should be cleaned and re-screened or sanded before applying the new. <br /><br />Jeff

I am trying to find any distributor that has any remaining Mcclosky stains before Valspar discontinued the "Mcclosky" brand. We mixed our stains and have repeat customers that want to match floors we sanded 5-15 years prior. I would appreciate any help or a direction to go in.<br /><br />Judy Meeks

mcclosky stains before buyout Q# 2186 / Submitted 8/9/2008

I just don't think you're going to find much out there. Here are the options I can think of. <br /><br />1. Try calling Valspar directly 1-800-345-4530 and see if they have a list of distributors that you can call.<br /><br />2. The Cabot lineup has some matching colors. I found a list here<br /><br />http://www.o-geepaint.com/ArchiCoats/cabot.shtml<br /><br />3. If you have any of the old McCloskey product, you could have it matched. A Sherwin Williams Commercial branch (not the consumer stores) in your Yellow pages should be able to help. <br /><br />4. Homestead Finishing in Cleveland lists some TungSeal quarts left in stock<br /><br />http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/PigmentStains.htm#Tungseal<br /><br />Jeff

Is columbia's hardwood flooring finished with a non-toxic finish??? Is it formelydhyde free??? All columia products or just a select few??

cloumbia hardwood floor Q# 2177 / Submitted 8/3/2008

Columbia Flooring was purchased by Mohawk Industries (a different company than Columbia Forest Products) last year, so I'm sorry but I can't answer your questions. Contact Information for Mohawk is at their website here:<br /><br />http://www.columbiaflooring.com/home.cfm<br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff

Hello Jeff,<br /><br />Ang suggested I contact you on a problem I

color shifts in dyed reconcstituted veneer Q# 2172 / Submitted 8/1/2008

My hunch is that you are seeing the result of wood that's naturally yellowing, which light woods like maple do. Tabu uses dyes in their veneer and since there really isn't a white dye (necessary for a true gray) they use a bluish black on very white wood to get a gray. You may also be seeing a shift in shade of the dye if it's a mix of 2 or more dyes. If one of the dyes is less lightfast, it fades first. At least that's my guess. <br /><br />When the wood substrate yellows, the result of the yellow/blue/black is the drab green you describe. <br /><br />While a UV additive will deter the yellowing you have to use the correct type. This one (Tinuvan 5151) has been proven pretty effective in waterbornes<br /><br />http://www.ciba.com/irgazin_lignostab_1198?pageid=13634&mode=P&prod=1367&attribs=40<br /><br />And a fairly new product that may help long term is a lignin stabilizer<br /><br />http://www.ciba.com/irgazin_lignostab_1198?pageid=13634&mode=P&prod=1367&attribs=40<br /><br />I have personally used the 5151 in a waterborne system to inhibit yellowing on birch samples and it does work. For how long I don't know. I have not personally used the Lignostab<br /><br />Unfortunately just dumping this stuff in the veneer and finish may work or it may not. You'll have to test these products by application on your specific veneer and then having an accelerated UV exposure test done. I would contact CIBA directly on this matter. They may have resources to help you out in getting samples and testing labs. Be prepared to spend some money for testing - it is not cheap. Contact information is available on the links I embedded above. <br /><br />Jeff

What exactly is acrylate and what are its environmental impacts? We use the Columbia pre-finished FSC-certified maple plywood and we have customers wanting to know this answer. Thanks, ivy from Knoend

UV cured acrylate Q# 2155 / Submitted 7/9/2008

Acrylate is a "family" of resins based upon the same general chemistry as the acrylics used in waterborne finishes, lucite and Plexiglas, to name a few. <br />The main environmental inmpact of any finish is in the solvents added to it which then are released to the air during application and drying. Because the finish used by Columbia is applied by a roller coating method at a very high solids (90+ %), there is a very small amount of solvent used. So it's environmental impact is very low. Other than a small amount of solvent that evaporates almost immediately, there is no residual toxic product to worry about when you get the plywood (like formaldehyde off-gassing)<br />There are other issues that come into play when talking about environmental impact; like the processes used to manufacture the resin and other components, whether they come from renewable resourses or such, but this is beyond my pay grade to answer. <br /><br />Generally UV-curing of finishes is recognized as a greener alternative to higher solvent based applications that release solvents into the air and need heat (generated by fossil fuels) to assist in the curing process. There have been several awards given to companies that pioneered the switch to UV curing, most notable of which was an award given to BASF for a UV curable automotive primer in 2005. <br /><br />Jeff

I do furniture refinishing as a side job in a small shop. I have an idea of the basic wood tone colors but when it comes to matching pieces and tops of tables to chairs and so forth i run into problems. Are there any good books or can you give me some advice on matching colors and the colors that i should stock? thanks john

matching colors Q# 2139 / Submitted 7/1/2008

This is something that really has to be taught to you, but there are some good places to start. <br /><br />This is a good start <br /><br />http://www.woodfinishsupply.com/ColorTheory.html<br /><br />Two books that may help you out are my latest - The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing., and Understanding Wood Finishing. My DVD may also help called Hand Applied Finishes. <br /><br />Instruction is hard to come by but you can try Mitch Kohanek at Dakota:<br /><br />http://www.woodfinishing.org/<br /><br />They have shorter Summer Workshops that will probably help. <br /><br />Jeff

We fabricate our cabinetry interiors using Columbia's 3/4" pre finished maple plywood through Aura Harwoods out of San Jose, California. The Columbia product number is # MPF18VC2W0. I spoke with an Aura representative this morning and he said they have an open PO # 12549 for this product from Columbia. I know the product has a baked on finish but what is the finish exactly. My customer would like to use some type of shelf liner on interior shelves and the product he selected states not to be used on a lacquer or urethane finish. I would appreciate if you could let me know what type of finish Columbia uses, so I can pass the information on to my customer. <br />Thank you, Judy

type of finish on pre finished maple plywood. Q# 2120 / Submitted 6/12/2008

The finish used is called a UV cured acrylate. It is not "baked" on, but rather it's exposed to ultraviolet light which causes the finish to cure (harden). It is much more solvent resistant than a lacquer or oil based urethane. <br />I ran this scenario past the technical lab guys that make the finish and they say it should not be a problem with your shelf paper. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi,<br /><br />I am building some kitchen cabinets with your pre-finished 3/4" plywood. I want the pre-finished wood for the inside. Can I paint over this finish for some end panels and undersides of these cabinets? I want the outside surfaces of the cabinets to be painted pure white.

Painting pre-finished plywood Q# 2086 / Submitted 4/28/2008

Yes. Sand the finish with 240 or 280 grit sandpaper. Wipe the residue from sanding with water and a cloth. Then prime using a product called Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 primer. Follow that with a high quality 100% acrylic paint like Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo or Sherwin Williams ProClassic. Whatever you do do not use a latex wall paint - it won't hold up to your use. <br /><br />Jeff

I have an addition being built. The contractors spilled some oil when they lubricated a drill bit on the subfloor. Oil Splatterings and spills in a 5' x 5' radius. Radiant heat will soon be installed under the subfloor. I want them to seal the soiled area before the wood underlayment is installed to prevent off gassing. Do you think an alcohol based Kilz would do the job without adding to the off gassing concern? The final floor will be an engineered wood floor. Thanks for your help.

oil spill on plywood subfloor Q# 2084 / Submitted 4/28/2008

Quite honestly, I don't know the answer. Kilz would seal the oil problem, but shellac gets soft at a fairly low temp of 150 d F, so I do not know if it's appropriate. It certainly isn't going to interfere with anything I can think of so I would say it's OK. You may want to run this past the radiant heting manufacturer as well. <br /><br />Jeff

I am planning to use UV wood plywood for a new kitchen cabinet job. The exterior of the cabinets will be painted. Is UV wood available primed 1 side/clear 1 side, or how do you recommend prepping for paint?

UV Wood Q# 2082 / Submitted 4/25/2008

You can get it finished 1 side from your distributor. <br /><br />Jeff

I have artwork on a plywood kitchen floor, which has 2 coats of water based polyurathane, applied with lambs wool applicator. Winter in NYS has worn the 2 thin coats nearest the door. Sand and Salt and dogs nails, have caused chipping, which I want to avoid effecting the artwork in other areas of the floor. Artwork has been covered with scatter rugs. Spring is now the time to make a more durable, more permanent protective coat. What do you recommend - I don't want it to turn yellow. Thanks for your reply

acrylic artwork on painted plywood with Water bsd plyurthne Q# 2081 / Submitted 4/24/2008

There are all sorts of products out there for floors, but it sounds like a couple of things are going on. <br /><br />1. You may have used either a urethane not intended for floors, or it just wasn't tough enough. <br />2. You may not have applied enough coats. <br /><br />You have a rather high wear requirement due to the dogs and such. The best waterborne urethanes are made by this company here:<br /><br />http://www.bona.com/en/US/Country_Start_page/<br /><br />I suggest you look at one of their high-traffic products and apply a minumum of 2 coats, possibly 3. You will have to prepare the old surface properly which includes cleaning and possible sanding, but Bona should provide assistance. <br /><br />Jeff

Please recommend the correct finish teak furniture in a bathroom.

teak bathroom vanity Q# 2065 / Submitted 4/7/2008

A good durable finish should be expected from a product called Waterlox. www.waterlox.com<br />Teak can pose drying issues with oil based finishes so I would use sealer coat of shellac called Sealcoat www.zinsser.com prior to the Waterlox application. <br /><br />Jeff

can I paint 3/4" pre-finished closet doors?<br />If so, do I need to prepare the door in any way?<br />thanks<br />L.S.NY City

painting pre-finished doors Q# 2062 / Submitted 4/1/2008

Yes you can paint them but you need to sand the surface first with 220 grit sandpaper. Remove the residue with a damp cloth and then paint. <br /><br />Jeff

We have a danish dining table in teak. It is about 20 year old and has an oid finish. Over the years, the surface has developed some whitish spots which I assume are from heat. Can the white spots be removed with refinishing the table? What is the best process for refinishing the surface?

teak dining table Q# 2052 / Submitted 3/22/2008

Generally products such as the one in this link<br /><br />http://www.howardproducts.com/restora.htm<br /><br />work fine. Be careful when you use the product and I would test it on a small area first. At the very least it should improve the look quite a bit. <br /><br />Jeff

Thanks for the info... do you have the finish manufacturer for the architectural firm who is doing the project. I need to send this to them. They need to have the info for their chain of custody and LEED certification.<br /><br />Your question: Does your prefinished panels use a waterborne finish with no formaldehyde or HAPS hazardous air pollutants and is it zero or low voc.<br /> <br />Your answer: It is not a waterborne, but rather a very high solids, near zero VOC (less than .1 lbs per gallon) that's roll coated onto the plywood and cured by UV. It is formaldehyde free. As fas as I know it is HAPS free or close to it.

Previous question Q# 2048 / Submitted 3/17/2008

The plywood itself is LEED certified. As for the coating applied to it, the LEED certification is not determinable at this time. The coatings manufacturer and Columbia are working on this aspect and I do not have a definite answer. Unfortunately that's the best I can do for you at the present time. <br /><br />Jeff

Does your prefinished panel use a waterborne finish with no formaldehyde or HAPS <br />hazardous air pollutants<br />and is it zero or low voc.<br /><br />Thanks:<br /><br />Brian

pre finished panels Q# 2045 / Submitted 3/11/2008

It is not a waterborne, but rather a very high solids, near zero VOC (less than .1 lbs per gallon) that's roll coated onto the plywood and cured by UV. It is formaldehyde free. As fas as I know it is HAPS free or close to it. <br /><br />Jeff

What is gun-in finishing?

Burn-in finishing Q# 2041 / Submitted 3/6/2008

I'm not sure if you are looking for an answer to the subject - "burn-in finishing", or "gun-in finishing". The latter may be a typo, but here goes. <br /><br />1. "Burn-in" refers to a type of topcoat that partially or fully melts "burns" into it's prior coat. Whether you apply 2 or 20 coats, the result is one homogenous thickness of finish, rather than many layers. Two types of finishes that do this are nitrocellulose lacquer and shellac. Finishes that do not burn in are polyurethane and many performance finishes such as conversion varnish. <br /><br />2. "Gun-in" is not a term I have come across or am aware of. Spray guns are used to apply finishes like lacquers quickly and efficiently, so that may be what you are looking for. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello, my husband and I just inherited a teak dinning set (table, chairs, buffet and hutch). It is currently a orange/light brown colour. I would like it to be a dark brown. Is there any oil i can use to darken this or do i have to stain it? <br />Thank you

Teak Care Q# 2039 / Submitted 3/3/2008

If it is finished you cannot darken it very much by applying a dark stain or oil over it. I would suggest stripping it and then re-staining.<br /><br />However, be very careful. Many Danish Import finishes can be tough to strip completetly and sanding is required to remove the finish enough for staining. It is very easy to sand through the veneer as it is very thin. <br /><br />My suggestion would be to have a professional look at it and give you a quote. <br /><br />Jeff

I ordered Prefinished Maple, BOTH sides, I received ONE side Prefinished, what finishing Product do you use? I was told to use: General Finishing Products. ARM-A-SEAL then SEAL-A-CLEAR,Then I tried A Water Base Clear, BOTH Are so far off your color (a yelloe Tint)on the Plywood.I'm building an Entertainment Center and need BOTH sides finished the same Color. Thank you<br />Ron McCullough

3/4"x4'x8' maple prefinished plywood Q# 2038 / Submitted 3/2/2008

The finishing product that's used is an industrial product that's not available to the public or shops because it's manufactured for roll coating operations. It's hard to say exactly what to do at this point if neither of the finishes I mentioned come close. It may be that the other side is a different species. So I'd need to know more information. <br /><br />1. Exactly what product did you get?<br />2. Was this a mistake by the distributor?<br />3. Where did you buy the product? <br /><br />If what you are seeing is a lack of yellow, and it needs to be darker then I would add a very small amount of yellow oxide pigment to one of the GF products. The dealer that you got the plywood from may be able to assist you if they also carry finishing products. An alternative method is to use a very dilute yellow/brown dye and stain the wood first, let dry and then apply one of the finishes. <br /><br />If the other side is a different species of wood or was a different slicing method, it may not finish exactly the same, even if you were to use the original finish. <br /><br />Jeff


formaldehyde-free panels Q# 2036 / Submitted 2/28/2008

I have referred your question to Columbia Customer Service. In case no one gets back to you, here are the numbers:<br /><br />Eastern US | 800.237.2428 <br />Western US/Canada | 800.547.1791 <br />Northeast US/Canada | 888.664.1964 <br />Central US | 800.760.3341 <br /><br /><br />Jeff

How can I tell if my contractor used 1 2 or 3 coats of urethane?

fast drying minwax polyurethane Q# 2029 / Submitted 2/24/2008

It depends on if a sealer was used and whether the poly was thinned and if so, how much. If the poly was used straight from the can with no sealer then I would say 1 coat would look like a very natural, "in the wood" look. As you go to 2-3 coats you can definitely see a thickness of finish on top of the wood.<br /><br />What you could also do is buy some of the poly and using the same wood and same sheen of poly, apply 1, 2 and 3 coats and compare. <br /><br />If this a dispute that will eventually get to legal proceedings then you would have to hire a firm to perform a "dry film thickness" test that requires the use of some fairly expensive measuring equipment. You may have to extract a piece of the wood in question and get it to them. Let me know if it gets to this point and I can possibly refer you to a testing company. <br /><br />Jeff

Is there a recommended low VOC water based paint that is recommended for painting plywood. We never had trouble until the For.free ply. Our only two paint jobs have warped substantially. The first job we used Benjamin Moore Eco Freindly primer and paint. On the second job we used Olympic SealZAll primer. I don't know if the contractor has painted it yet or if it is warping in primer. These doors are only 16" wide by 22" tall and are edgebanded.

formaldehyde free ply warpage Q# 2028 / Submitted 2/20/2008

As far as I know, there is no recommended low voc paint for the plywood. Warpage could be caused by a number of factors. With doors I would makes sure primer/paint is applied to both sides. Priming one side without doing the other side fairly quickly may also do it. <br />You don't mention the ply thickness, but would might want to try the following if the problem continues. <br /><br />Use a shellac based primer like Kilz or Bin. This isn't low VOC, but alcohol isn't a terrible solvent to work with and certainly isn't nasty when it off-gasses.<br /><br />I will need some more information:<br /><br />What grade are you using?<br /><br />Are you priming these before installing them? <br /><br />Jeff

I just bought a teak kitchen table that is surrounded by windows - most of which face South. Thus, the table is in direct sunlight most of the day. Currently, the table has a nice dark color - how can I preserve the color, while protecting the wood from the sun and food/wine stain? Help!<br />Thank you.

Protection for an indoor teak kitchen table Q# 2027 / Submitted 2/19/2008

There isn't a whole lot you can do about the sunlight. The finish that's on the table now (I'm assuming it's got a finish - right??), should protect from food and wine, however you could give it a coat of paste wax if it doesn't have much finish on it. Most Teak has a very natural looking "in the wood" finish which is a lacquer. <br />The sunlight is the biggest problem. Normal ambient (not direct) will slowly turn the brownish teak an orangey color which most people don't object to. Strong sunlight will bleach it and make it a lighter yellowy-brown which people usually do object to. I'd suggest some sort of UV blocking filters on your windows which will certainly help. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a sphere made out of plywood ( 90 cms diameter), which I want to finish with bee wax. My question is if it is okay to use a sealer before waxing or should I only use wax?<br /><br />I appreciate very much your feed back.<br />Nicolas Cardenas<br />Bogota, Colombia.

Plywood wax finish Q# 2017 / Submitted 2/13/2008

You can do it either way, but you'll get better results if you seal it first. I use one application of shellac for the sealer when doing a "wax" finish. <br /><br />Jeff

I've found some beautiful pre-finished/pre-stained PureBond birch plywood but I want to tone the color a bit. I like to use water-based finishes and plan to use TransTint dye to get the right color. My question is, "what is the prep required before spraying and will my finish bite into the UV cured pre-finish?"

Applying toner to pre-finished plywood Q# 2011 / Submitted 2/4/2008

I don't have any data on toning the plywood, so you should probably do a test run on scrap and then an adhesion test which is outlined in my latest book, The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing. <br /><br />I would dry sand the surface with 400 grit, then wipe the residue with denatured alcohol. Then apply a wet coat of dewaxed shellac. Then you can put the TransTint/dewaxed shellac mix or the tinted waterborne over that once it's dry. <br />I'm afraid that if you tone with the tinted waterborne directly on the UV coating it won't stick, but you could try an adhesion test with it and see. Topcoat the toner with clear to lock down the color. <br /><br />Jeff

I just purchased 8 sheets of this product in Maple, finished on Both Sides. I'm going to build an entertainment center. I'm going to make the Face Frame out of Hard Wood, Maple. what product should I use to finish the Hard Wood to match the finish of the Plywood, how do I repair any scratches incured on the Plywood??. How do I fill in any voids that may a accur??? Thank you, Ron McCullough, Vero Beach, Fla

3/4x4x8 Prefinished plywood Q# 2009 / Submitted 2/1/2008

1. You can use a solvent (lacquer thinner based) CAB acrylic or water clear Conversion Varnish if you are a pro. If not most waterborne finishes will provide a good match. Minwax Polycrylic or General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane are 2 brands that work. I favor the General Finishes product as it brushes better. <br /><br />2. If the scratch is deep, Mohawks Pre-cat aerosols as well as the Konig line of touch up products will work pretty well. Use the product that's recommended for catalyzed varnish, and make sure it is a non-yellowing resin (like acrylic) so it ages the same as the original coating.<br /><br />http://www.cdgkonig.com/<br /><br />http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/<br /><br />If the scratches are superficial, you can try polishing them out with a product made by Mirka Abrasives called Abralon. This is used with a random orbit sander or by hand and is available in very fine grits of 1000, 2000, or 4000. <br />In a pinch some finishers have reported back that paste wax will also work. Some use the wax with 0000 steel wool. This technique has the added advantage of making the finish silky smooth. <br /><br />3. If you mean voids in the inner core material visible on the edges, typically you cover the edges with a product called "edge-banding". These are available in real wood species from just about any place that sells plywood. It is heat applied with a househol iron and will look much better than putty or patching material. It finishes just like real wood. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

I sanded a portion of our table top to remove a gouge, and now it is much darker. Can I try bleaching this dark area to make it similar to the rest of the table top? What do you suggest?<br />With thanks,<br />Sid

refinishing oiled indoor danish teak table Q# 2004 / Submitted 1/25/2008

I hate to tell you this but you have a problem that's probably not easily repaired. There are 2 possible problems depending on whether the top is solid wood or veneer. I'll start with the worst scenario. <br /><br />1. If the top is veneered, you may have actually sanded through the teak and into the core material. It may be hard to tell, but see if the grain or texture of the wood is distinctly different in the area you sanded. If so, the top is more or less ruined and you'll have to call a professional in to see if he can salvage it and at what expense. <br /><br />2. If the wood grain is still apparent, either the top is solid wood or you haven't sanded all the way through the veneer. All you've done is sanded away the lighter yellow/orange surface patination.<br /><br />Now - the scolding. You should never sand away a defect in a top. This may not only cause worse problems, but it results in a low spot that is visible, particularly if you apply more finish. <br /><br />If you want to try and just get out of the jam and repair this yourself,the only thing I can suggest is to cover it up using the touch up crayons and markers commonly available. Bleach will possibly make the area lighter (if you've sanded through to the core material it will have minimal effect), but it will be hard to control and might possibly make a worse mess. If you do want to use a bleach, make sure you use a 2 part (also called A/B bleach)<br /><br />My advice is to either do the best you can with the touch up crayons or call a pro. Hopefully it's solid wood, and all they will have to do is abrade it flat again, then bleach it with a 2 part bleach and re-color to match the existing patina. <br /><br />Jeff

When staining a fleece backed veneer, do the different slicing processes make a difference in the appearance? I know the grain pattern will be different, but what about fuzzy surfaces, even stain, etc? Looking at staining various species including oak, maple, and pine.

finishing different sliced veneers Q# 2002 / Submitted 1/23/2008

Any change in the way a veneer is prepared or layed up can affect staining or finishing outcomes. In other woods, anything that changes the texture or absorbtion of stain will affect the stain. Typically a wiping type stain will show the most difference, while a spray, no-wipe will show the least. So experimentation is always advised. <br /><br />Jeff

Is there a way to reduce the strong grain contrast when staining (i.e., medium brown) red oak? JA

finishes Q# 1993 / Submitted 1/11/2008

<br />Not really. Most stains will accentuate the contrast. The only one that doesn't do it as much is a water soluble dye powder made into a stain. <br />I suggest you look for an alternative wood like birch or maple if you wish to avoid grain contrast. <br /><br />Jeff

My teak cabinet is 30 years old and has a dim finish. Should I clean it and with what?<br />Thanks.

cleaning indoor teak furniture Q# 1988 / Submitted 1/8/2008

You can clean your furniture with a proprietary "Teak" or furniture cleaner, however plain old mineral spirits will work if you have some on hand. After cleaning, I usually wipe with a lightly warm water dampened cloth to remove any water soluble dirt (most dirt is mineral spirits soluble). <br /><br />The easiest thing to apply after that is a furniture paste wax. I would get a brown or darker colored one for the teak. You could also apply a wipe on oil based finish for more protection and deeper luster. Seal A Cell (www.generalfinishes.com) is one brand. <br /><br />Jeff

I would like to use the prefinished maple ply along with solid maple face frame. I want to match sheen with the pre-finished ply. I usually use an enduro water-based poly sanding sealer and satin top-coat. Would this match the pre-finished ply?

finishing Q# 1985 / Submitted 1/5/2008

I think that should match pretty closely. Always test a piece first. <br />However - even when using the same finish on maple solid and maple ply, you might see some color differences. You can usually compensate for this by adding a few drops of a liquid dye like TransTint Medium Brown to finish if the solid comes up lighter. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff, what method would you recommend as the best preparation for staining cherry: a pre-stain or thinned sanding sealer followed by finish sanding? <br />Thank you, Vincent

pre-stain or sealer? Q# 1982 / Submitted 1/1/2008

Both techniques work well, as long as you can pre-test on some scraps. Generally though, oil based wiping stains work with the pre-mixed controllers and are faster. Water based stains should be used with the thinned sealer/pre-mixed product that are allowed to dry and then sanded. <br /><br />Jeff

Where can I buy your products?<br /><br />Do you have kitchen cabinets / doors ?

availability Q# 1979 / Submitted 12/24/2007

Call the numbers below for dealers in your area. <br /><br /><br />800.237.2428 | U.S. East <br />800.547.1791 | U.S. West <br />450.437.1964 | Canada <br />800.808.9080 | Imports <br />

I had a cherry book case professionally finished by a furniture mfg.He is now gone.Question is,what he used.A friend saw it done and said he first sprayed it completely black,than wiped it off,leaving it only in the grain.Than a sealer,than a cherry stain.What was the black product.

staining cherry Q# 1960 / Submitted 11/17/2007

It is some sort of stain, but I really think your friend has the sequence wrong. Typically the phrase "sprayed it black, then wiped off the excess leaving it in the grain" refers to a technique called glazing which would be done after the cherry stain and sealer. The sealer allows the black to only stay in the grain which is what's implied in your question. <br /><br />Black glazes are not common finishing materials, but you can get it from the source below<br /><br />http://woodfinishersdepot.com/index.php/cPath/40?osCsid=165a348a8d1419090b3793bc8af1212b<br /><br />Make sure you order the right glaze to use with your topcoat. So the sequence is:<br /><br />1. Apply cherry stain<br />2. Apply a sealer, sand with 320 grit when dry<br />3. Apply your black glaze over the entire surface, wipe off before it starts to dry. <br />4. Apply clear topcoats to protect the glaze. <br /><br />The effect of black glaze applied in this manner can be seen here:<br /><br />http://www.kraftmaid.com/doorsfinishes/index.cfm?navigationid=335X0&finishid=44<br /><br />The first stain you use determines the background color. The effect is most dramatic when it's a light color. The darker the color is, the less dramatic the black glaze will be. <br /><br />Jeff

i bought oak veneer plywood from home depot in bel air md uour sticker was on end of plywood.i am building a 6 piece bookcase for a customer and only when i put on poly at the end of the job soft spots apear turn black. i am using golden oak stain so these spots show up bad .these spots are in the middle of the board.home depot has given me new wood for this problem but my last unit is built and these spots have shown up it takes 24 hours to build from start to finish.my labor cost should be given back. home depot buys from you .can you help me out.thank you.

3/4" x4x8oak veneer plywood vc c-3 r/c red Q# 1956 / Submitted 11/5/2007

I am sorry you are experiencing difficulty, but your best bet is to pursue your complaint with Home Depot as I am confident they have some type of process for dealing with product performance. Our Ask the Expert page on our site is actually set up to handle technical questions rather than to resolve product issues, so in that vein I can tell you that, although I can't be sure without actually examining the product, what you are describing sounds like there may be voids under the face that could be creating the "soft" spots, and these indeed would take stain differently. There are grade standards for the core options for decorative panel products, but these do allow for small holes up to 1" in diameter. Hope this helps a little.<br /> <br />Ang

my contractor installed your out of africa walnut planks and did not clean up the adhesive. He has since gone out of business. How do I remove the excess adhesive?

flooring adhesive Q# 1955 / Submitted 11/5/2007

Flooring adhesive that has cured is one of the most tenacious glues in the industry and is extremely difficult to remove. It is not something that I could advise a homeowner to tackle. <br /><br />Get a hold of the glue manufacturer and see what they recommend. Solvents generally do not work, or ones that may work will damage the finish. Usually mechanical removal like scraping is the only option and this may damage the finish. You might have to replace the affected boards.<br /><br />Either way, my advice is to find another installer in your area and see if they can help you out. <br /><br />Jeff

I'm making cabinet with prefinished maple europly. Unfortunately the trucking company has scratched some of my panels thet were cut at the cabinet shop. The scratches are from debri between the sheets. Some cut through the finish, others have dented the surface. Is there a known procedure for fixing or hiding these scratces? Can dents be steamed out as well?

Prefinished Europly Q# 1954 / Submitted 11/1/2007

As a reactive coating, the UV finished panels do not touch up as easily as single component nitrocellulose lacquers and pre-cats. There is no ``burn-in`` of new to old finish. However, most repair folks who run into catalyzed and urethane finishes can do a manageable job. <br /><br />If the scratch is deep, Mohawks Pre-cat aerosols as well as the Konig line of touch up products will work pretty well. Use the product that's recommended for catalyzed varnish, and make sure it is a non-yellowing resin (like acrylic) so it ages the same as the original coating.<br /><br />http://www.cdgkonig.com/<br /><br />http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/<br /><br />If the scratches are superficial, you can try polishing them out with a product made by Mirka Abrasives called Abralon. This is used with a random orbit sander or by hand and is available in very fine grits of 1000, 2000, or 4000. <br />In a pinch some finishers have reported back that paste wax will also work. Some use the wax with 0000 steel wool. This technique has the added advantage of making the finish silky smooth. <br /><br /><br />Jeff Jewitt<br />

Hi,<br /><br />I have just installed some custom cabinets made of europly. I was wondering what care and maintenance you recommend for europly.<br /><br />Thanks,<br /><br />Charity

Care and Maintenance Q# 1945 / Submitted 10/23/2007

The care and maintenance schedule would depend on the finish you used. Generally, cabinet grade finishes need only dusting and light cleaning with a damp cloth or sponge. Stubborn spots can be removed with water and a little Dawn. Avoid strong cleaners like Windex or Formula 409. <br /><br />You might want to check with the finish manufacturer as schedules may vary a bit depending on the finish used. <br /><br />Jeff

Is there a plywood product or a finish that would work well for a soffit panel? We would like to use a birch or maple product from Columbia Forest Products but are unsure which combination of product and finish would work best.

Soffit panel Q# 1918 / Submitted 9/20/2007

You need an exterior grade plywood and an exterior paint for best results. If you're after a clear finish use a marine/spar varnish. <br /><br />There isn't a pre-finished product that I would recommend, but you might run this past Ang at the other forum to see if I am mistaken. I don't know exactly which exterior grade plywood you want as I am familiar primarily with the interior lineup. <br /><br />Jeff

Where can "propylene glycol" be purchased? Are there any books or other referances you can recommend which clearly cover using dyes, application techniques & spray deing/staining very large cabinet projects?

low oder finishing 2 Q# 1916 / Submitted 9/17/2007

Propylene glycol can be purchased from on-line sellers of supplies and folks who like to make cosmetics and other things at home. An Internet search will pull up information. <br /><br />I don't know of much covered in the way of large projects, but the best 2 books out there are Flexners Understanding Wood Finishing and my book, The Complete Guide to Finishing. You can peruse them at a local library or book store to see if there is the info you're after.

I want to send you pics of end tables I purchased they are 30 x 30 with birds eye maple booked matched veneer. I would like to know if you can take a look at them and give me your opinion on the quality and maybe what they are worth if anything.

Birds Eye Maple end tables Q# 1915 / Submitted 9/16/2007

I am not the right person for this as I don't do appraisals. Best thing for you to do is call around your area and see if an auction house or antique store will be able to give you an estimate on the value and workmanship.

I have been wood working for 5 years now and my quest to perfect my finishing skills is still underway. I am trying to eliminate solvent based stains and clear finishes. I have been using Hoodfinishing's Hydrocote water based lacquer with great results. My only issue now is the coloring/stain. I prefer to spray everything, including stain. However water based/low oder stains such as General Finishes must be applied by hand. I read a fair about dyes (waterborne) and am wondering if this is the way to go. Most of my work is very large so I need something which will not dry too quickly. <br />Many thanks, <br />Jean-Christophe

low oder finshing Q# 1913 / Submitted 9/10/2007

There are many products which can be applied quickly and without wiping once you perfect the techniques. Either water based powders or liquid concentrates can be used. If you need to slow down the evaporation rate you can add up to 20% propylene glycol. <br /><br />Jeff

we use a lot of the uv cured plywood and we have a hard time dealing with scratches in the surface. Is there any advice you can offer for repairing surface scratches?

repairing scratches in uv finish Q# 1905 / Submitted 8/30/2007

As a reactive coating, the UV finished panels do not touch up as easily as single component nitrocellulose lacquers and pre-cats. There is no ``burn-in`` of new to old finish. However, most repair folks who run into catalyzed and urethane finishes can do a manageable job. <br /><br />If the scratch is deep, Mohawks Pre-cat aerosols as well as the Konig line of touch up products will work pretty well. Use the product that's recommended for catalyzed varnish, and make sure it is a non-yellowing resin (like acrylic) so it ages the same as the original coating.<br /><br />http://www.cdgkonig.com/<br /><br />http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/<br /><br />If the scratches are superficial, you can try polishing them out with a product made by Mirka Abrasives called Abralon. This is used with a random orbit sander or by hand and is available in very fine grits of 1000, 2000, or 4000. <br />In a pinch some finishers have reported back that paste wax will also work. Some use the wax with 0000 steel wool. This technique has the added advantage of making the finish silky smooth. <br /><br /><br />Jeff Jewitt<br />

i have purchased some of your mdf core maple plywood that has come with the uv-cured acrylate finish. i am planning on using this material to mount fine art photographs. my concern is whether there will be any reaction between the photo paper and the acrylate finish over the long term. The fact that there is no formaldehyde in the finish is good. can you tell me what the ph is of this material? and if there is anything else in the finish that might cause deterioration of the paper in the long term.<br /><br />thanks,<br />james holroyd

chemical nature of finish Q# 1901 / Submitted 8/28/2007

While long term testing for this specific type of use has not been done, I would be confident in saying that there should be no long term problems with using the plywood for your purpose. The fully cured finish has no reactivity (reactive chemical sites or functional groups) and is pH neutral. The finish has excellent stain resistance and deterioration of the coating over time should not result in any changes to the chemical or physical properties. In fact this coating is used extensively in the graphic arts business, one use being as a "varnish" for printed posters and graphic media. <br /><br />Jeff

we stained maple cablinets and used stain controller (varathine brand) and it came out VERY uneven. WE removed the stain with lacquer thinner and tried to re apply the stain and now stain won't adhere to the wood. Tried using a rough steel wool on maple in hopes of the stain going into the wood and it didn't work.<br />( we have asked several professional what approach to take and took their advice) Do you have any experience with this problem?<br />We've never used a stain controller before and was told that we should us it on Maple.<br />We have never had any problems with staining before until we used Varathan Stain Controller. They were suppose to have someone call us and no one has followed up.<br />Help!! We have a new baby on the way and we are desperate to move into the newly remodeled home and this mess is holding us up.<br />We're willing to expermiment on seperate piece of wood. We are desperate.<br />Can you tell?

problem with stain controller Q# 1895 / Submitted 8/18/2007

The advise you got would be exactly what I would say. What probably is going on is that you did not remove/clean enough of the stain and stain controller product to expose bare wood which is why the stain is not taking (this is what I think you mean by adhering) to the wood. <br />Because of your time frame, I strongly urge you to get a pro in to look at this. As a consumer, there just aren't that many products available to solve your problem and get you a great looking finish. Plus, are these new cabinets?, Old and stripped? <br /><br />If you want to proceed, you have 2 options:<br /><br />1. Paint (probably the fastest) <br /><br />2. Clean with steel wool and lacquer thinner and then sand the wood clean until water will absorb when you apply it to the wood. Let dry and then try a gel stain which will probably stain a little more evenly and eliminate the need for the stain controller (try this on your test piece). If the gel stain doesn't stain as evenly as you want, then apply a stain controller made by diluting a product called Zinsser SealCoat to a 1 pound cut. Let that dry and then try the gel stain. If that works OK, then let everything dry and then go onto clear topcoats.

Do you have a recomended stain to use on Columbia red birch?

STAIN Q# 1884 / Submitted 8/7/2007

Columbia does not have a recommended stain. You can use any stain you like. Wiping stains may stain birch unevenly, so you may want to test on a small sample prior to staining your project. Stain controllers are available from most stain manufacturers to help even out the staining. Minwax is one example and they have a different stain controller for waterbased stain than for oil based. So make sure you get the right one and follow the directions on the can. <br /><br />Jeff

How do you get wood fillers to take stain?

staining wood fillers Q# 1882 / Submitted 8/6/2007

Most fillers do not take a stain, unless they are specifically sold as "stainable". <br />However even stainable filler may not take the stain exactly the same as the wood around it. <br />The best procedure if you have stain that won't take on filler is to try applying some of the stain directly to the area with a small artist's brush. Make sure you let it dry before applying a clear finish. <br /><br />Jeff

With the exception of the tops of the drawers and tops of the doors which get lots of wear and handling, my kitchen cabinets are in very good condition. They have a pearl colored finish on them. I have not been able to locate a Polyshade product or stain in this color to touch up the worn areas. Do you have any suggestions, other than totally restripping and restaining the cabinets?

Pearl Colored Cabinets Q# 1871 / Submitted 7/18/2007

If you feel confident in doing this yourself, you probably won't find a stock product to do the staining part. You will have to mix this yourself using universal tint colorants (Mixol is one brand) and some clear finish. Once you get the stain on you have to protect it with a clear coat matching the existing sheen. This company sells the products you need at their retail stores and the staff may be able to assist you. <br /><br />www.woodcraft.com<br /><br />If you aren't confident in mixing colors, then I would have a professional come in and quote. It's rare that they will suggest a total re-strip and they have access to better products. These are 2 companies that specialize in on-site repair services:<br /><br />http://www.guardsman.com/<br /><br />http://www.furnituremedic.com/<br /><br />Jeff

What can I do about finish that has been faded by the sun?

faded finish Q# 1867 / Submitted 7/11/2007

Assuming you do not want to strip it, there's really only one avenue to try and see if it brings it back. Howards Products makes a restoring product called "Restor A Finish" <br /><br />http://www.howardproducts.com/restora.htm<br /><br />This product is avaialable just about anywhere and is sold in different colors that will put back color and luster, both of which get faded from the sun. I'd also advise moving the piece if you can. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

I am in the process of building a home office desk, file system and bookcase consisting of solid black walnut and am in search of the best and most durable finish. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

best durable finish for black walnut Q# 1861 / Submitted 7/8/2007

The toughest finish a consumer can apply by hand is polyurethane. <br /><br />1. Oil based products will probably look the best, as they bring out the warmth of the wood. <br /><br />2. Water based products will dry faster, have lower odor and will keep the wood looking the way it does when sanded. <br /><br />My personal recommendation would be oil based. If you want to use water based, use a sealer coat of dewaxed blonde or pale shellac (Zinsser Sealcoat) to bring up the warmth of the wood. <br /><br />Jeff

I want a finish that is safe to eat or drink from. I want to "seal" a turned cup to use.

Food safe durable Finish Q# 1856 / Submitted 6/26/2007

Any finish that's sold as a consumer product is safe enough for contact with the food or mouth. I would suggest oil based polyurethane. <br /><br />Most woodworkers use natural finishes like walnut oil, mineral oil, beeswax or shellac, which are certainly safe, but they aren't as durable. <br /><br />

I was helping my husband glue up his latest project and I got a little "happy" with the glue. It pretty much got everywhere. I tried to clean it up but didn't do a very good job. My husband says the wood (cherry) is not going to take the stain in the glue areas the same as the bare wood. What can I do to fix this problem and bring harmony back into our house? A quick response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Julie

Too Much Glue Q# 1855 / Submitted 6/26/2007

This product here will remove dried glue<br /><br />http://de-gluegoo.com/<br /><br />Once you think you've got it off, wipe the entire surface down with water. The water won't penetarte any residual glue and will show as a spot. Once it looks good, sand it with 220 and finish. <br /><br />Jeff

We have kitchen cabinets from Fashion Cabinets MFG. INC. They are Majestic Oak with a maple finish. We want to change the stain wither darker or lighter it doesn't matter, it is just too orange!!! What are our options? Thank You!! Gifford

kitchen cabinetsw Q# 1849 / Submitted 6/17/2007

As a homeowner, you can't easily change the color. Modern cabinets use high tech finishes that are very difficult to re-coat once they're cured. <br />If you are dead set on correcting this problem I suggest you contact a professional finisher in your area to discuss the options.

how many coats of poly. does mitchell hickory have and what does the finishes have on it

wood Q# 1832 / Submitted 5/25/2007

I hope I understand the last part of your question as what is in the finish? <br /><br />The finishes that are applied to Columbia flooring are commercial finishes that aren't anything like what you can get in a store. Generally they are urethane based, and fortified with aluminum oxide for greater wearability. These finishes are applied by large automated machines, but if you were to translate into "coats", it would be around 3 coats applied by hand.

I have some knotty alder cabinets that have been stained with a stain eurythane mix. The results are bad how do I refinish them and what sand paper do I use to sand. Also how do I pretreat to get an even coating.

Knotty alder Q# 1826 / Submitted 5/18/2007

I assume by "bad" you mean they stained unevenly. Alder like some other woods will stain unevenly. This effect is mitigated by the use of a stain controller. More on that in a second. <br /><br />You need to remove as much of the stain as possible by using a paint stripped or scrubbing as much of it off with lacquer thinner and Scotchbrite. Work safely by doing this outdoors in shade. Once it has dried, sand with 120, going up to 220 using grits of 150 and 180. <br /><br />Check out the stains that are sold with a companion product called stain controller or stain conditioner. Minwax has it as does Varathane. Apply the conditioner per the instructions, wait the required time and then apply the stain. Using a stain controller usually results in a lighter appearance to the stain. Try to test the stain sequence in an unseen area first. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />I've heard that it is a tediouse job to refinish the oak staircase and wall panels inside my house darker. Is it? As an alternative is there any way to use some kind of a glaze to give them fresh new look with a darker brown color?<br /><br />Thank you for your help,

Glazing oak to a darker brown color works? Q# 1825 / Submitted 5/16/2007

Yes - stripping and refinishing is tedious work. You can make the wood a little darker, but not a lot. Here's an easy way to test. <br />Go buy the darkest oil based gel stain you can find. Make sure it's a gel and not a liquid. Find an inconspicuous spot and clean the area with mineral spirits first. Sand it with 240 grit sandpaper or maroon grade Scotchbrite. Wipe the gel stain on and see if it is dark enough for you. If so, then continue on with the rest of the job and when the stain has dried, top it with a polyurethane. <br /><br />If it doesn't look dark enough to you, then you will have to strip and refinish for the best look. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello there,<br />We've recently bought a house with oak railings. We'd like to change that to a midium dark brown color like mohageny(not too redish). An expert came to see the railings and said it is not an easy job to strip the uneven and round surfaces like middle of the railins(more labor and expensive). He suggested painting the middle to a white and stain the top dark. I'm going to put same color of the hardwood inside the same room as well, but in maple wood (don't like the oak wood grain).<br />What your suggestion is for me regarding how to refinish the oak successfully and what is your opinion on his suggestion?<br /><br />Thanks a million for your help!

oak stai case and railings refinish Q# 1824 / Submitted 5/16/2007

Yes it's more expensive to do non-flat stripping. However you may want to get a second opinion as I think the stripping and staining is a good way to go wi9th all oak. <br />Oak doesn't paint very well as it will telegraph the open grain under the paint. Personally I like the idea of painted wood, but unless the oak is painted correctly and the grain filled, it may not look right. <br />Close grained woods like maple, poplar and pine take a paint much better. <br /><br />Jeff

Thank you for the prompt response. It sounds like there really isn't an easy way to work with this product. All of my local distributors, are well, distributors. None have any building insite what-so-ever. It would be great if your company made its clear finish available. Maybe I'm too picky but adding unfinished edgebanding or solid wood to finished ply will never be flush without sanding which will expose the bare wood. (At least not without a great deal of precise effort.) I see many advantages using this product for case construction. However most cabinets have drawers or shelves, which should match the rest. Any chance Columbia might look into this a bit further? <br /><br />Many thanks,<br /><br />Jean-Christophe

Working with UV finshed ply Q# 1819 / Submitted 5/10/2007

Sorry if I wasn't very clear about the finish that Columbia uses in my prior post. The reason it is not available is because it is a UV cured epoxy/acrylate finish which is way beyond the capabilities of any shop (it requires UV lamps to cure). If you use a water white conversion varnish, or CAB-acrylic finish, you should get a very close match. These are professional finishes. If you do not have access to these type of finishes, a waterborne polyurethane should be reasonably close.

I would like to try your complany's pre-finished product on an upcoming kitchen cabinet project. Looking through just about all posted questions I did not find what I was looking for. I would like to know the basic process in using this product as far as adding solid wood to it, scratches, damage, etc.. I understand that the pre-finish is not something commercially available, nor does it seem to take other finishes. So if I want to add solid wood mounting rails in a cabinet or edgebanding to a shelf; how is this done with professional results? What is the closest clear film finish that is compatible with your complany's propreitry blend? <br /><br />Many thanks,<br /><br />Jean-Christophe Hartman

Working with UV finsihed ply Q# 1817 / Submitted 5/10/2007

You can use a heat applied edgebanding or glue solid wood to it. Just be careful during the construction process that you don't scratch it with metal objects like clamps, and make sure your machinery is free of burrs or sharp edges. I like to apply paste wax to the machine surfaces when I'm working with the product to alleviate mishaps. Your dealer can provide more specific instructions on these procedures. <br />You can touch up problems with a clear, non-yellowing pre-cat or conversion varnish, but to be honest there really isn't anything close to the finish chemicaly that's easily available. Mohawk <br /><br />http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/catalog_browse.asp?ictNbr=439<br /><br />has an aresol pre-cat that works pretty well.

We are attempting to stain knotty alder casing around new windows. We began with Minwax stain and the result was very blotchy. We then tried a conditioner and had the same result. We ripped the wood down, sanded with 120 grain, and applied Columbia stain controller and Old Masters Gel stain.We are still getting blotchy spots and some white lines that don't appear to be in the grain. Any advice may save my sanity. Thank you.<br /><br />Mark

staining knotty alder Q# 1803 / Submitted 4/26/2007

Any rustic wood (like knotty alder, cherry and pine) will blotch. I'm not familiar with Columbia stain controller, but it sounds like a typical oil based stain controller that's applied liberally, allowed to dwell 15 minutes, wiped off, then the stain applied? If so you might have a little better luck with letting the controller dry completely, then applying the gel the next day. You might also try using dewaxed 1 pound cut shellac as a controller. Either way - practice on some samples, which will save you the aggravation of having to tear off the casing and a redo. <br />As to the white lines, I can't put a finger on this without a photo. If they are small, take an artists brush like a #4 and some of the stain and apply it over the white lines to mask it out. Make sure the stain dries before topcoating.

My contractor had a cabinet man build maple cabinets. They stained them with MinWax fruitwood. They came out all blotchy and look terrible. They did not pretreat them. They are trying to sand them down and stain them again. So far, the one they did doesn't really look any better. Any suggestions? Are you supposed to pretreat maple?/ With what?? Carol Beal

Maple Q# 1802 / Submitted 4/26/2007

Some species of maple will splotch. The general rule is that the soft maples will exhibit this more than the hard maples. All plywood usesd soft maple, so it's likely that it should stain unevenly. <br />To avoid this, the cabinetmaker/finisher should have used Minwax stain controller or something equivalent to mitigate the splotching. Unless he can get the wood back to it's unstained condition, it probably won't look all that better if he restains it as you state.

What cleaning products are safe to use on our Columbia engineered wood floors that will not make the finish dull or leave a residue?<br /><br />Is it safe to use minimal water and mild soap? What else can we use? Thank you!

Cleaning products Q# 1795 / Submitted 4/19/2007

General maintenance information on flooring can be fopund at the website here:<br /><br />http://www.columbiaflooring.com/products/technical/hardwood/maintainhardwood.php<br /><br />You can download specific instructions for the product you have here:<br /><br />http://www.columbiaflooring.com/products/technical/index.php<br /><br />Generally you want to avoid polishes, waxes, cleaners and mopping with water. Your Columbia dealer can recommend specific products for cleaning.

I have custom made wood cabinets with a maple stain. I would like to update the look by applying a dark glaze.<br />is this possible without sanding the present finish.

glazing maple cabinets Q# 1791 / Submitted 4/11/2007

I doubt it, at least not in the way that glaze should be properly applied. <br />What you possibly could do is to rub some black/brown wax in the crevices and see if that looks good to you. It won't stay forever, but it is certainly far easier than a proper glazing. <br /><br />To glaze properly, the entire finish would be scuff sanded with very fine sandpaper, the glaze applied, wipe off, and then a clear finish which locks down the glaze and protects it.

we recently installed 7 of 49 kitchens in wenge venner on mdf. 5 of the 7 have random cracking which could be minor delamination. ideas as to cause?<br />about 40 units were anegre and no problems.

veneer Q# 1790 / Submitted 4/10/2007

Exotics sometimes do baffling things on mdf. The cuase could either be finish delamination as you say, or it could be overall panel stability that's causing the delamination or crazing. With high performance finish like the CV's, 2K's etc, special sealers are recommended for exotics. Review the issue with your finish supplier and see if a sealer is recommended in this case. <br />I am always leery of exotics in veneering. Many times problems like this can be eliminated by making a more stable panel. Use cross-banding under the wenge.

we are currently finishinhg cherry mouldings and have a problem with black ticking. what is the best solution?

finishing cherry Q# 1784 / Submitted 4/6/2007

I have never heard of the term "ticking" or "black ticking". Can you elaborate. Also describe your finishing process, including surface preparation and the products you use. <br /><br />Jeff

My husband will be finishing our new maple cabinets, he is a painter and finisher by trade and does an exceptional job. He has never tried to stain maple. We've heard it can be difficult to and that maple is prone to mottling when going dark, I wondered if <br />there were as many problems when going with a lighter shade.<br />I'm hoping for just a little more color than natural. I found a shade I liked and made a sample on a small piece of maple and that looked fine but again it wasn't a very big piece of wood. Also the shade I found was in a Min Wax wipe on stain which isn't a product my husband has used before (he prefers Old Masters but our local ICI didn't have a shade I cared for).<br />Will we have mottling problems with a lighter color the way we would if we went darker? Is Min Wax a reliable brand?<br />Is there a strategy to getting an even shade?<br />Thanks for your help.

Maple cabinets Q# 1773 / Submitted 4/1/2007

Some maple species are prone to splotching. When a wood splotches, it is more pronounced with darker stains so you might be OK with your color choice. However, if you want to play it safe, use Minwax stain controller first. The only problem with this technique is that it will produce a lighter color so practice on your samples first. <br /><br />Minwax is perfectly fine for a stain. Just follow the directions and make sure it is dry before applying a protective topcoat. <br /><br />Jeff

I am purchasing a house with shakers style maple cabinets. The cabinets are stained amber and I would like to change them to a dark rich color.<br /><br />What can be done and this this a good idea?

Maple Cabinet Finish Change Q# 1772 / Submitted 4/1/2007

With current manufacturing techniques and the products used to make kitchen cabinets, I don't think the average handy-oriented homeowner can do much to dramatically change the color of existing cabinets. Paint is the best option to change color, but that doesn't sound like it's the direction you want to go. <br /><br />To stain something you need to get the stain into the bare wood, and it's a lot of work to strip your cabinets, assuming you can even do it. If this is the direction you want to go, you may want to consult a pro in your area first. If you still want to venture forth, I would urge you to try and find out who made the cabinets and finished them. If they are commercial cabinets made by Kraftmaid or one of the big manufacturers, forget about stripping them yourself. You will not be able to budge their finishes. If they were finished locally, try and find out if lacquer was used. If so this is a finish you can remove with a paste type stripper. <br /><br />To strip the cabinets, remove all the hardware and apply the stripper and remove the finish. Clean them afterward with a wash or cleaner specified. Then you should be able to re stain them and then apply a clear finish. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

can you tell me who carries above in distressed engineered flooring? Thanks.

formaldehyde free wood flooring Q# 1767 / Submitted 3/29/2007

Please contact Columbia Flooring at <br />800.654.8796<br /><br />Jeff

I am building an Oak cabinet with some of your plywood. I sanded the material and then stained it and then sanded the material again and lastly applied a coat of lacquer. After I applied the lacquer I noticed some black lines seemingly coming up onto the face veneer of the plywood. It looks like there is some sort of a discooration or stain on the layer of material underneath the Oak face. I have resanded and restained and relacquered the area, but it looks as if there is an ink line of the layer underneath the Oak face veneer. Can you assist me on how to handle this?<br /><br />Sam Beagle

Black Lines Emerging ?? Q# 1765 / Submitted 3/29/2007

There could be some discoloration on the core material. However, if you can see it, it usually means that the face veneer was sanded too much. <br /><br />If you could give me a little more information on what grit sandpaper was used, the progression of grits used and the machines (if any) you used that would help me out. However, you state that you sanded, applied a stain, then sanded again. Typically stains are not sanded as it would remove the stain color. Did you use a water basaed stain or something that raised the grain? <br /><br />Jeff

Can I use Tung Oil over a water based stain?

Tung Oil Q# 1763 / Submitted 3/26/2007

Depends - as there are different types of "Tung Oil".<br /><br />1. Pure, 100% Tung oil can only be put over a water based dye stain that contains no binder. Powdered or liquid dye concentrates that you mix yourself fall into this category. <br /><br />2. Tung Oil Finish - or what is really a wiping varnish, can be put over any water based stain, whether it is something you make yourself, or buy in a can, ready to use. <br /><br />Jeff

I am trying to confirm that the finish applied under your brand UV Wood is a water based, non off-gassing product. We use a cabinet manufacturer who is going to produce as &quot;green&quot; a cabinet as possible for us and we need some detailed specs on this finish.<br />Please email a specification sheet if possible.<br /><br />John Rowse

UV Wood Q# 1753 / Submitted 3/23/2007

For detailed specs or something in writing on the finish specifications, please call Columbia at 800-237-2428.<br /><br />What I can tell you is that the product applied is not water-based, but it is extemely low in solvent at the time of application, which is why it is UV cured. The product should be expected to be zero-very low in off-gassing by the time you recieve it, especially when compared to a traditional cabinet finish. <br /><br />Keep in mind that not all waterborne finishes are "green" and not all green finishes are waterborne. <br /><br />Jeff

The house we are in has soild walnut paneling in the family room. Probally 20 years old. It is appx. 3/4 -1&quot; thick. Im wanting to clean it. What would be the best method? Thanks

cleaning solid wood paneling Q# 1745 / Submitted 3/13/2007

Mild soap (I like Dawn) and water should clean most soiling from sealed wooden surfaces (it should have a finish). I use a capful per pint water. Stubborn soiling (the one that comes immediately to mind is tobacco smoke) is very tough to remove and may require the use of solvent cleaners. You might also try vinegar and water if there is soiling that the Dawn does not remove. If nothing seems to be working, contact a local ServiceMaster or finisher/refinisher and see if they can help. <br /><br />Oil based soaps like Murphy's aren't bad to use, but use it sparingly as it leaves a residue behind that attracts dirt. <br /><br />Here is the general sequence:<br /><br />1. Vacuum or dry dust all the paneling to remove dust and loose dirt. <br />2. Test an inconspicuous area with the water/soap or solvent first. Examine the cloth to see if dirt is being removed. Do not let the cleaner sit on the surface too long and wipe the residue off with a clean cloth as soon as possible. <br />3. When done dry rag the surface with a clean cloth. <br /><br />

I have read Jeff Jewitt's post and answer, which was helpful, but I am really new to this (have only done one other staining project) and have a couple of other questions. What is an NGR stain? I am looking to stain alder an English Chesnut color - If I dilute a wiping stain to use as a wash, then apply it full strength and then topcoat, will that work? Should I use a sanding sealer with this approach? Thanks, Chassie Bunker

Staining an alder railing and newels. Q# 1741 / Submitted 3/8/2007

An NGR stain is a non-grain raising stain that's generally formulated using dye colorants in a lacquer thinner type solvent. <br />For alder you typically use a stain controller or that will work with your stain. If you use a or oil based stain, the manufacturer has a stain controller for it (like Minwax). If you use a, which is essentially thinned finish, you can generally use lacquer sanding sealer with oil based wiping stains. <br /><br />Jeff

I am putting aromatic cedar on my new office wall and I am told that this wood will begin to fade and I should place a sealer on it to prevent this . My question is as you know this wood is very aromatic and I dont want to lose that . Will the sealer stop the smell coming from the wood and will it even fade at all ???

sealing wood Q# 1739 / Submitted 3/8/2007

I don't think the cedar will fade dramatically in an interior exposure. But more to the point, you would have to apply too many coats of a UV finish to have any effect on blocking damage from light. That will certainly stop the aroma. <br />My advice is to leave it unfinished if you want the aroma. <br /><br />Jeff

I am trying to speed up the finishing part of my project by sprating the stain . Why do some mfg. warn aginst this process? Which stains are suitablr fo spraying?

spraying stains Q# 1734 / Submitted 3/2/2007

You can spray any stain to apply it, but some stains MUST be wiped afterwards. Anything that's labeled "wiping stain" should be wiped. These include all consumer brand stains and some industrial stains. The reason is that the binder used in these stains impairs adhesion if built up as a film. <br /><br />There are some stains that do not have to be wiped. These are called NGR stains or "no-wipe" stains. These type generally are dye based or micronized pigment and do not contain a binder. <br /><br />So to answer your question, you can always spray any stain to speed up the application part of the process, but read the container instructions or tech sheet to see if it must be wiped afterwards. <br /><br />Jeff

I have shaker maple kitchen cabinets, the stain seems to be peeling off. What should the process be in order for the stain to stay on the cabinets?

Shaker Maple Cabinets Q# 1732 / Submitted 2/28/2007

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think what you mean is how to correct the problem - right? <br /><br />When the finish or stain is peeling, it means that the finish has failed and the only remedy is to remove the finish and re-apply it. Certain finishes might be repairable without stripping, but these would be finishes that I wouldn't put on cabinets in the first place (like nitrocellulose lacquer). You may experience this issue more in areas such as around the sink or dishwasher where there is heat and water vapor(steam). In fact one of the testing protocols devised by the Kitchen Cabinet Makers Association is a wet edge test, which simulates this. <br />Properly finished kitchen cabinets should not have the stain peeling off for the warranty period specified by the manufacturer. <br /><br />jeff

My cabinets are made of plywood, I would like to to restained them to a lighter color. I sanded the old one then tried to stain it with a golden oak mini wax satin but it came out darker than the old one. What can I else can I do to get a lighter stain.<br />Thanks,<br />floro

Restaining plywood cabinet Q# 1712 / Submitted 2/3/2007

Golden oak isn't a very dark color. I suggest using no stain, just a clear finish. To see what the wood will look like with a clear finish, wipe the sanded wood with mineral spirits. The color you see is the color you get when you apply a clear finish. <br />Some finishes add little color, others may add amber. Generally, water based finishes like Minwax Polycrylic add no color, while the oil based polyurethanes add a bit of amber.<br /><br />Jeff

I have used CrystaLac Grain filler and it is great however, I accidentally sanded off some of the stain, how can I touch up the grain over the CrystaLac. I used Minwax stain to begin with but it is not soaking in now.<br /><br /> Thanks

CrystaLac Grain Filler Q# 1685 / Submitted 1/11/2007

If you sand through an area and it's not too large, you could try "painting in" the missing area with some of the original stain and a small artists brush like a #2 or #4. If the area is larger than a dime or is in a really conspicuous area, you may be better served by starting over, rather than trying to touch it up. Touching up large areas requires skill and practice.

Where can we purchase a product called Panel-Nu or Panel New? I am not sure of the spelling. We are trying to refinish the paneling in our church. The paneling over the years have become very scratched up. The builder stated 20 years ago that we can purchase this procuct to seal all scratches and to make look new again. <br /><br />i am located in Dallas, Texas and would like to know where this product can be purchased.

Panel – Nu Q# 1676 / Submitted 1/2/2007

I have referred you to the Plywood section where I believe Ang will answer your question.

I want to paint my oak cabinets so that it resembles the finish on a car. The color I want to use is black. I generally don't want to invest in an automotive spray gun and compressor though. Is there any method and products that might be able to accomplish this look?

cabinet refinishing – automotive finish Q# 1675 / Submitted 12/29/2006

You are going to spend a lot of time on this finish because you are doing it on the wrong wood. Ideally, you should do this type of perfectly smooth finish on a denser wood like maple. Regardless - this is how you proceed. <br /><br />1. Apply a primer to fill the open grain and provide a smooth surface for the paint. Ideally it should be close to the color of the paint. For example, don't use white primer for black paint. Also make sure it is an easy-to-sand primer. You apply one full wet coat of the primer, let dry, and then do any repair work of open joints, splits, cracks, dents etc. Don't worry about the open grain at this point. Since I typically use waterborne products, I use a latex wood filler. <br />2. Keep applying the primer, until the wood is perfectly smooth after you sand it. (no grain visible)<br />3. Apply 2-3 coats of your paint color. Sand between only if directed by the manufacturer or if you have minor defects. <br />4. Apply 6-10 coats of clear gloss lacquer over the paint. Typically I apply 2-3 per day and sand between the day's applications. Let dry 2 weeks. <br />5. Starting with 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper, sand the clear finish smooth and flat. Then sand with 1000, then 1200, then 1500. <br />6. Starting with a Compounding paste, apply the paste by hand or with a buffer until all the wet-sanding marks are gone. <br />7. Switch to a polishing paste and buff up to gloss. For a wet gloss show-room shine, follow the polish with a glaze. <br /><br />Good compounding/polishing pastes can be found at an automotive store that sells paint and lacquer. You can also use automotive products for this finish and follow the same procedure. These products are solvent based but you have an incredible array of paints and special effect paints to choose from.

what can I use to thin poly semi-goss? I heard you could but he could'nt remember what he used.<br /> thank you,<br /> mike

polyurethane Q# 1674 / Submitted 12/28/2006

You can use mineral spirits or odorless mineral spirits if you are brushing. Odorless will give you a longer open time to work the finish. <br />Use VM&P Naphtha to thin it if you are spraying. The faster eveaportaion rate of Naphtha keeps it from sagging/running on vertical surfaces. <br /><br />Jeff

hi-maple has always been difficult for my customers to stain.is ther a prestain you recommend and what are your recommendations for staining?

maple ply Q# 1666 / Submitted 12/13/2006

I assume you mean maple plywood, which is difficult to stain. When using a wipe on stain, it's advisable to use a wash-coat or stain controller prior to using the stain. Stain controllers are typically available from the stain manufacturer. Wash-coats are thinned finishes applied with a spray gun, allowed to dry, then the piece re-sanded before applying the stain. If time is an issue, it's probably less time-consuming to use a stain controller. <br /><br />The 2 techniques that factories use are:<br /><br />1. Spray a non-wipe stain, particularly if you are after darker colors. One example of these are non-grain-raising products called "NGR" stains. <br />2. Apply a toner, which is simply colored finish or sealer spray applied to the depth of color you want. Toners are typically applied after a light wash/sealer coat.<br /><br />To apply either of these products with a spray gun without wiping requires a trained and skilled spray gun operator. You can get around this somewhat by doing this:<br /><br />1. Spray your NGR stain and allow to dry, Try to avoid wiping (wiping is what causes splotching)<br />2. Apply a washcoat (example would be lacquer sealer cut 2:1 thinner:sealer), let flash, sand with 320 being careful not to cut through (sanding sponges are best)<br />3. Apply an oil based wiping stain to uniform the color and provide richness and depth. let dry. <br />4. Apply your topcoat. <br /><br />Finally - consider having your customers work with a company like ML Campbell that specializes in working with smaller shops and cabinet companies. They have the trained personnel who can demonstrate the techniques and products necessary for producing splotch free finishes. <br /><br />Finally, a great forum for professional woodfinishers to discuss finishing issues is <br /><br />http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/forums/finishing.pl<br /><br />Jeff

My boyfriend made a beautiful cherry and walnut end grain cutting board for me. He wiped the sanding dust off it with a damp sponge, and then oiled it with mineral oil (the kind you buy in the drug store that is sometimes used as a laxative!). The next day, we noticed that the cherry strips (but not the walnut that we can tell)of the board were starting to sprout little balck spots. Now the spots have spread, so we are assuming that it is mold. Did he somehow seal too much moisture in under the oil? I love the board and would like to save it if possible. Thank you.<br />Abby

cutting board finish Q# 1660 / Submitted 12/8/2006

I doubt it's mold if it's mostluy confined to the cherry. Cherry has a very high tannin content and what is probably going on is a reaction between this and dissolved iron salts naturally present in the tap water that he wiped it with prior to applying the oil. When this happens to furniture a wood bleach can be used to remove them, but since this productis toxic you can't use it on your board. The only remedy at this point is to sand the black spots off. If you wipe with water again, use distilled water, but it's probably better to just wipe it with denatured alcohol to remove the dust. Then go on to the oil. You may see a re-appearance of the black spots after washing the board. That's why high tannin wood aren't typically used in cutting boards. A wood like maple is much better.

We make high end solid mahogany doors and i have been told that crystalac is a fast drying , even in high humidity , and hard coat finish that would fit my aplicvation. Is this true in your opinion?

exterior clear coat sealers and finishes Q# 1655 / Submitted 12/7/2006

Yes - the Crystalac Exterior is a good finish for your application. It seems reasonably hard, but hardness is a quality that usually isn't built into this type product as it needs to be flexible for the exterior exposure. You can apply multiple coats in 1 day which makes it much faster than using a conventional oil based product. It is waterborne so it's low odor. I have sprayed this finish with fantastic results. <br /><br />You may not get the deepening and "pop" that you get with an oil based finish so be sure to pre-test for your application. Generally, I find that the deepening and pop can be engineered in by one application of an oil based product to the wood prior to the Crystalac. Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish is a good one to use. <br /><br />Jeff

I would like to finish a maple home made crib/bed for my coming great granddaughter with Minwax Semi Gloss Polyurethane. Probably 3 coats. Is this OK to use over the stain coat.

Infants crib/bed combination Q# 1646 / Submitted 11/23/2006

My personal opinion is that any consumer based clear finish should be safe for an infant or child - provided it's dry (usually at least 72 hours). However the specifics of whether the manufacturer wants to state that in writing is something else. One varnish maker I know that has looked at the safety aspect of their oil based finishes for your purpose is Waterlox. You might try contacting them (www.waterlox.com) for more information. <br />Unfortunately I don't know of any stain maker that addresses this issue. However as long as you put on as many coats of the varnish as you say you want to - you should be OK (it means the stain is fully sealed in)<br /><br />One thing I recommend you do is to install teething rails. www.rockler.com or a search for teething rails will bring up plenty of hits. <br /><br />Jeff

Question for Jeff Jewitt, What is the best way to stain alder to avoid the non-blotchy look? Is pratt and lambert conditioner better or a wash coat? And then when you use the wash coat/conditioner, isn't this the same as glazing and then should you brush on the stain, apply it with a sprayer then brush it or use rags? Then what kind of sealer/ finish combo is best.

even staining with alder/finishing schedule request Q# 1640 / Submitted 11/18/2006

Both products function the same - although wash-coating is probably used more in shop finishing because it allows you to wipe the stain after application. I suppose you could say it's glazing but since you use a stain over a washcoat - it's just staining. Over methods include:<br /><br />1. Spraying an NGR stain and avoid wiping. Let dry, apply sanding sealer, then apply an oil stain to even things out and produce depth. Then topcoat. This is good if you are after a high end cherry type look or dark effects. <br /><br />2. Using a water soluble dye stain - as long as it's not too dark a one it shouldn't splotch. The lighter maple, honey or oak effect should work with this.<br /><br />What process you use depends somewhat on the topcoat system you use. For example the solvent lacquer approach is to use a thinned lacquer sanding sealer for the conditioner, sand, apply stain, let dry then apply topcoats. A water based system would be an application of water based conditioner, water based stain, then topcoats. <br /><br />Jeff

My husband is building kitchen cabinets from solid wood and I want to glaze them with a pewter glaze like the Kraftmaid cabinets. What do we use to do this and where do we get the products?<br />Thanks for your help.

new kitchen cabinets Q# 1633 / Submitted 11/9/2006

Glazing is a finishing technique and you should be able to find products at about any good paint store in this country. Some mega-stores like Home Depot have good sections featuring Ralph Lauren products. You should have a sample if possible to take with you. If not a good photo sometimes works. <br />The effect you are describing is done basically over a painted or stained and sealed wood surface. The glaze is selectively applied in the pewter color you want (the store usually has to tint it to the color you want if there is not a "stock" color) to the profiled areas. Glaze is thick so it "hangs" up in the details - creating the look you want. Glazes must be finished over with at least one coat of clear finish when you are done for protection. <br /><br />Jeff

We received some exterior mahogany doors for a steal. I can't say that I want a reddish or orangish tone to the color of my stain. I know, you should always stay with the color tone of the wood, but we we thinking of going in the darker browns. Would a color like dark walnut just look horrible on mahagony doors? Will the natural color of the wood interfere with such a different tone?

Mahogany doors Q# 1632 / Submitted 11/5/2006

There are many stains that will have pigments/colors in them that will netralize the red or orange tones on mahhogany. Look for names like Jacobean or Provincial in the name.If you are looking at samples on light woods like pine or oak, look for a color that appears almost greenish.brown or what designers call "cool" browns. <br />Another option is to bleach the natural color out of the wood with a 2 part wood bleach. But that would be my last choice. <br /><br />Jeff

I am looking for a sprayable finish that I can use with my HVLP gun without the conversion. I spray conversion for a living at a local cabinet shop but I do not want to at home. Cost and storage is a factor. I sprayed Valspar conversion products and Sherwin Williams conversion products for example.

Sprayable finish Q# 1631 / Submitted 11/5/2006

There are many good waterborne finishes that are darn near as tough as solvent based conversion varnishes. The latest issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine has a review of the most popular ones out there. General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane scored very well. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi, I am going to buy your eco-friendly plywood at a Local Home Depot in Qu

PureBond Plywood Finish Q# 1617 / Submitted 10/24/2006

I can answer your finish question only. For formaldehyde free and low VOC consider a waterborne finish or a low voc solvent based finish from the commercial distributor here:<br /><br />http://www.mlcampbell.com/pages/locate.asp<br /><br />If you are a non-commercial finisher, try<br /><br />Valley Restorations - Ontario, Canada (613) 623-3694<br /><br />To answer your question about a "process" - that's a wide open question depending on whether you are staining and such, but here are the basics. <br /><br />1. Fine sand wood with 180, then 220. With the 220 sand by hand with the grain. Remove all the sawdust and sanding debris. <br />2. Stain if you wish with a wiping stain<br />3. Let dry and then apply 2-3 coats of the finish of your choice. <br /><br />When you talk to the above contacts, they can recommend more specifics about the staining and finish application process depending on which products you get. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

The wood is walnut.Can I use tung oil? If that is not safe what can I use to make the beauty of the wood stand out but safe for a baby.

safe wood stain for an infants cradle Q# 1610 / Submitted 10/16/2006

The products that are allowed as Safe for Childrens and Infant Furniture fall under the Consumer Product Safety Comission, and their requirement is simply that the finishes are not hazardous as defined by rules in the Code of Federal Regulations. As far as I know, most consumer clear finishes should be fine for your use, but few actually mention it. I personally would not use tung oil because it is slightly toxic until fully cured which can take a long time. I would look at faster drying shellac or waterborne finishes. One waterborne that I know of which specifically states safe for toys and infant furniture is Crystalac Premium here: http://www.mcfeelys.com/subcat.asp?sid=382<br /><br />Jeff

how can I make my oak cupboards in kitchen brighter (lighter color cream?) with translucent glaze without wrecking the oak. I would like to make my kitchen seem bigger and brighter.I do not want to use regular paint. Also if I do not like it how do I return it to its original shape.

translucent glaze on oak cupboards Q# 1607 / Submitted 10/15/2006

If painting is out of the question, the only way to finish the cabinets lighter is to strip and re-finish them in a lighter color. <br />Somehow, I don't think this is what you want to do. Lighter, transparent stains over darker colors don't look right. <br />However - you could try it with a lighter pastel wood stain <br /><br />http://www.minwax.com/products/woodstain/pastels-color.cfm<br /><br />in an inconspicuous place and see if you like it. If you don't, wiping it quickly with mineral spirits should remove most of the color (which is why you should work in an unseen area if possible). <br /><br />If neither of these options appeal to you, you might consider refacing the cabinets. This should be about 1/3 the cost of new cabinets. If you do a web search you'll find plenty of information on kitchen cabinet refacing in your area. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a customer wondering if he can spray lacquer on his pre-finished birch panels. We bought the UV coated panels from Columbia. Please let me know.

pre-finished products Q# 1605 / Submitted 10/12/2006

Standard lacquers - both solvent and waterborne can be applied. Make sure the panel is clean by wiping with a 50/50 mix of water and denatured alcohol. Then fine sand the finish using 600 grit sandpaper. Remove the dust and apply your finish. <br /><br />Jeff

Can you recommend a food grade oil for finishing a teak cutting board?<br />thanks,<br />Sue

teak cutting board finish Q# 1602 / Submitted 10/10/2006

Some folks like the specialized "walnut oils" or salad bowl finishes, but I find them dicey on teak. Teak has natural oils which may inhibit curing of these oils. <br />I think the best treatment is either nothing at all or mineral oil. Mineral oil is cheap, easy to find at any drugstore and only needs to be re-applied when it starts looking dull. <br /><br />Jeff

What type of finish do you use on the maple satin finish ply? I will be mixing solid unfinished maple with it and want a good match of finishes.

matching prefinished sheen Q# 1601 / Submitted 10/10/2006

The factory uses a specialized UV curing finish that's based on acrylic. You should be able to get a similar appearance using water white conversion varnish, CAB-acrylic finishes and many water based finishes. I would use satin or semi-gloss. <br /><br />Jeff

I am living in an old mobile home with plywood paneling that the surface becomes dull. How can the finish be restored? Thank you<br /><br />Joachim

plywood finish restoring Q# 1599 / Submitted 10/9/2006

Assuming that the finish is still intact, you can safely and easily restore the luster to your paneling with a cleaner/polish. These are sold under an array of names, but Scott's Liquid Gold should work fine. It's best to test the product on an area first to see if it provides an acceptable appearance. Also - the paneling should be clean before using any polish. Scotts has one to use before the Liquid Gold. If you use another product, see if they have a cleaner to use first. <br /><br />Jeff

I am trying to find a stain (available in wide range of bright colors) and a compatible sealer. The combination of the two must be<br />1. food safe <br />2. zero-VOC (or at least very low VOC)<br />3. seal any outgassing from the underlying wood.<br />4. extremely durable (scuff, chip, scratch resistant)<br />5. reasonable easily applicable without special equipment (UV, etc.)<br /><br />I appreciate your help!<br /><br />Andy

Food safe stain and sealer for line of toys Q# 1595 / Submitted 10/5/2006

The safest stains available as food safe are called FD&C dyes, available as toymakers dyes from Highland hardware here: <br /><br />http://www.highlandwoodworking.com<br /><br />For childrens toys and furniture you do not need the "food-safe" designation. If you go that route you are limiting your choices. The stains and coatings must only be non-hazardous per the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Comission). Most water based finishes will fit the bill, but one that advertises itself on the can as toy safe is Crystalac Super-Premium. Crystalac also makes a line of stains that might fit your application as suitable for toys. <br /><br />http://www.crystalac.com/

I have a teak dining table that is stained dark. I haven't been oiling it so it is starting to get light colored water spots. Can I clean and apply a matching stain to these spots or should I just redo the whole top?

teak dining table Q# 1585 / Submitted 9/28/2006

Typically, re-oiling the whole top should restore the lustre and make the spots disappear. Yopu might find using some 0000 steel wool with the oil will eliminate the white rings. If it doesn't work, remove the oil with a clean rag and some mineral spirits and try agin with the product here: <br /><br />http://www.howardproducts.com/restora.htm<br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

I was told that cracked and peeling of finish on product would not be warranted because house is located on a Lake. I am in Michigan, surrounded by water. Your product is sold here. Shouldn't it be warranted knowing the area it is being sold in. Can your product hold up at an ocean household? This is flooring put in my kitchen. It was only in place a month when cracking and peeling appeared in the finish. The dealer who put it in insists the wood was not processed through the drying process correctly.

Warranty re: humidity Q# 1576 / Submitted 9/15/2006

I'm sorry to hear that your having trouble with the flooring. I've forwarded your message and e-mail address to the customer service department at Flooring and someone should be in contact with you.

I have a 1970's teak dining table that has suffered sun-bleaching. Is there a safe way to polish or restore it's natural honey colour, and then protect it for the future? Thanks for your time!

Vintage Teak Sun Bleached – Help! Q# 1574 / Submitted 9/14/2006

You can usually restore luster with a polish like teak oil or lemon oil. If it still has a faded appearance, you might try a colored polish from these folks: http://www.howardproducts.com/restora.htm<br /><br />These will be short term solutions. The only long term one is to strip and re-finish the table. And keep it out of sunlight if you can. <br /><br />Jeff

do you guys have any samples you could part with? i would like to stock my library.<br /><br />deborah drew, asid, aia associate<br />deborah drew design<br />264 beacon street<br />suite 2f<br />boston, ma 02116

samples Q# 1567 / Submitted 9/7/2006

800.237.2428 U.S. East <br /><br />Please contact the above number and somebody can assist you.

I have a laminate furniture board (at least that is what I think it is) in the base of a kitchen island. The cabinets are white oak. it has a smooth finish, I guess its satin. Something got into the finish (auto diswashing liquid and left a stain.I used steel wool and removed the finish and really scratched the surface (about 4 x 10 inch area). how can I restore this. I could do the who laminate if I need to. thanks for the advice!

laminate furniture board Q# 1563 / Submitted 9/4/2006

I'm not sure what you mean by laminate, but if it's Formica or some other type of non-wood laminate, I suggest replacing it. There is really no way to fix it once it becomes damaged like you say. <br />I think you mean veneer, or a thin wood sheet glued to a substrate. If that is the case, removing the finish with paint/finish stripper should solve the problem with the stain and scratches. You can then fine sand with 220 grit sandpaper and re-finish with a clear finish.

I have a golden oak china cabinet. I want to give it a more soficticated look with black glazing. I have never done any refinishing but I know the look I want. I want some of the golden color to show through, almost like the piece would be antiqued black. Thank you.<br />JP Lamb

glazing a finished oak china cabinet Q# 1562 / Submitted 9/3/2006

Glazing is done over a sealed surface. To achieve the look you describe, you would first stain the wood the undertone color you want (in this case it sounds like a golden color). Apply one coat of a sealer like shellac or sanding sealer. Let dry and sand the sealer with 320 grit paper. Then apply a black glaze. Glazes are available pre-mixed in black or you can make one yourself using boiled linseed oil and black artists oil colors. Make sure you let the glaze dry before applying a clear protective finish. <br /><br />Jeff

I set a hot plate out of the oven on a finished teak table (with only a thin towel underneathe it). When I picked up the towel the finish on the table was ruined in some places - it turned it a matte white? Any suggestion on how to fix this? Thanks!!!

restoring teak Q# 1557 / Submitted 8/30/2006

If the ring is white the damage may be on top of the finish or at the bottom

I am looking at making a Teak island top. Do I need to finish it for preservation? Will it be fine to let it go with out any finish?<br />I want it to stay smooth and clean for kitchen use.<br />Thanks.

Care for Teak island top Q# 1553 / Submitted 8/28/2006

Some woods have been used unfinished for this use, but Teak is not one of them. I'm sure it has to do with cost, but there also may be other reasons not to use teak unfinished. Many exotic woods contain unusual chemicals that may pose problems with food preparation. The typical wood that's used is maple. <br />I would finish/seal it with a food safe finish like linseed oil or walnut oil. You need to re-apply it frequently. <br /><br />Jeff

I bought used deck furniture. High quality teak that was in a covered porch. I plan to use it on an outdoor uncovered direct sunlight deck. It is a bout six years old and could use a treatment of somsort but I am not sure what to use. I am not conerned at all about the color darkening just protecting the wood. ( my deck is a red bick colored finish but very faded and soon to be powerwashed and refinished. If they could match that would be great... so what would I use on the deck itself to get it close in color to the teak furniture? Thank you.

teak wood outdoor protection Q# 1548 / Submitted 8/24/2006

Look at the Penofin line (www.penofin.com) of penetrating oil stains in the hardwood formula line, which use iron oxides. While very good protection it will need to be re-applied periodically in your situation. <br />They have another product which features more colors, but I'm not sure how suitable it is for teak. The hardwood formula is made for teak and other similar woods. If the teak has weathered to a silvery gray color, there is a bleach specifically made for restoring the color. I'm not sure Penofin sells it, but a good marine supply should be able to get you TEKA teak cleaner which is the type of cleaner/bleach you want for teak.

i stripped the paint off of my kitchen cabinets from a house built in 1956, they have knotty pine boxes and what looks like douglas fir plywood cabinet faces. any idea if a stain would work on this or compliment each other for that matter. we really do not want to repaint? thanks tom

plywood stain Q# 1546 / Submitted 8/21/2006

That's hard to say. Typically these two woods will telegraph their different grain structures with a stain. The biggest difference will be that the rotary cut plywood will have really wild grain definition that's different from the solid wood. It might not be too noticeable if you use a dark stain, but you'll just have to try some stain and see if you like it. You can always paint over the stain if you don't like it. <br /><br />Jeff

My son is putting a plywood floor on his snow mobile trailer--what type of finish would be best for this? He picked up an oil base polyurathane product at Home Depot--it is a light grey color &quot;paint&quot;.<br />Thanks

Ply Wood Deck Floor Q# 1545 / Submitted 8/19/2006

That's about the best product that can be easily hand applied. However don't expect a bullet-proof finish with that type of use - expect to re-paint if it starts to look bad. <br /><br />Jeff

I am planning to use a black analine dye on Birch veneer.<br /><br />I understand from one of your previous answers that a thinned water base finish can be used as a conditioner to make the application more even.<br /><br />Would you recommend this approach in my case? Would use of one veneer cut over another affect your answer?<br /><br />And thanks for the Q&A!

Analine Dye on Birch Veneer Q# 1537 / Submitted 8/9/2006

I would test first before using a conditioner with black dye. The conditioner may prevent you from getting a dark enough black. Try some samples first withj and without the conditioner. My experience has been that you probably don't need it. <br />If I had a choice plain sliced would probably stain better.

i am having someone refinish my hardwood floors, i want to know about different sealers and stains.

refinishing floors Q# 1532 / Submitted 8/7/2006

Generally - floor finishes are grouped into water based products and oil (mineral spirit based) products. <br />Traditionally oil based polyurethane has been used to refinish and is good where you want a tough, tried and true finish that has an amber color. It is self sealing (meaning no special sealer is used), however floor finishers do use special sealers that are fast drying. The oil product downsides are long time to dry and the odor of solvents as it is being used and drying. <br />Water based products are also polyurethane but water clear. It has little odor and dries fast. Finishes may use an alcohol based sealer with this product or apply it without a sealer. It depends on the situation. Water based polys are pretty darn close to oil products in terms of durability and the floor finishing industry is using these products more and more every year. <br />Stains are grouped into the above categories. Refinishers will typically stain oak floors, but shy away from maple and pine floor staining becuase those woods will sometimes stain unevenly. <br /><br />Floor finishers will use products they are comfortable with and have experience using. Name brands for oil base are McCloskey (Valspar) and DuraSeal (Minwax). Water based name brands are Bona Kemi and Fuhr. One newer type of poly water based finish for floors has aluminum oxide in it to give it better wearability. The following may help --- <br /><br />http://www.woodfloors.org/consumer/whyFinish.aspx<br /><br />Jeff

I recently bought a solid teak bed and was wondering if indoor teak furniture needs to be oiled or treated like outdoor teak. If so, I'm reluctant because I don't want to change the look of the wood - its currently a pale blond color - Any advise or suggestions would be appreciated.

How to care for Indoor Teak Furniture Q# 1530 / Submitted 8/4/2006

An oil finish such as linseed or tung oil will probably deepen the color and change the look of the wood. If there is very little finish or no finish on the wood, an polish based on mineral oil (like a "lemon" oil type product) may also do the same. <br />I'd be careful about what you put on the wood if you like it exactly the way it is. A light paste wax in a natural (avoid the colored waxes) like Antiquax Natural will change the look the least and provide an extra layer of protection against water. It makes it feel nice. <br />Wood really doesn't need to be oiled, fed or nourished in some marketing mumbo jumbo way because it doesn't have a respiratory or digestive system. Keeping the piece out of direct sunlight and a gentle feather dusting is about all that's required other than the paste wax application described above.

My raw linseed oil has gotten too thick. What can I thin it with? Is it OK to use raw linseed oil on teak wood?<br />joan

oiling teak Q# 1522 / Submitted 7/29/2006

First of all I wouldn't use raw linseed oil on anything, you should use boiled linseed oil. <br />I wouldn't recommend using it on teak as the natural antioxidants in teak may make it take a long time to dry. You might experiment on a sample piece if you have one and see if the oil is dry after 1 day. <br />You might want to use a finish called Waterlox Original Sealer and Finish in place of the linseed oil. It's a more durable finish and should dry better. <br /><br />Jeff

I have Teak engineered floors and applied Dura seal over the new installation a few years ago. I was not pleased with the durability. I have heard that Gymseal is more durable than Duraseal and less likely to scratch. Is this true?<br /><br />Second, I prefer the satin finish over the gloss? What is your experience with satin Gymseal?

Gymseal versus Dura Seal Q# 1516 / Submitted 7/25/2006

It depends on the DuraSeal that you used. If it was the oil based traditional poly, I would expect the Gymseal to be about the same in durability and scratch resistance. The GymSeal will probably be more elastic and won't require stripping if you need to re-coat it (poly usually does). <br /><br />Jeff

We are building a large deck out of tamarack wood. We have been looking at different products to finish the wood flooring. We want to pay particular attention to the area around the pool, ie: chlorinated water. We want to keep the natural look of this beautiful wood. The deck will be exposed to everything Northern Ontario can throw at it. Do you have any suggestions as to what would be best on it. We are really looking into an oil based product that has UV protection. Thank you Shannon

Durable finish for tamarack deck Q# 1512 / Submitted 7/24/2006

Use a natural (no color) or semi-transparent deck stain. The colored ones will typically last longer becuase they contain a very effective UV repelling pigment.<br />Expect to re-apply this type of finish every 1-2 years. <br />Penofin has a good line of products if they are available in your area.

how do you recommond filling wood grain on any type of project. thank you. joe.

grain filling Q# 1507 / Submitted 7/14/2006

Grain filling is only required on open grained woods (oak, ash, walnut, mahogany, etc.) On semi-open and close grained woods, the finish usually fills the small pores enough. <br /><br />It's required when you want a smooth surface or to achieve certain aesthetic effects, otherwise it is NOT mandatory. <br /><br />An example of the first requirement would be a desk top made from oak. If you didn't fill the grain someone writing on the surface may have a problem as the pen or pencil would follow the grain (unless you used a writing pad)<br /><br />An example of the second requirement would be a very high gloss finish such as that found on a piano or a dining table. If you have unfilled pores, it disrupts the gloss of the finish and prevents that smooth, mirror finish. <br /><br />Filling grain is done with a product called paste wood filler or grain filler. There are water based and oil based versions. The filler is applied to the wood, then the excess scraped off before it has time to dry, thus packing it into the grain. After drying, the excess is removed with a cloth (oil based), or sanding (water based). <br /><br /><br /><br />Jeff

is chinese ash hardwood ?<br />what's its hardness ?<br />can I use it for outdoor furniture ?<br />does it need a finish to leave carfree outdoors ?

chinese ash Q# 1504 / Submitted 7/13/2006

I'm not familiar with the Chinese ash variety, but domestic ash typically isn't used for outdoor applications. It's lack of tannin makes it prone to decay and insect attack. <br /><br />It is a hardwood though. <br /><br />You might want to run this question past Ang on the Plywood forum as he is better than I with some of the less common wood species.

I have an old dresser that I'd like to do a distressed painted finish on. The top is Formica-type and the rest is some sort of veneer. What products do you recommend I use for this project?<br /><br />Marla

Refinishing Formica and Veneers Q# 1503 / Submitted 7/12/2006

I would recommend you go to a good paint store and ask then for a special primer that will act as a tie coat between the Formica and the paint you choose. There are several made. Typically these primers can be used on the other parts (wood). <br /><br />The wood and Formica must be cleaned with a wood cleaner (TSP) and then sanded with 120 grit sandpaper before priming. Once the primer has dried, you can apply the type of paint you like (color-wise). Once the paint is dry, you have the option of distressing by mechanically abrading, banging or chipping the paint. Then a dark glaze is typically applied which accentuates the distress markings. Once dry the glaze should be protected with a coat of clear finish.

Hello,<br />I'm a professional painter but not a stain expert. My problem is my client wants poplar,pine and mahogany stained so that every thing looks cherry. I've heard of using a toner? Please help. Thank you

3 different woods one match stain Q# 1496 / Submitted 7/7/2006

Yes - this application requires the use of toners for best results. Toners are always applied by spray equipment (usually Turbine HVLP, compressed air HVLP or conventional). Toners are available pre-mixed from some finishing supply companies, but are usually made by mixing color into a clear finish. For transparent toners, dye is used, while pigment is used for a semi-transparent effect. <br />Some finishers simply put stain into a clear finish, but you must make sure the two are compatible. It's best you get a hold of a good finishing supplier that caters to professionals. Here are several links:<br /><br />http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/<br /><br />http://www.touchupdepot.com/<br /><br />http://www.mlcampbell.com/<br /><br />Toners can be part of a complicated finishing schedule in which the wood is stained first with a dye stain, then glazed, then toned. Or you can simply apply sealer with color in it on bare wood until you get the depth of shade you want, then topcoat. ALWAYS topcoat your toner for protection.<br /><br />My latest book - The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing, has a whole section on toners. <br /><br />http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/store/pages/070712.asp <br /><br />Jeff <br />

I have 1x6 T&G pine flooring, when installed 15 years ago it was flipped over so the T&G didn't show.We filled the cracks with a mixture of fine saw dust stain & poly. Over the years it has started to come out.We are ready to refinish again can we fill these cracks with anything that want come out? Maybe wood filler?

cracks in pine flooring Q# 1482 / Submitted 6/26/2006

The best product to use is a trowel grade wood floor filler. Famowood makes one and I have seen it sold at Home Improvement stores. If you have a hard time finding it try this link:<br /><br />http://www.eclecticproducts.com/trowelgrade.htm<br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br />I am contacting again because my Home Depot was not informative. I am the guy who is doing the template staind job and needs fine lines. You said apply two coats of finish before everything. What brand of finish do you reccomend?

Fine line Finish Q# 1481 / Submitted 6/25/2006

You can use shellac, varnish or lacquer. It doesn't really matter what the finish is, not does it need to be something special. One or 2 coats of the finish you like using (or are going to use over the painting works fine. <br /><br />Jeff

I built a birch dresser and am trying to make a custom fineline stain job on the top of the dresser. It is fro my little brother and he wants a flame design on it. I drew a nice template and tested on a scrap piece of wood. When i applied the stain it bled over the lines i had taped out. Is there a way to get those lines to not bleed so the design stays the right form???<br />Thanks alot

Custom Stain Job Q# 1479 / Submitted 6/24/2006

Stencil type finishing is never done on bare wood for the reason you describe. The stain will absorb into the wood and creep under the tape. <br />The best way is to seal the wood first with 2 coats of finish, apply your template and then spray the color/stain on. That ensures that the color doesn't get under the tape. You can apply color by hand, but it's best to use a gel stain or thick paint. Don't use a thin stain or it will possibly creep under. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff<br />I'm considering buying a log home. The owner stained the exterior & interior with a dark reddish stain...I could live with the outside but the inside is very dark and gloomy.Could the interior be gone over with something to lighten/brighten it up?<br />thanks,<br />Chris

Dark Stain Finish Q# 1476 / Submitted 6/22/2006

No - not really. But you could try a paint stripper in a hidden area and see if it pulls out some of the color. Scrubbing with lacquer thinner also might work. Paint stripper is available in different forms that may be more user friendly and less smelly, so try that first. A citrus based stripper called Citristrip may work. <br /><br />Jeff

I stained a hope chest made with birch ply. Three sides turned out wonderful, but not the front. I tried a reapplication of the gel stain and it is still splotchy ad not pretty at all. Is there any way I can remove the old stain and reapply? I'm afraid to sand too much. Can the stain be stripped?

Removing bad stain job on birch ply Q# 1470 / Submitted 6/14/2006

You can strip most of the stain color with a paint stripper. Let dry, sand lightly with 220. Use a stain controller first (like Minwax) and follow the directions on the can. Then apply the gel and it should be a little better. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />Thanks so much for your reply! I was suprised to see it here on the site - but great.<br /><br />Our theory is that rustproofing paint, such as Tremclad or ArmourCoat, withstands incredible punishment and also requires no primer.<br /><br />Primer looses its bond to the pores of the wood and breaks down, causing paint to peel.<br /><br />Raw linseed oil never really hardens, keeping the paint pliable, allowing for the woods' constant expansion and contraction.<br /><br />Low maintenance factor is what we're working towards<br /><br />Perhaps our theory is faulty, but it seems to have worked on small, older outdoor projects such as fencing and gates.<br /><br />Also . . .<br /><br />What is the difference between raw linseed oil and boiled?<br /><br />Thanks so much for your help!

Rustproofing paint mixed with Linseed oil. Q# 1469 / Submitted 6/13/2006

Boiled linseed oil has driers (chemicals) added to it to make it dry faster. <br /><br />Jeff

Dear Sir,<br /><br />Hopefully you can answer me why many buyers use invoice size AND ALSO cutting size. Thanks

cutting and invoice size Q# 1468 / Submitted 6/11/2006

Please call Customer Service at 800-237-2428 (east coast) <br /><br />

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />We are about to put unfinished fir siding on the exterior of our house. We had planned to leave the wood unfinished until the Carpenter Bees arrived. YIKES!<br /><br />Now we are planning to use an exterior rustproofing paint as a finish, but want to thin the paint with linseed oil to keep it pliable and minimize to need to scrape, sand and refinish in future.<br /><br />Should we use RAW or BOILED linseed oil, and what oil to paint ratio would you recommend? Any other suggestions?<br /><br />Thanks so much,<br /><br />Gord and Elaine

mixing paint with linseed oil for exterior wood finishing Q# 1467 / Submitted 6/10/2006

I'm not sure you want to use a rustproofing paint, and thinning a product with linseed oil can seriously affect it's performance and drying times. I think you'd be better off with a semi-transparent stain/finish, which should provide you with the re-coating criteria you mention. <br /><br />If you must use linseed oil and paint, I'd use boiled linseed oil. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br /><br />My wife and I are remodeling a recreational cabin to serve as a house. The cabin has beveled, T&G pine floors. The gaps between the boards are quite large. The tounges are partially visible even in summer.Keeping these gaps clean of the detritus left by our two young boys has proven impossible. My wife really wants to refinish the floors and also find a way to narrow these gaps, but I fear that any sort of polyurathane finish that ends up in the gaps will interfere with seasonal expansion and contraction.<br /><br />Thanks,<br />John in Alaska

pine flooring with large gaps Q# 1464 / Submitted 6/8/2006

You are experiencing normal expansion/contraction of the pine floors, which is even more pronounced in the winter when the cabin is heated. <br /><br />Short of re-doing the floor, there is no way to fix this. Make sure when she refinishes, she cleans the gaps really well, and try not to pool any poly in the gaps when applying finish. Poly is flexible enough so that it should present a movement problem even if it gets thick. <br />Using a lambswool floor finish applicator should help to keep the poly at the top. Brush the first coat on so as to seal the visible tongues. You may want to do this in the winter when the gaps are widest.

I inadvertently sanded through the first veneer of a piece of oak plywood, leaving me with a noticeably yellow &quot;half moon&quot; type area. Even a fairly dark stain does not cover this area. Is there any way to &quot;rehabilitate&quot; this area and make for a more even finish?

Finishing Marred Plywood Q# 1461 / Submitted 6/6/2006

Usually there is not a way to do this - assuming you have just basic finishing skills. When you sand through the hardwood face veneer, you expose the core layer, which is poplar or fir, depending on where the panel was made. The core layer absorbs the stain differently and has a different texture. In addition the grain is running 90 degrees to the face. All of which presents problems in fixing. <br />I think you would be better off replacing it - rather than trying to live with a very noticeable repaired area. <br /><br />Jeff

I have just put the first coat of polyurethane on my newly stained stair rails, spindles etc. Sanding between coats (as recommended) has created light spots on some edges (removed some stain). Am I able to add some minwax stain to the minwax polyurethane to 'fill in' the light spots? I am using red mahogany stain on cherry.<br /><br />Thanks.<br /><br />Gordon Lemire

Tinting polyurethane Q# 1457 / Submitted 5/28/2006

You may be able to simply dry brush or feather in the unthinned stain. If you still get a light appeareance after the poly, you can add some of the stain to your poly. As long as you don't exceed 25%, it shouldn't affect the properties of the finish. <br /><br />Jeff

What is thebest tool for removing old finish from stairs? Drum sanders too big, edgers too hard to get smooth surface over width of step.

Stair refininshing Q# 1456 / Submitted 5/26/2006

I would expect that a random orbit sander would work on the main area, but you would have to come back and finesse the edge by hand or with the edging sander. <br />Chemical stripping may also be an option. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a client whom we are supplying aa-4 cherry to who is expiercing alot of transition wood creating blotchiness all over the panels. this is not acceptable to my client. what is causing this. a dark stain is being applied. with a crystal top finish from ML Campbell finishes.

Transition grain in Cherry Q# 1454 / Submitted 5/25/2006

This is a well-known problem with cherry. The solution is an approach of applying the stain so that it does not blotch. <br /><br />1. If using solvent based stains, glue-size can be applied as a method of controlling splotching. This is a water based product that is applied, allowed to dry, then scuff sanded before stain application. This product will not work with water based stains. Glue size is available from: <br /><br />http://www.custompak.com/<br /><br /><br /><br />2. If applying pigmented oil type wiping stains, oil based stain controller, thinned sanding sealer or shellac can be used in place of glue size. Sanding sealer or vinyl sealer is typically thinned 2 parts thinner to 1 part sealer, though the ratio of solvent can be decreased if blotching continues. <br /><br />3. If the above proves time consuming, or the depth of color cannot be achieved, the way most factory finishing is done is to simply spray apply a spray/no-wipe stain. Solvent based NGR's, water dyes can be used as no-wipe stains. Special pigmented stains are available. <br /><br />Please keep in mind something. This is NOT the fault of the wood. Cherry can blotch badly if special precautions are not followed. I would expect guidance from the finishing supplier for your customer to achieve a system that is dark enough without blotching. (ML Campbell) <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff, <br /><br />I had mistakenly used Zinser Bulls-eye 123 and latex paint to finish a project of mine and the knots subsequently bled thru. <br /><br />Do I have to strip this project and use BIN shellac primer, or can I apply this over the existing finish and paint over this new primer?<br /><br />Thanks for your help!

Strip it? Q# 1450 / Submitted 5/14/2006

Yes, you can paint it with the shellac based BIN and then go on to the paint. Make sure the surface is clean and it's not a bad idea to rough it up with some 180 grit. <br /><br />Jeff

I am the plant manager at a company in auburn wa. we purchased uv flat line a few years ago. when it comes to touch up i find our uv finishes very difficult to touch up. nothing wants to stick to it. do you have ideas or information on touching up uv finishes?

uv finishes Q# 1448 / Submitted 5/12/2006

The area that needs to be touched up must be cleaned with denatured alcohol, allowed to dry and sanded with 320 grit sandpaper before applying a touch up product. This should provide a mechanical bond. You might try calling Mohawk at 800-545-0047 for guidance in selecting a touch product. I would suggest a non-yellowing, water clear aerosol product. <br />Edges are far easier to do than internal areas, or large areas. The overspray "halo" effect may not be acceptable to cutomers. <br /><br />Jeff

I arecently bought an hvlp and compressor. I am trying to match a pinkish finish on some maple cabinets. I was told it was a tinted lacquer. How do I do that. Can I use minwax stains? Is lacquer the most durable finsh for cabinets?

tinted lacquer Q# 1436 / Submitted 5/2/2006

To tint lacquer (or any clear finish) you add a colorant that's compatible with the finish. This process is called toning. You can add small amounts of Minwax stain to clear solvent based lacquer. Don't exceed 10% by volume. <br /><br />Lacquer has been used in the past but it is not used anymore. It has been replaced by pre-catalyzed lacquer. I suggest you find a Sherwin Williams Commercial Branch (not the regular consumer stores) in your area and take them a sample of the cabinet finish. They also have tints that are made for the lacquer they sell. They can maybe mix the toner up for you or at least make a recommendation on which tint to buy. They also can sell you pre-catalyzed lacquer. <br /><br />If you don't have one of these branches try a good paint store that sells ML Campbell products. <br /><br />Jeff

We have just purchased a home with old pine flooring that was just sanded down to the bare wood. What type of polyurethane should we use to protect the wood from wear and tear (dogs)? Or is it best to leave it ?<br />thanks

pine flooring Q# 1434 / Submitted 5/2/2006

Use a polyurethane rated for floors. Two good ones are McCloskey GymSeal or Duraseal - which is made by Minwax. <br /><br />Keep in mind pine is soft and no finish may protect against the wear and tear from dogs. <br /><br />Jeff

We just had our staircase redone with maple steps and handrails. We have put on a light stain/sealer Minwax, and now need to put on a clear topcoat. What do you recommend at this point?

finishing stairs Q# 1433 / Submitted 4/28/2006

There are many good finishes out there. Polyurethane is the most durable. Two I recommend are McCloskey GymSeal and DuraSeal which is made by Minwax. Duraseal can be found by going here:<br /><br />http://www.duraseal.com/<br /><br />GymSeal can be tracked down by calling the McCloskey help line at 1-800-345-4530<br /><br />Jeff

I am looking for a use & care maintainance guide for uv wood finish panels for closeout submittals

uv wood finish use and care recommendations Q# 1431 / Submitted 4/24/2006

I have referred your e-mail address to Columbia Customer Service.

Is there any paint that is oak-colored? My doors in the house are painted white and I would like to change the color to match the oak wood trim. <br />Thank you,<br />Linda Heinz

painting white doors with an oak-colored paint Q# 1429 / Submitted 4/24/2006

All paint is opaque, so it can only simulate an area of the finished wood that you want to match. The best way to do this is to take a sample of the finished oak to a Sherwin Williams store and have them mix up a paint for you based on what the computer sees. It will not be transparent, nor will it reflect the varying colors in a natural wood. <br /><br />Jeff

we need info regarding wood panels to furring a building lobby, giving a new wall finish. The lobby is 14'7&quot; high ( finish floor to clg) and we are researching wood panels, thinking in a grid of 4'x8' aprox. Please send us info @:<br />1232 31st Street NW, Washington, DC 20007<br /><br />att: Alejandra Molina Jackson, <br />thank you!

wood panels, wall finish Q# 1421 / Submitted 4/12/2006

This is the wrong forum for your question. Please submit your question to the Plywood Forum. <br /><br />Jeff

Dear Jeff<br />I have 6-inch wide pine plank flooring in my home, stained and sealed with Minwax oil polyurethane, that I am getting ready to take down to bare wood. My friend, a contractor, says that Minwax is garbage and to try Gymseal. I admit that I am unimpressed wih the way the Minwax poly has held up. It scratches easily and is faded where the sun hits it. Will the Gymseal provide a much better and more durable finish? How many coats will I need? Can I use it over Minwax stain (the color of which I like) ? Any input would be so much appreciated!<br />Beth Roberts

Refinishing pine floors Q# 1420 / Submitted 4/9/2006

I agree that the Gymseal is a better product and should hold up better. However ------ strong sunlight is bad for any polyurethane so you might see premature wear in those areas. Area rugs, UV tint film on the windows, or even blinds will all help the finish hold up better. <br /><br />Jeff

I have installed Columbia engineered plank hardwood (williams maple natural)and want to stain poplar and pine to match. Can you tell me the correct stains for each wood. thank you.

stain color Q# 1413 / Submitted 4/3/2006

The maple is unstained in this color so there is no stain you can use on another wood to match it. <br /><br />Jeff

where can i find orange shellac?

painting Q# 1412 / Submitted 4/3/2006

Orange shellac is sold under the Bullseye Brand (www.zinsser.com). It is called "amber". This product contains a natural wax, so it cannot be used as a sealer under certain finishes. <br />Dewaxed orange shellac is available, but only from specialty mail order suppliers. <br /><br />Jeff

I have about 2400 sq.ft. of treated 3/4&quot; plywood walls in a commercial project. The architect has proposed for all of this wall to recive a skin coat and paint. From you previous answer to the drywall compound not being a good solution what is? I have heard mention of wall covering then paint. Is this the best option.

Paint application Q# 1407 / Submitted 3/30/2006

I guess my main question here would be:<br /><br />"Why was plywood used when it was going to be painted"?. Sheetrock would have been a better substrate. <br /><br />The answer is that I don't know how plywood will take the taping and drywall compound and give a smooth finished surface. I don't see why you couldn't do it, but I just don't know long it will stay that way. I certainly would use a good quality primer.<br /><br />The following was added by someone I asked who does a lot of this sort of thing:<br /><br />"I would ensure that the plywood was screwed well to the studs, not just nailed. Prime with oil primer like Cover stain or Kilz, then sand well with 150. After a vacuum, wipe surface with damp cloth to remove all remaining sanding dust. <br />Proceed with standard tape/compound job. I would use paper tape instead of mesh, and NO plaster, just plain old compound."<br /><br /><br />Jeff

I have carpeted stairs with a light oak railing and white balusters. I want to replace the carpet with cherry treads...will I also have to replace the handrails or can I restain them?

Oak color Q# 1396 / Submitted 3/27/2006

Oak has a different texture than cherry. Oak is "open grained" while cherry is "closed grain". You can minimize the differences in the two woods by using a cherry stain on the oak. Making it match perfectly is very hard to do, but you should be able to get close. You should strip or sand off the finish on the handrail before staining it for the best effect. <br /><br />Fortunately most stores that sell stains use oak for the display boards so you should be able to get a good match. <br /><br />Good Luck!<br /><br />Jeff

Hello, I have carpeted stairs and I'm about to change the runner. I noticed the stairs are rather dull-had originally stained them with a stain/sealer combo. Want to &quot;brighten&quot; them up without color change. Should I just put a polyurethane on them??, should I lightly sand first?? Is there another option?? Help!!!

stair "refinishing" Q# 1395 / Submitted 3/27/2006

If using am oil based poly, clean them first with mineral spirits, let dry, then fine-sand using 320 grit sandpaper. Clean the residue and then apply a sealer/tie coat of Zinsser SealCoat (www.zinsser.com). Let dry overnight, then sand lightly with 320 again. Then apply poly. <br /><br />Jeff

I am looking for a beam approximately 4&quot;x 10&quot;x10' white ash....do you carry or do you know who would carry this sized material?<br /><br /><br />thanls!<br /><br />Dennis

beams Q# 1394 / Submitted 3/26/2006

Please post your question over on the Plywood Experts Forum. Ang is a Columbia FP employee and can direct you to the proper source. <br /><br />Jeff

We have dark stain pine stringers on our stairway. We are redoing the house in light oak. Could we paint these stringers in light oak stain? We are worried that the pain would chip with vacuming. Any suggesting on how to finish these?<br />Claudia Seymour

stair stringers Q# 1393 / Submitted 3/25/2006

Yes you can paint without stripping. Clean the surfaces with TSP cleaner. Dry and then sand with 150 grit sandpaper. Remove the dust and prime with a shellac based BIN (www.zinsser.com) primer. Sand the primer when dry and then apply your paint color. You can use either water based or oil based paint. <br /><br />Jeff

I have 4x8 panel boards in my finished basement (cir. 1970's) .My question is, can i fill the cracks with taping compound and sand,then paint with no problems with cracking in the future and a smooth finish?

filling panel board with taping compound Q# 1392 / Submitted 3/25/2006

I'm guessing you mean the seams between the ply sheets. I'm not sure taping compound is good for wood panels. Tape and the joint compound was devised for inert drywall whcih has minimal if any movement. Plywood might be a bit more flexible but given the products out there to use, I think joint tape and compound might be the only thing you could find. I can't guarantee that you won't have issues down the road. Sorry I can't be more help.....<br /><br />Jeff


FINISHING PINE STAIR TREADS Q# 1382 / Submitted 3/11/2006

The main issue with this scenario is that the wood covered by the carpeting may be a different color and will stain differently. <br /><br />If you want to try it, sand the wood and then apply some mineral spirits. If you see the shadow of the carpet when it's wet with mineral spirits, that's the way it will stain and finish. So you may have to do a lot of sanding until it goes away. Try it on one tread to see if you can get it to look right and then evaluate whether it's worth the effort.<br /><br />Jeff <br /><br />

Hi, I realize that birch is prone to blotches, but does it depend on the way the staining process is done as to whether the blotches appear? I recently bought a house with upgraded birch cabinetry and they are covered in blotches and the stain is very uneven. Is this inevitable or a result of poor worksmanship?

Staining Birch Kitchen Cabinets Q# 1380 / Submitted 3/10/2006

I define "standard" finishing practice for furniture and cabinetry as knowing that certain woods are prone to splotching. Birch is one of them. I would expect a good finisher to know this and take the proper steps to obtain an even effect. Splotching is covered in every one of my books as well as others that deal with furniture finishing. <br /><br />On the other hand, painters and general on site finishers hired by a general contractor may not know this. Steps to prevent uneven staining are not covered in books like the Painting and Decorating Craftsmans Manual, which is the bible for painters. <br /><br />To answer your question, unless steps are taken to minimize splotching (like wash-coating) birch will splotch. It's not the stain or the woods fault.If the cabinets were made by a cabinet shop specializing in kitchen cabinets and other buid-ins, I would expect them to know this. <br /><br />Unless you ordered from a sample, I don't think there's a whole lot you can do. <br /><br />Jeff

I need to strip the desk and then refinish.<br />What is the best way to strip it with a limited knowledge and access to tools?

refinishing a antique desk Q# 1374 / Submitted 3/4/2006

Stripping finish is best done with a chemical remover. If it's an old clear finish, or a lacquer finish, it should come off easily with something called a furniture refinisher:<br /><br />http://www.minwax.com/products/specialty/furn-refinish.cfm<br /><br />Using this product requires chemical resistant gloves (usually sold where the remover is, and 00 steel wool) <br /><br />This product does not work on paint, polyurethane or modern finishes, which require something called paint and varnish paste remover. If you use this product you need gloves, plenty of rags and a wide putty knife. <br /><br />With both products make sure you work in a well ventilated area, preferably outdoors in the shade. Do not work in a closed environment or outside in direct sunlight. <br /><br />Once you get the finish off, sand the wood with 150, then 220, going with the grain of the wood. If it's veneer be careful not to sand too much. If you're not sure, don't do too much sanding in one place. Then you stain and apply clear finish. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />I finished a pine bar which had small knots in the wood. I painted it with 2 coats of Zinsser Bulls-eye 1-2-3 and 2 coats of Acrylic Latex paint, followed by 3 coats of semi-gloss poly. Everything looked great for a while, but now I can see the faint images of the knots! <br /><br />Where did I go wrong?

Painting Pine – Where did I go wrong? Q# 1371 / Submitted 2/27/2006

You used the wrong sealer. You should have used the BIN shellac based white primer/sealer which works better on knots. The one you used is for graffiti and stain blocking. <br /><br />Jeff

I'd like to do some decorative painting on a piece of unfinished furniture made of alder. I don't want the paint to look too opaque. Can I &quot;paint&quot; designs with a water-based wood stain?

Painting on Alder Q# 1369 / Submitted 2/26/2006

You might be able to, but artists use wash paints for this. They have the right characteristics of viscosity and open time for painting. I don't think stain would work very well. <br /><br />You would do best if you go to a crafts store or an artists supply store and ask. It's a common item. You might have to get two products, a paint and a thinner which keeps the viscosity and ope time the same. <br /><br />Jeff

what finish will leave the natural color of spalted maple? Everything I have tried darkens the color of the wood. I have seen several finished bowls that look like the natural color of the wood, but no way to ask the turner. thanks for your help.

finishes Q# 1366 / Submitted 2/23/2006

The finishes you want to consider are:<br /><br />1. Solvent (lacquer thinner base) acrylic lacquer. Sold to professionals as spray only. Types are called CAB-Acrylic (Sherwin Williams), Butyrate lacquers, acrylic butyrate. Krylon makes an aerosol version called "Crystal Clear". I get it at art stores. Hobby and craft stores are also a good place. The krylon.com website can help you find a retailer. <br /><br />2. Water based acrylics. Look for a brand that says: "Water clear/non-yellowing" on the can. There are also some urethanes that fit this as well. Minwax Polycrylic is one name brand that fits. <br /><br />Water based finishes sometimes do not add the depth and shimmer you see in solvent based products. I get better results with by using a super pale (super blonde) dewaxed shellac first as a sealer coat. <br /><br />Try these on some samples and see what looks best. <br /><br />Jeff

I want to change the finish of my oak cabinets to antique white with a darker glaze. What kind of paint and glaze should I use.

Painting Oak Cabinets Q# 1361 / Submitted 2/19/2006

First - clean the old finish with TSP to remove old dirt and grime. Then sand it with 150 and remove the dust. You might need a primer to establish a good bond between the old and new finish. White pigmented shellac (one brand is Zinsser BIN) is good for all types of paint. For this technique you can use oil based or water based paint, but if you use, use 100% acrylic. Two brands I like are Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo and Proclassic. <br /><br />Glazed finishes it's not a hard process to do. In a nutshell, you apply paint as your base color like you would to any other surface. After the paint dries the glaze is applied in two basic methods. In one - it's selectively applied to groves, recesses and moldings, and the excess wiped off to leave color just in the deeper parts. In the second method the glaze is applied all over, and the final effect is more or less a function of how the excess glaze is wiped off. The main issue is that once the glaze dries you have to protect it with a clear coat of finish compatible with the glaze. Typically water based glazes are used over water based paint and a water based clear finish is then applied. Same with oil based glazes, which are applied of oil based paint and clear oil varnishes are applied over the glaze. I recommend water based for this technique if you use a white or pastel, as many oil clear finishes add a yellow color which changes the whole effect. <br /><br />Pick up the February issue of WOOD Magazine which you can find at Borders and other good bookstores. It has an article I did in it that's pretty much like the finish you describe. It will tell you where to get the supplies, but any good local paint store (I'm partial to those that sell Benjamin Moore Paints) should be able to coach you through the process. <br /><br />Jeff

I have new oak treads, unfinished. Please give me the sequence of what and how many coats to apply? A natural oak finish is desired. Thanks Henry Jackson

new oak stair treads, finishes- 14 Feb 2006 Q# 1358 / Submitted 2/16/2006

Sweep all dirt and debris off the treads. Sand the wood, starting with 100, then 120 and then 150. Use a machine like a random orbit sander for the best results. Then vacuum the dust off. <br /><br />I'd apply 3-4 coats of oil based polyurethane. You can probably speed things up by using a polyurethane sealer for the first coat. Use a good quality, natural bristle 2-1/2' brush. After the sealer coat has dried sand with 320 grit. Remove dust and then apply 3 coats poly, letting each coat dry the recommended time bewteen coats. Typically sanding is required if more than 24 hrs has passed after the last coat. <br />I like McCloskey GymSeal Finish for floors, but this as well as other oil based have a yellowy color. If you want no color at all, use a water based polyurethane. <br /><br />Jeff

What type of finish (satin, semi or high gloss) is best for oak treads. The stairs are a heavy traffic area. I will be staining them a Teak clor using a gel stain.

new oak stair treads Q# 1355 / Submitted 2/14/2006

Generally it's advisable to use a satin finish which will disguise scratches and scrapes better than something glossier. Make sure you apply at least 3-4 coats. Also, use polyurethane which resists scratches better than other types of finishes. <br /><br />Jeff

I am building a new home and I am geting maple cabinets, I like the look of what they call glazed where it is darker in the creases of the cabinets, but its a lot more expensive. How can I do it myself for less cost?

glazing kitchen cabinets Q# 1352 / Submitted 2/13/2006

For the sake of argument lets assume you can order the cabinets unfinished. <br /><br />The general sequence is as follows:<br /><br />1. Sand the wood to 180 grit and remove the dust.<br /><br />2. Stain the wood or paint it if you like. <br /><br />3. Apply one clear coat of finish to lock in the stain. If you are painting, you can skip this. <br /><br />4. Apply a dark colored glaze product to just the recesses with a sash brush. Wipe the excess off with a rag. You can buy either oil based glazes which are used with oil paints and stains, or water based glaze which is used with water based stains and paints. <br /><br />5. Apply a clear finish over the glaze when it's dry in the sheen that you want. Today satin or semi-gloss seem to be the most popular. <br /><br />The process as done with paint and dark glaze can be seen in the latest issue of WOOD Magazine. <br /><br />NOTE: If the cabinets are already finished, it's not a process that can be done easily. <br /><br />Jeff

I just bought a beautiful, like new buffet at a thrift store but need the color to be a dark wood instead of the blonde color it is now. Can I sand the veneer and then stain it darker?

changing to a darker wood stain Q# 1349 / Submitted 2/11/2006

It's better that you strip the finish off completely and expose the bare, clean wood so that it will stain evenly. I suggest using a paste type paint and varnish stripper. Use it remove the finish and then use denatured alcohol to clean the residue. Then sand with 180 grit, then 220. Clean off the residue and then stain to your liking. Make sure to protect the stain with several coats of clear finish. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br /><br />We have a customer in Bend, OR (Brian's Cabinets) that produces their own doors. Alder is on of their top species and they have recently had finishing issues with our thin Alder plywood on MDF core. The panel is an A-B grade and the A face is staining up much darker (almost purple) than the B side. I have a sample that I would like to send you. Do you have any other ideas to help their process.<br /><br />Thanks,<br />Mike Simington<br />Columbia Forest Products<br />Klamath Falls, OR<br />800-547-1791

Finishing on Alder Plywood Q# 1347 / Submitted 2/10/2006

No problem. I sent you a private e-mail with details. <br /><br />Jeff

My house is trimmed in oak througout--interior doors, sashes, baseboards etc. I am considering paint all of it white. What type of paint and preparation do I need to do?<br /><br />Thank you,<br /><br />Tracey Pirtle

Painting oak stained baseboards and doors Q# 1345 / Submitted 2/7/2006

You don't say whether it's finished or not, but I'll assume it is, since oak wouldn't be used if the wood was meant to be painted. <br /><br />One thing you need to know is that oak can be painted, but the paint does not cover up the deep grain in this wood, and the result is that you have the grain visible. <br /><br />If you want to proceed, clean the woodwork with a TSP or substitute, then sand it with a maroon scotchbrite pad. Remove the dust and then apply your paint. I'd use oil base, because oil was probably used originally. If not - you can use waterbase. If you ask at a good paint staore, they can typically sell you a "tie-coat" primer which will bond the paint better to a questionable finish underneath. <br /><br />If you want to cover up the deep grain, the procedure is the same except that you'll have to apply more coats of primer and then level sand until the pore outlines are gone, then go with your paint. A lot of work.......<br /><br />Jeff

I am preasently finishing a tiger maple quilt chest .The bottom is finished with light colonial maple stain which I covered with a oil varnish,the top however is made of spalted maple breadboarded with quilted maple ,my consern is getting the spalted maple close to the same tone without blotching or destroying the figure.Would like some suggestions of how to proceed .Thanks in advance ART PETERS

stain and finish on quilted curly spalted maple Q# 1344 / Submitted 2/6/2006

The simplest thing to do would be to try the same stain on the top if you have a scrap piece to test. (If no scraps, see below about wash-coating first).<br /><br />Generally speaking if you want to enhance figure on highly figured wood like quilted maple go with a water soluble dye stain. As long as the color is light, it should not splotch, but check first on a scrap piece. If it does splotch, apply a washcoat first. A washcoat is typically a 1/2 - 1 pound cut dewaxed shellac, applied with a rag, then sanded after drying with 240 drit sandpaper. You might have to try several colors to achieve the same tone as the bottom. <br /><br /><br /><br />Jeff

What do I have to do to the maple doors before I can paint them? They are factory finished in a natural maple finish which was applied at the factory.

painting maple cabinet doors Q# 1343 / Submitted 2/6/2006

Sand them with 180 grit, then clean. You may want to check with your paint store to see if they suggest a "tie-coat" primer compatible with your paint to insure adhesion. <br /><br />Jeff

Is it possible to stain a dark colored desk to a lighter shade to match existing furniture in room?? The top of this desk has a formica type top that is also dark colored.

Refinishing a desk? Q# 1342 / Submitted 2/4/2006

1. It isn't posible to stain Formica, you'd have to either put new Formica over the old or take the old off and replace it. <br /><br />2. You can stain wood a lighter color, however unless you want to paint it, you'll have to remove the old finish. Use a paint and varnish remover, and then clean all the residue with clean rags, then denatured alcohol. Sand with 150 grit, then 180 and then you can stain it the color you like. <br /><br />Jeff

I've been trying to refinish my 25 year old oak cabinets. They're currently stained a medium brown color, very boring. I'm trying to go lighter. I stripped them, and tried several different white or pickling stains, but am very unhappy with the results. The finish is very uneven with some whitish areas and some bare wood areas. The grain is also very prominent. How can I acheive a professional, clean, lighter look? Should I bleach?

REFINISH OAK CABINETS Q# 1332 / Submitted 1/30/2006

Oak is oak and will exhibit prominent grain unless you paint it. <br /><br />However on the other issues, it sounds like you didn't do good surface preparation after stripping. Here is the way I do it. <br /><br />1. After you have removed the finish, take some of the stripper paste or liquid, and using a green Scotchbrite pad, scrub the wood surface to remove any residual finish and stain. Wipe excess sludge with paper towel or rags. <br /><br />2. Then use lacquer thinner and clean again with clean cloths. Follow that up when dry with sanding, first 150, then 180. After the 180 apply distilled water with a plant mister and see that the water does NOT bead up on the surface and "wets-out" the wood. (It darkens when it's wetted out.) This second step ensures that all finish is removed from the surface and is ready to accept stain or finish. If the surface feels rough after this step, sand again with 180. <br /><br />3. Try a white pickle stain, but in a gel form. These are thicker and do a better job of pickling on oak. Several applications may be necessary with drying in between. <br /><br />If you do a pickle finish make sure you use a light colored or water clear/non-yellowing finish. Most water based finishes fit this bill but check with the supplier and make sure it says so on the can. <br /><br />Jeff

My fireplace hearth has rather intricate woodworking on it and it is painted. Is there a way or a product to stain over the paint rather than trying to strip off the old paint?

Staining over a painted surface Q# 1331 / Submitted 1/30/2006

Not really, but you could try painting and a technique called glazing which is a very popular technique right now. <br />First - before working on old painted surfaces that may contain lead, get the right respiratory protection. The easiest one to find is a P100 series disposable respirator. <br />Remove the loose paint with a nylon or soft brass brush, then clean with TSP or a TSP substitute. Let dry and sand with a maroon color synthetic Scotchbrite pad. Remove the dust with a vacuum and make sure you empty the vacuum immediately after and keep that respirator on!<br />Re-prime the surface with a primer that's compatible with the paint you'll use. (Tell the person at the paint store what you're doing and they should get you the right primer). Apply the paint and when it's dry apply a dark stain or glaze. When dry topcoat with a stain or flat clear finish. <br /><br />Good paint stores like Benjamin Moore dealers should have all the supplies you need, even the respirators. If you want to check out a version of this finish on a piece of furniture, look at the latest issue (Feb/March) of WOOD Magazine. <br /><br />Jeff

We had light colored laminate installed by our builder 6 years ago and it has changed to a greenish color near the back door where the sun comes in. Any way to restore it to a color more similar to the original?<br /><br />Jackie

laminate finish Q# 1329 / Submitted 1/29/2006

If by laminate you mean a Formica type product, no you cannot "fix" it easily. However an installer can put the same style laminate over it. This may be covered by the laminate manufacturers warranty. <br /><br />Somehow though I don't think you mean laminate in the conventional sense (like Formica) becuase it's rare that these products change color or fade. I think you may mean a manufactured wood product such as hardwood veneer plywood. The wood veneer, the stain and the finish are all affected by strong sunlight and a color change or fade is to be expected in strong sunlight. If this is the case, the wood must be stripped of the finish and sanded, re-stained and then finished. While there is no way to totally insure against problems caused by strong sunlight there are several steps you can do to minimize it's effects.<br /><br />1. Use UV tinted window film or blinds (white blinds are best) to filter or block the sunlight. <br /><br />2. Use a pigment stain (if you are staining) and I would discourage the use of oil based polyurethane which is notorious for cracking, peeling and yellowing under strong sunlight. Use a non-yellowing, water clear and water based polyurethane instead. Varathane is one easy to find product that should work well. <br /><br />Jeff

i am trying to stain my cabinets that are oak to a dark stain to match my furniture. i would like to find something that is a close to merlot. i have tried about 15 stains from home depot and lowes. do you have any suggestions. thanks

staining Q# 1327 / Submitted 1/28/2006

If you take a sample of the color to a Sherwin Williams store they have a computer that can help custom mix the stain for you. You may want to call in advance to make sure they offer the service.<br /><br />Another option is to use a product that is called a dye stain for wood. This product penetrates differently than common consumer wiping stains and may get you the color you want because they're offered in bright primary and seconday colors. For samples try here: <br /><br />http://www.wdlockwood.com/main.html<br /><br />I really don't know what the color "merlot" is, but if I had to guess the color Bordeaux may be close, or perhaps red mahogany. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />Jeff

my light oakcabinets are about fifteen years old, recently there are rust colour spots appearing under the finish, appears to be something coming out of the wood. also some black stains right at the bottom of the doors. Any suggestions ?

oak cabinet doors Q# 1325 / Submitted 1/27/2006

When you have colored stains under a finish there is little you can do. I suggest you have a professional come out and take a look. What you are describing sounds like water damage. Oak is sensitive to water because of its high tannin content which leaves a grayish/black stain behind. <br /><br />The black color at the bottom indicates that the bottoms of doors were not properly finished. A standard KCMA (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association) edge soak test requires edges of doors to be properly finished to exclude mositure/water/steam penetration. <br /><br />All in all - I'd say you're due for a re-finish due to the age of the cabinets. 15 years ago cabinet finishers were still using lacquer which doesn't hold up as well as modern finishes like conversion varnish. <br /><br />Jeff

How do I refinish oak cabinets? I do not know whether or not they have varnish on them.

re-staining oak cabinets Q# 1323 / Submitted 1/24/2006

It depends on what you want to do. I'll outline below the options you have. To test if the wood has finish or some sort of sealer on it, apply several drops of water to a horizontal surface (don't wipe it). If it beads up, there is some sort of finish or stain on it and the surface will have to be cleaned with TSP or similar cleaner, then sanded. If it soaks up, there is no finish and all you have to do is a light sanding with 180 grit sandpaper. <br /><br />1. If you want to paint it, simply clean or sand, apply a primer compatible with your paint, then your paint. <br /><br />2. If you want to stain it darker, apply a stain after cleaning and sanding. My advice would be a gel stain, which can be applied in successive coats to build up to the color you want. <br /><br />3. If you want it lighter, you have to strip the surface with a furniture paste type stripper, sand, then stain. <br /><br />If you use a stain, the stain should be protected with several coats of clear polyurethane in the sheen that you want. If you paint it, the paint is plenty protective on it's own. <br /><br />Jeff

When applying acrylic paint to new oak surface, the pores do not accept the paint easily. What type of primer and/or what type of process can I use to help the condition?

painting oak Q# 1321 / Submitted 1/24/2006

I take it that you mean the paint doesn't get down into the pore and the pore shows a different color? This problem is usually experienced when rolling or spraying. You might try cross-brushing with a brush first if this is the case. <br />The problem may also show up because the paint is simply not filling the pore, in which case a primer will fix the problem. You may have to use a brush to force it down into the pores as explained above. Also sand back after each coat of primer until the pore looks filled, then your coats of paint should flow out better. <br />A latex paint primer will work fine as long as it's oak plywood. On solid oak, a tannin blocking latex primer works well. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />Jeff

I have new oak kitchen cabinets I put golden oak stain and part of the wood does not look like it was stained at all. The cabinets look terrible. I would like to know where I could see samples of painted and washed finishes. I am ready to do something antique looking. HELP

finishing new oak cabinets Q# 1315 / Submitted 1/23/2006

I am assuming that the cabinets are unfinished right?<br /><br />Part of what makes oak look the way it does is it's prominent grain structure, which will typically stain darker than the denser intermediate areas. That sounds like what's happening when you apply the stain and you don't like the look. <br /><br />Unfortunately, oak is not the best wood to paint, but since that sounds like the look you want, you should check out the February/March issue of WOOD Magazine. There is a great article on how to do the painted/glazed look you want. Help is usually available at good local paint stores. I'm partial to Benjamin Moore dealers. <br /><br />You also can get some basic information if you scroll down a bit to the oak cabinets question from Jan 15th. <br /><br />Jeff

The lower cabinets in my &quot;new&quot; house ( oak doors but not all wood otherwise) have very dark, blackish areas. what causes this and can it be cleaned?

oak cabinets with black creases Q# 1312 / Submitted 1/23/2006

Dark black areas are usually areas that come into frequent contact with peoples hands. It's probably where they were grabbed to open and close. As long as the finish does not feel sticky or is gummy, you can clean this off with some mineral spirits and a rag, followed by some water with a dash of Dawn detergent added. If it's really stubborn, you can try these solutions in conjunction with 0000 steel wool, but be careful, or you can remove the finish. <br /><br />If it's really bad, and the finish is removed easily by either of these solvents or gentle rubbing, it means that the frequent handling has deteriorated the finish and it needs to be removed and re-finished. <br /><br />Jeff

We have new maple cabinets being made and have seen the &quot;glazed&quot; finish in several cabinet stores. We would like to do our own. Is it a stain or paint that is applied? Is the glaze applied to the entire door or only along the bevelled edges? Where do we purchase such supplies?? We are interested in the mocha glaze with the very light almost white coloured base colour.

applying stain and/or paint as well as glaze maple cabinets Q# 1310 / Submitted 1/20/2006

Glazed finishes are very popular today. "Glazing" is a technique of applying a translucent color (almost like a stain) over a sealed surface. The surface can be stained or painted and in your case it sounds like an off white paint was used. <br />It's not a hard process to do. In a nutshell, you apply paint as your base color like you would to any other surface. On wood, a primer is generally used first. After the paint dries the glaze is applied in two basic methods. In one - it's selectively applied to groves, recesses and moldings, and the excess wiped off to leave color just in the deeper parts. In the second method the glaze is applied all over, and the final effect is more or less a function of how the excess glaze is wiped off. <br /><br />Pick up the latest issue of WOOD Magazine which you can find at Borders and other good bookstores. It has an article I did in it that's pretty much like the finish you describe. It will tell you where to get the supplies, but any good local paint store (I'm partial to those that sell Benjamin Moore Paints) should be able to coach you through the process. <br /><br />Jeff

Two questions:<br />We installed a hardwook floor in our kitchen and are now installing a Columbia hardwood floor in our living room. The shades of the floors do not match, should they? To make them match we could sand and restain our kitchen floor. what do you suggest?<br />The new living room floor has a natural finish that is too glossy for our taste. Is there a way to reduce the shine on the floor without refinishing?<br />Thanks for your advice my wife is really nervous about these two issues.

finishes Q# 1309 / Submitted 1/19/2006

To answer the first question: Unless the flooring is the same product and comes from the same lot and manufacturer, I would not expect them to match. From the wording of your question, it seems they are not. Even natural finishes (no stain) can result in different shades of flooring, even though it may say "maple" or "oak". <br /><br />If both of these products are manufactured, pre-finished, flooring I would advise against re-finishing or reducing the sheen unless you talk to a professional who can determine if these procedures can be done. <br /><br />If both products are from Columbia Flooring, and are supposed to match, contact the Columbia Distributor who handled your sale and they can direct you to the proper folks at Columbia. <br /><br />Jeff

Can I use regular latex paint as a primer instead of latex primer?

Primer/paint Q# 1305 / Submitted 1/17/2006

The short answer is no. In some situations you can proceed directly to the latex paint without the use of a primer, but if the situation calls for a primer, the regular paint won't work the same. <br />Primers are formulated for specific applications, such as sealing old finishes, grafitti blocking, smoke damage blocking and so on, but they all share some general characteristics, one of which is sandability. Regular latex paint doesn't sand well and that reason alone makes using a primer a good thing. <br /><br />Jeff

We moved into a house with 18 year old oak cabinets. They are dull - in some placed more so that others and we would like to restain them. We are told that there is no varnish finish on them - only an oil based stain. We are also told we can lightly sand them and then apply a new stain over top of them. Do you believe this is possible or do you have any other ideas that might be helpful?

Oak Cabinet Refinishing Q# 1303 / Submitted 1/16/2006

If that is the case, yes you can apply more stain. Clean the surface thoroughly with mineral spirits, then sand them when dry with 320 grit sandpaper or a gray abrasive pad. Wipe some oil stain on and see if it darkens enough to your liking (you cannot re-stain them lighter). <br /><br />If the liquid oil stain doesn't work very well try an oil based gel stain like Bartley or Minwax. <br /><br />One the stain is dry several coats of oil based polyurethane should be applied. <br /><br />Jeff

We bought a House with oak cabinets in the kitchen. Is it possible to paint them dark (mocha) and glaze them with dark color? if it is what kind of paint and glaze I should use?

oak cabinets Q# 1301 / Submitted 1/15/2006

Painting cabinets is very straightforward to do and well within the range of the average do-it-your-selfer. If you were staining them, you'd probably have to strip them, but as long as the finish is in good shape, you should be able to paint right over the existing finish. <br /><br />First, determine that the finish is in good shape. There should be no large areas of finish missing, and it should not be peeling and cracked all the way through to the bare wood. If all looks OK you can proceed. <br /><br />To paint the cabinets, remove all the hardware and clean them with TSP or similar substitute (TSP is not sold in some states). Let dry, and then sand with 220 grit sandpaper. Remove the dust and then apply a primer. Personally I would use a "tie-coat" primer available from your paint store. Tell them what you're doing and they'll know what to sell you.<br /><br />After the primer is applied, sand it and remove the dust. Now you have a decision to make. Oak has very pronounced grain which are channels in the wood. If you do not want these to show, you'll have to apply more primer, let it dry and then sand back until the grain is gone and the surface is smooth. This may require a good deal of extra effort so be forewarned. <br /><br />Once the surface is primed to your liking, apply your base coat paint. Let it dry then apply your glaze. I would apply a clear topcoat over the glaze once it's dry to protect the glaze and allows you to clean the surface easier. Use a gloss, semi-gloss or satin clear finish. <br /><br />The above procedure can all be done in water base, which eliminates strong odors in your house. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

I'm interested in using a clear finish over your prefinished UV cured panels. The product seems to be in the polyurethane or polyester coatings family. Each of which could prove problematic in applying another clear coat. My thought is that if the surface is lightly sanded with 220 girt paper , dusted and coated with a high adhesion acryilc varnish such as Diamond elite that this would work. do you agree?<br /><br />Thanks

Coating UV Cured clear coating Q# 1299 / Submitted 1/14/2006

Yes - it will work. You need the mechanical adhesion from the sanding. If scratches are visible try moving up to a 320 or 400. I would also wipe the surface with denatured alcohol after sanding to remove the dust as well as other possible surface contaminants. <br />We have found that most acrylics, nitrocellulose lacquers, vinyls, and pre-cat lacquers exhibit good adhesion directly to the finished panel. <br /><br />Jeff

We currently get an uv finished panel from you and we have all kinds of scratches on the panels. I thought that an UV cured product was scratch resistant and almost 10 times harder. My question is is the above is true, than why would we be getting so many panels with scrathes on them?

UV finish Q# 1278 / Submitted 1/5/2006

Are you receiving the product from your supplier already scratched or is it getting scratched during your production process? <br /><br />While the product will resist most common surface scratching, it will scratch if slid on a rough surface (like a cabinet saw table. It can also pick up dirt and debris between panels during transport and storage that cause some surface scratching. I would get with your supplier and between them and Columbia they can address your concerns. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi,<br />I wanted to reface my kitchen cabinets and called someone for an estimate. They showed us some material of wood which can be washed in water to remove any satins. I forgot the name of the material. I would like to get an estimate from others but do not remember the name can you let me know if you know any such material<br /><br />Thanks

Material for kitchen cabinets Q# 1267 / Submitted 12/19/2005

It sounds to me like vinyl re-facing which is not a "wood" product. <br /><br />Jeff

We moved into our home 18 years ago. The cabinets in the kitchen are a warm oak. We would lke to refinish them in a similar color for compatability with the granite counters that are Giallo Veneziano. What is the process for refinishing. The cabinets are in great shape except where hands touch them and minor water damage next to the dishwasher. I cannot locate anything in our original paperwork that stated the color of the finish. Hope you can help.

Oak Cabinets refinishing Q# 1258 / Submitted 12/8/2005

For best results, the original finish must be removed, the wood sanded with 180 grit sandpaper, then re-stained and finished with a commercial kitchen cabinet finish or if you do it yourself, polyurethane. <br /><br />Jeff

We purchased a house with oak cabinets in kitchen, 2 large storage cabinets in hallway, and a couple more locations, all oak. We prefer cabinets with smoother grain. with tan walls and white wide baseboards, would it work to paint all that oak white matching the baseboards?

Oak cabinets stain or paint Q# 1256 / Submitted 12/7/2005

Yes you can but you still may see some of the open texture of the oak showing through. You may be able to minimize it a lot by using an easy sand primer in multiple coats before the paint. Apply several coats of the primer and sand it with 220 when dry to "cut back" the primer until the grain is filled. Then apply your paint. <br /><br />Jeff

I just saw Sandeply at Home Depot in Montgomery, AL. I am thinking of using it to make a fireplace mantle to be painted white. Does it work well with a painted finish. Also, what steps in the finishing process would you recommend? Thanks Glenn Huovinen

Sandeply Q# 1250 / Submitted 12/5/2005

Yes it paints well. For the best results, tape the exposed edges with veneer tape (the iron on kind) and trim the excess. Sand the ply with 150 to smooth it once it's assembled. Then remove the residue and apply a primer. Two coats of primer with sanding between are recommended. Use 220 grit in between coats. Then apply your paint. You can use either latex or oil based. I prefer the latex because the oil based will smell once it gets hot. If you use latex make SURE you use an acrylic enamel. Examples of this type are Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo acrylic and Sherwin Williams ProClassic. <br /><br />Jeff

Can you explain the process of using toners instead of a stain/clear process?<br /><br />AND<br /><br />Sanding sealers-- in what type of situation are they necessary and when you can you get away with not using them?

Stain/clear process vs. toners Q# 1245 / Submitted 12/2/2005

Question 1. Toners are used when the wood may stain unevenly if a stain is wiped on. They are also used to achieve very even coloration. Typically the wood is sealed with a low solids sealer, sanded, then the toner applied. An experienced operator is necessary for this phase and they "tone up" to match an approved sample. A clear coat is then applied for protective qualities. This process, if done correctly results in very tight tolerances for uniformity and color, because it eliminates the unpredictability that happens when wood is wiped with a stain. (light/dark areas, splotching, etc) <br /><br />Question 2. Sanding sealers are used when a thinned version of the topcoat finish is unacceptable or does not perform well. An example is lacquer, which does not sand well, so a sanding sealer is used which has additives to make it sand better.<br />Some finishes sand perfectly well and dry fast like waterbase and conversion varnish so sealers aren't necessary.<br />In other situations sealers like shellac or vinyl will prevent problems such as adhesion. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi,<br />I'm geeting ready to refinish a guitar and I am going to use Nitrocelluose lacquer for the fisnish coat. I want to paint it first, and I have some latex in enamel in the color that I want. The question is: should I paint it with a oil based enamel first or should I go a different route. I just don't want to use anything other than the nitro-lacquer for the top coat. Thanks.

Nitro-Lacquer over paint Q# 1241 / Submitted 11/23/2005

I wouldn't use either oil based or latex for paint on a guitar. It'd best to use pigmented nitro lacquer. You'll have to make your own using the colorants here:<br /><br />http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_supplies/Colors,_tints,_and_stains/ColorTone_Liquid_Pigments_for_Lacquer.html<br /><br />Oil base can wrinkle badly when sprayed with lacquer and latex is too soft. <br /><br />JJ

yes,<br /> i would like my oak cabinets in my trailer to come back to life. they look so dry. what can i put on them to bring them back out. something simple to do, not to much work. <br /> thanks alot!!

cabinet coming back out Q# 1238 / Submitted 11/20/2005

Usually a polish of some sort will do wonders. Try one of the many products called "Lemon Oil" or something similar. In this area we get a product called Milsek which is good stuff.<br /><br />http://www.milsek.com/

We have removed brass back plates from behind our handles on our kitchen cabinets. It has left a black ring and bled upward into the wood surrounding the handles backplates. How can we remove these black rings? Possibilly water related?

kitchen cabinets Q# 1237 / Submitted 11/20/2005

This type of problem typically is a reaction between iron and water. It's easy enough to remove "black stain" (as it's called) on bare wood using a wood bleach product known as oxalic acid.<br /><br />http://www.dap.com/product_details.aspx?product_id=324<br /><br />When it's applied to the bare wood it works very quickly and 99% of the time with one application. But the procedure is somewhat dicey if there is any finish over the problem areas. If it doesn't work, the bleach has to applied after stripping the finish. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

we have 3 big pieces of furniture we are making with soft maple. we want to maintain the original color of the wood but need a durable finish as 2 of the 3 pieces will be work stations; a scrapbooking table and a computer amoire. Do you have any suggestions on a finish? Thanks so much.

finishing soft maple Q# 1230 / Submitted 11/6/2005

If you are finishing it yourself, the only product you can use is a hard water based urethane finish. Make sure it's water clear and non-yellowing. <br /><br />If you have spray equipment and the right facilities, or a professional is doing it, use a 2 component urethane, (also called 2K urethane). If possible specify an aliphatic (non-yellowing) urethane with a UV inhibitor for substrate protection. These are made by companies such as ICA, ILVA, and Chemcraft. This type of finish is the most durable you can apply to your projects, and it's the one that's on my desk at work. <br /><br />Jeff

Are all the surfaces on the cabinets washable?

kitchen cabinets Q# 1229 / Submitted 11/6/2005

Typically yes, but you should check with the manufacturer for cleaning instructions. <br /><br />Jeff

I just purchased a home with oak cabinets. What I don't like about the cabinets is the contrast of the grain in the wood and the color of the cabinets. I would like not to see so much of the grain. Someone suggested staining the cabinets darker. Would that help?

restaining oak cabinets Q# 1228 / Submitted 11/6/2005

As long as the cabinets are unstained, a darker color will make the grain less pronounced as it will contrast less with the intermediate denser areas. The color chart in the link below shows this quite well<br /><br />http://www.minwax.com/products/woodstain/gelstain-color.cfm<br /><br />However, your cabinets are already finished which makes things problematic, because the stain won't have anywhere to penetrate. You can try the following procedure on a hidden or inconspicuous area and see if the results are OK. <br /><br />1. Clean the surface with TSP. Let dry<br /><br />2. Sand the finsh with 220, and remove the dust. <br /><br />3. Purchase one of the gel stains mentioned in the link above(make sure they are gel stains, not the normal liquid stains), apply the gel stain to this area and see if the result looks OK to you. I recommend the gel stains because you can spread them on and wipe the excess off in a manner that creates the effect that you want. Try not to apply too heavy a coat. <br /><br />4. Once dry apply several coats of an oil based varnish or polyurethane. <br /><br />5. Wait 72 hours after the last clear coat and then apply some clear packing tape to the finished area and press it down with your finger. Then quickly tear it off. If the entire stain/finish comes off with the tape, that means your finish didn't stick well to the finish on the cabinets and you may have to apply a dewaxed shellac "tie-coat" to the old finish after the sanding step above, but before you put on the stain. <br /><br />As you can see, this may or may not work. It's due to the modern finishes typically used in kitchen cabinets that's very tough to finish over. Consider paint as a last option. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello!<br />I am a pretty handy lady when it comes to home products and I want to refinsish my ktichen cabinets. However, I want to make sure that I do it properly. My kitchen cabinets are only 4 years old (I bought one of those &quot;cookie- cutter&quot; townhomes), so they are in perfect condition. I beleive that they have a veneer on them and they are not fully wood- but particle board with a oak veneer. I want to stain them a cherry color. Can you tell me if it is possible to do with those type of cabinets and how I would go about doing so. Thanks a million<br />Katie

refinishing kitchen cabinets Q# 1225 / Submitted 11/3/2005

With current manufacturing techniques and the products used to make kitchen cabinets, I don't think the average handy-oriented homeowner can do anything but paint them. To stain something you need to get it into the bare wood, and it's not possible for you to strip your cabinets. <br /><br />To paint the cabinets, remove all the hardware and clean them with TSP or similar substitute (TSP is not sold in some states). Let dry, and then sand with 220 grit sandpaper. Remove the dust and then apply your paint. I would use a "tie-coat" primer available from your paint store. Tell them what you're doing and they'll know what to sell you. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />I am finishing a solid pine &quot;Pine Bar&quot; which I built from raw lumber. I have primed the wood with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 (2 coats) and then painted it with 2 coats of 100% Acrylic Latex. <br /><br />My next step is to paint a protective finish on top of the paint. I chose Minwax Polycrilic (waterbased.<br /><br />I sanded between every coat of primer and paint except the last with 220 grit. <br /><br />My Question is: <br />Should I sand the last coat of paint before applying the 4-5 coats of the water-based poly? <br /><br />I noticed the finish was rough to the touch after each coat of paint. Or should I apply the finish and rub out/sand that instead and leave the paint as is.<br /><br />I don't know if sanding the final coat of paint would ruin the look - I sanded the 1st coat and it seemed OK.<br /><br />Any help would be appreciated.

Water-Based Poly over Acrylic Paint Q# 1209 / Submitted 10/12/2005

You don't have to sand the paint, but if it feels rough, I would. Use 400 grit sandpaper and then make sure you remove the debris/dust left behind with a water dampened rag. Do not use a tack cloth or a product like steel wool. <br /><br />You can also sand between coats of the clear finish like above if it's rough. <br /><br />Jeff

Looking for water born primer that won't raise grain on popular. We are using soft maple for our painted frames and as you know it is very expensive, popular is less expensive but takes much more time to finish and still does not look as good as maple. We can not and do not want to spray any thing flamable. M. L. Campbell is our paint line of choice.<br /><br /> Thanks,<br /> Keith Knight

Finishing picture frames Q# 1206 / Submitted 10/5/2005

The is no water based primer that won't raise the grain. At least I've never found one. You can mimimize the grain raise by the way you apply it. Try not too apply the first coat too heavy. Also sanding to 320 or 400 grit will minimize the raise. <br /><br />Jeff

What is the best way to finish sandeply? Do I need to use a wood conditionser?

Sandeply Q# 1202 / Submitted 10/5/2005

There aren't any isuues with applying clear finishes. Use one that you like. Start sanding with 150 and then 180, making sure the 180 final sanding is with the grain and by hand with a backing block. <br /><br />As for stain uneven staining may occur with any type of stain. Gel stains are probably the least likely to do this while oil based liquid stains may be the worse. Try some of the stain on a test piece that's been sanded as noted above. Judge for yourself if the stain is acceptably even. If you see random, darker patches of stain, that's not good and you should use a stain conditioner. Make sure you use one that's compatible with your stain - water based for water based stains and oil based for oil based stains. Follow the directions on the can. It will never hurt to use a conditioner, however the stain will come out lighter than it does without using it. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br />These are several e-mails from some of us around the company talking about this customer complaint on finish color turning red on maple plywood. Any thoughts? I have a couple of pictures, but you can't tell much from them. E-mail me if you like me to send them as well, I couldn't attach to this.<br />Tim.<br /><br />Subject: RE: Color problem<br />I think this is best answered by the finishing supplier. I would think that they may have seen more of this than we have. I honestly do not know what would cause this discoloration.<br /><br />Subject: FW: Color problem<br />This is what they are using to finish the Maple with.<br />Our finish material is Sherwin Williams<br /> Sherwood Water white vinyl Sealer<br /> Sherwood Cabinet Acrylic Topcoat with UV Protection<br /><br />Any ideas on why these are turning color? The edgebanding is not, just the drawerfronts.<br /><br />Subject: FW: Drawer front with color issue<br />Please look at, this is a problem one of our customers is having. They are finishing your 3/4 B-2 Nat Maple.<br />Any thoughts????<br /><br />Subject: FW: Drawer front with color issue<br />Attached is a picture of the front and back of a drawer front that is turning red. The edges are still white.<br /><br />

customer finish complaint Q# 1201 / Submitted 10/4/2005

10-4-2005.....This is a known problem with just about all finishes on maple. It seems particularly prevalent with veneer, but I think I have heard of it with solids. Unfortunately I do not have an answer at this time. I'll dig further and see what I can come up with. <br /><br />10-11-2005 - update..... I've checked with several technicians and others and everyone has heard of this but under various circumstances and finishes. I need a sample of the problem to test. If anyone can get me one please contact me. ----- Jeff<br /><br />Jeff

We had a major finishing company state that the reason the paint on a panel was peeling was due to mill glazing. The panels supplied were shipped to the distributor and then to the job site. These panels were domestically made and were on veneer core with face veneers of rotary cut Maple. At neither location was there an applied substance to the panel. Can you expalin what is meant by the term "mill glazed"?<br /><br />Thank you

What is meant by the term mill glazed Q# 980 / Submitted 9/27/2005

I don't run across this exact term frequently but it means that the surface of the wood hardened, preventing absorption of the paint into the cells of the wood. It may be caused by final milling operations done to the wood which burnished or glazed the surface (think of rubbing a raw piece of wood with a piece of metal). This burnishing prevents finishes from sticking properly. Mill glaze is also prevalent in pressure treated lumber <br /><br />I would find out if any surface preparation was done to this product on site before it was painted. This is part of the painters job. Unless the product was shipped to the job site "ready to finish" it is the painters fault if the material wasn't properly prepared by sanding, cleaning or both. I suspect that little or none of the former was done. Sanding is part of surface preparation which insures a good bond between the paint and the wood. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

Hi Jeff<br />Iwould like to restain our oak kitchen cabinets of pearl oak color to cherry color and what kind of stain do I use and finishing coat?<br /><br /> Thanks -Mike-

restaining oak kitchen cabinets of pearl oak to cherry Q# 979 / Submitted 9/27/2005

I doubt you can successfully stain without stripping the old finish off. <br /><br />Stains as a rule do not have great adhesion over finished surfaces, particularly if it's a commercially produced cabinet which used conversion varnish. Plus the white stain will interfere with giving you a "cherry" color. It might be "doable" but I'd enlist the advice of a professional finisher in your area. The commercial procedure involves barrier sealing and toning the color on, followed by (preferably) more conversion varnish. <br /><br />If you want, you might try this:<br /><br />1. Sand an unseen area with 320 grit sandpaper and remove the dust with naphtha. <br />2. Apply a Minwax "Polyshades" in the color you like, let it dry thoroughly and then topcoat it with 2 coats of polyurethane (oil based). <br />3. Let it dry 72 hours and then take a fingernail and push it across the surface, trying to see if you can scrape off the finishes you applied. If so, the product did not stick and you'll either have to call a pro, or strip the cabinets down to bare wood and re-stain. <br /><br />Painting will work if you're looking to change the color to an opaque one. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />I am finishing a pine bar by staining the interior of the unit, and painting the exterior. I really do not like the look of poly, so have purchased brush-on satin lacquer. I have already stained the interior with Minwax Golden Oak after conditioning the wood and the results were very good. <br /><br />For the exterior, I have applied a primer coat of Zinsser Bulls-Eye 1.2.3. and intend to use a 100% acrylic water based paint over this.<br /><br />My question is this:<br /><br />I would like the piece to have a uniform finish throughout, so can I apply the brush-on laquer over the exterior paint of the piece, use another finish, or let the paint be the final coat?

Lacquer over paint. Q# 978 / Submitted 9/11/2005

The solvent lacquer isn't appropriate to put over the paint becuase it may wrinkle it - but it will also add a yellow tone. I'd use a product called General Finishes Poly/Acrylic blend, a water based finish thats tough, brushes well and won't change the color of the paint. Just make sure you use the same sheen as the other product. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br /><br />I am going to build a set of built-in cabinets with bookshelves above them in my family room. It will be used as a combination entertainment center and book storage area. I plan to use sande playwood for the cabinet carcasses and shelving, and I want to paint it all with white trim paint. What is the best way to prepare the surface to take the paint and minimize showing the woodgrain?

Painting sande plywood – surface preparation Q# 977 / Submitted 9/16/2005

To prepare a surface for paint the key is to use a primer. Primers are multi- purpose products in that they hide the grain, fill in minor imperfections and provide adhesion of the paint applied over it. <br /><br />I would sand the ply with 150 and fill any imperfections you see with putty. Ease all sharp edges with the 150 as paint will not stick to a sharp edge. Then apply 1 coat of primer that's specified for your paint type (oil or water base). Sand it with 220. Then examine the surface again for defects, fill again if necessary, sand the putty smooth, then apply another coat of primer. When dry sand lightly with 220, enough to smooth the primer but be careful that you don't cut through to the bare wood. <br /><br />Tack the surface clean or wipe it with a damp cloth if using water base. <br /><br />Now a note about latex paint. Don't use latex wall paint. Use a water base enamel that says "100% acrylic". Or use an oil enamel. Examples of water based paints are Sherwin Williams ProClassic or Benjamin Moore Low Lustre Waterborne Satin Impervo® Enamel. <br /><br />Two coats of paint in the proper sheen should provide plenty of protection.

I recently purchased a "child's readside stand" it appears to have been made out of scrap lumber mostly pine and possible some oak also a couple of pieces of 1/4" ply. the piece was never sealed or had a finish on it but needs cleaning badly. I don't want to sand and stain as I want to keep it as origional as possible (without the spider webs and such) What would be good to use for the cleaning and also possibly something to pt on the wood to keep it from drying out anymore and cracking?

bare wood cleaning Q# 976 / Submitted 9/5/2005

Wood should be sanded for finishing materials to adhere properly. In your case all I'd do is clean the surface with some mineral spirits first, then some water with a small amountg of Dawn added. This will raise the grain which is exactly what you want becuase it will open up the wood and allow a finish to adhere. Sand the grain smooth with 220 grit sandpaper, and then apply 1-2 coats of Minwax Satin Polycrylic, a finish which won't alter the color. It will protect the piece from drying out and stains and such, but not look like anything was applied. <br /><br />Jeff

I have new, natural wood colored coffee table and end tables that I'd like to stain into redwood/mohagony color. There are inlays on the top. Do I have to strip them before restain or can I lightly sand them and restain with redwood color? Can i strip them because of the inlays? How do I know I sand them enough? What sand paper I need to use (180 or 320 or 400)? How do I find out what kind of stain that was used before and what kind of stain I should use?<br /><br />thanks!<br /><br />Angie

restain with darker color-need stripping? Q# 975 / Submitted 9/3/2005

Ideally you should strip the finish off and re-stain, however with the inlays this is hard to do. Most liquid stains won't adhere properly over finished wood. However a thick gel stain or "Polyshades" product may work -provided you sand the finish with 320 grit sandpaper first. Put some blue colored painters tape on the inlays to protect them before staining. And protect the stain with 2 coats of clear polyurethane. <br /><br />Jeff

I Placed a potted plant which had been watered (paper towelling was placed underneath to catch the drips) and it created a dark circular patch on the top of the sideboard.<br />I then applied Howards Restore-A-Finish over this dark patch<br />applying it with 0000 Steel Wool. Restore A Finish took the veneer coating off and penetrated right through to the original wood. I am now left with an unsightly light colored circular patch.<br /><br />How can I restore the color of this patch back to the color of the rest of the furniture?<br />

Rosewood Sideboard Q# 974 / Submitted 8/27/2005

When water causes a dark patch, it usually means the water has penetrated through whatever finish is on the furniture and reacted with the wood. <br /><br />I know of no other method to fix this than to remove all the finish from the top and apply a wood bleach that's called oxalic acid to the area. Not all wood bleaches are the same - make sure you get one like this: <br /><br />http://www.dap.com/product_details.aspx?product_id=324<br /><br />This will remove the dark water stain but not affect the wood. Follow the instructions on the can for mixing, applying and removing the residue. Then re-apply a finish. <br /><br />This is not a basic repair job - so don't be sheepish about enlisting the services of a Pro. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff<br /><br />I am building a bar/shed in my backyard by the pool. I live in Ontario, Canada where the summers are hot and the winters are cold and snowy. I have purchased an African wood called Pommele Sapele for the top (surface) of the bar. My question is, how do I finish this fine piece of wood so that it will stand up to the weather of this climate. I have been advised by one source to use urethane, and then by another source to use oil and re-treat it each year. Can you advise me?]<br /><br />Thanks<br />Doug

Protecting an exterior project Q# 973 / Submitted 8/13/2005

My personal opinion is that's it's better to use an exterior penetrating finish and apply it every year. If you apply a urethane or other thick fil-forming finish, you'll have less maintenance, but the work to strip it every 3-4 years (if you're lucky and can get that life from it) is tedious and requires sanding or chemicals. There are exterior clear finishes that will last longer - perhaps 6-10 years, but these require specific application techniques and are more hazardous to work with (check into a marine finish called "linear" urethane or 2 part aliphatic urethane). <br /><br />I guess in the long run it's six of one/half dozen of another, but I personally like the look of the penetrating oil.<br /><br />Jeff

Columbia manufactures particle board shelving / cabinet boards with some sort of white finish already applied. These 'boards' are available in a variety of lengths and widths (generally 5/8" thick) at several home centres such as Home Depot. Can these boards be painted? Will the paint adhere to the exitsing finish? Thanks.

Prefinished Particle Board Shelving Q# 972 / Submitted 8/11/2005

Yes provided you sand the finish that's on there with 240 grit sandpaper and then clean the dust off. Then you can then paint in any color you choose. <br />Do NOT use latex paint. Use an oil based or an acrylic trim enamel (Sherwin Williams ProClassic is an example). If you use latex, books will stick to it. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello, I am re-finishing a kitchen table (I have young kids) would a brushing laquer have enough durability for family use on this application? I have already put down a couple of coats of amber shellac and need some advice for the top coat. If the laquer is anot advisable, do you have a preference between water based or oil based varnish? I want the cherry to continue darkening via UV light over time. Thanks, Bob Salter.

Laquer finish on kitchen table Q# 971 / Submitted 7/28/2005

Lacquer is OK if you take care of your furniture, but with young children, I typically recommend an oil based poly or a wiping varnish. <br /><br />JJ

What age did you start carpentry at and how did you get so go at it my latest project is a coffee table

Im your greatest fan im 14 yeas of age carpentry is my life Q# 970 / Submitted 7/27/2005

If you mean what age did I start woodworking? It was around 12 or 13. I developed an interest in refinishing when I was in my early twenties. The real urge to build "things" developed in college when I decided that I wanted to build acoustic guitars. I was thirty when I finally built one. <br /><br />It sounds like you're exited about building things. See if you can take some classes or get into some shop classes at school. It's very nice to have "fans" your age, I really appreciate the comments.<br /><br />Jeff

The reason for my email is because I am a recruiter in the building products industry. I am working on a couple of positions with one of the leaders in the lumber/wood products industry and because of your experience I wanted to run these opportunities by you. Below are very brief overviews of theses opportunities. If you know of someone who would be interested or qualified you can forward it on to them. Thanks and I appreciate talking to anyone experienced in the lumber industry. <br /> <br />Dry End Superintendent<br /> <br />This person will be responsible for providing analytical and technical support to the dry end operating departments. This person must have 10 years experience in a high volume manufacturing environment and experience in plywood. <br /> <br />Plant Manager<br /> <br />This person will be responsible providing analytical, technical, construction, and engineering support during the construction phase of a new facility. This person must have 5-7 years of focused mechanical and electrical repair in a high volume manufacturing environment and a strong understanding of electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic and power transmission process systems. Experience in a wood products manufacturing environment and preferably OSB. <br /> <br />Technical Manager<br /> <br />This person will be responsible for providing analytical, technical, engineering, and quality systems support to operating departments. This person must have 7-10 years experience in quality control or process engineering in a high volume manufacturing environment. Experience in a wood products manufacturing facility and preferably OSB.<br />

Career Opportunities-Do you know anyone? Q# 969 / Submitted 7/13/2005

You might get a bit better exposure here:<br /><br />http://www.woodweb.com/index.html<br /><br />Jeff

Dear Jeff:<br /><br />Curt Alt referred me to you for a finishing question.<br /><br />I am in the process of building a rocking horse out of the woods listed. Each was selected for its color and grains. I want a finish that will accent these features, not darken or cover them up. Any recommendations?<br />birdseye maple<br />jatoba<br />american cherry<br />african mahogany<br /><br />sincerely,<br /><br />Frank J. Smith

finishes Q# 968 / Submitted 7/5/2005

Generally the oil finishes are preferred for grain enhancement and figure. The lightest of these products is a soya based alkyd varnish like McCLoskey Heirloom or Pratt and Lambert Clear #38. Reduce it 1:1 with mineral spirits for a wipe on product. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

We are a small kitchen manuf. What can we do to lessen the chances of maple veneer (we have tried ply,mdf,ridged glue vacuum layup)creeping or checking. All of our maple finishes are sprayed tinted laquers. That is we are not wiping on stain. Sanding sealer(vinyl) on bare wood and then color coat then top coat. Can this process make it<br />worse. If it is related only to moisture content, what can a small shop do to control this. How should we store plywood that is used for finished sides and how can i test<br />it before use. Also we would prefer to use 3/4 material as opposed to layup.Any info will be appreciated.Thank you in advance Pete

Maple Veneer checking Q# 967 / Submitted 6/30/2005

First - I suggest you get a moisture meter. These are not terribly expensive tools. Keep the ply in your shop at least 1 month before finishing if you can, but watch the storage during the months you heat your shop in the winter. The checking you describe could be from the minute veneer knife checks opening up (rupturing the face veneer) during periods of expansion, and the finish polymer cannot withstand the force and cracks. The problem is probably most severe when the panels are prepared and finished in the winter months during periods of low humidity - and the checking shows up later. <br />In the past "brittle" finishes such as nitrocellulose have had this problem. We've also seen it in modern pre-cats and post cats. <br />I don't think the problem is entirely in your specific schedule. Some have tried glue-sizing with success, however I have no documented experience with this as a "tried and true" method. It may be more prudent to check with your finish supplier to see if a more flexible finish is available. Due to your small size, this may or may not be a workable solution.<br /><br />I think managing the storage of your panels is a step in the right direction. <br />Here's a link for some recommendations. <br /><br />http://www.custompak.com/Technical%20Library/Veneer%20Checking.htm<br /><br />These folks sell glue-size, and may also have some other support options. <br /><br />Jeff

My baby grand piano has a checked finish. I've been told to remove as little of the orginial finish as possible and to keep as much of the orginial patina as possible. How would I remove the checked portion of the orginial finish and bring the piano back to it's orginial glory or will I have to completely refinish the piano and if so, how? The piano has a very dark finish.

Refinishing a baby grand piano Q# 966 / Submitted 6/27/2005

A "checked" or crazed finish is part of the original patina. I think what would be best is to simply try a thorough cleaning. The following is based on an article I wrote some time ago:<br /><br />FINISHES THAT CAN'T BE SAVED<br /><br />Not all old finishes can be saved. Finishes that are severely damaged or degraded to the point where they can no longer effectively do a good job of protecting the wood should be removed. Although most conservators would like to save the original finish when possible, finishes that have degraded to the point where the wood is in jeopardy should be removed. These situations include severe water or heat damage, large losses of the finish where the wood is exposed and situations where the finish is severely discolored. Another finish that cannot be saved is a finish that is sticky. Sticky finishes are those that have become chemically altered to the point where they will never fully harden, and finishes applied over them shortly become soft and sticky. Severe water or heat damage appear as large white areas where the finish is peeling or flaking off. Large exposed areas of wood are very difficult to blend in without highly developed skills so removal of the entire finish is called for. Another problem finish is one in which the finish has been mixed with pigment and applied thickly. Old varnishes and shellacs applied in this manner may develop large cracks or "islands" which show the bare wood below. This finish should be removed in most cases. An exception are crazed or cracked finishes where the cracks do not go all the way through to the wood below. I'll explain how to deal with this later. <br />The goal in restoring an old finish is not to make it look brand new. At best, this treatment should restore as much of the original condition as possible and prevent further deterioration. While by no means is restoring a finish a "quick-fix" type of repair, on most pieces it should be less time-consuming and expensive than a complete stripping and refinishing. In addition, you do not run the risk of ruining the value of an old piece of furniture by removing a piece of its history. The following are the steps in saving an old finish. Sealing damage, cleaning, abrading the old finish (if necessary) and finally waxing. <br /><br />SEALING DAMAGE <br /><br />Damage that needs to be sealed are dents, scratches and small areas of finish that have been worn away. The cleaning process involves water and solvents that could possibly affect bare wood and it should be protected. For sealing, I use a 2 lb. cut light-colored shellac. Using a red-sable artist's brush, I brush several light coats of shellac to the damaged area and then let the shellac dry overnight. Do not try to match the color to the surrounding finish at this point. The cleaning will lighten up the color so blending in at this point will result in a mismatch. <br /><br />CLEANING<br /><br />Before cleaning, it helps to know what the finish is so that the appropriate cleaners can be used. I test the finish by a three step process using various solvents. Find an inconspicuous spot such as behind a leg and dab a little denatured ethyl alcohol on the finish with a small brush or cotton swab. After thirty seconds tap the area with your finger - if it's sticky the finish is shellac. If the alcohol doesn't affect the finish try a little lacquer thinner. If the finish still isn't sticky, it is probably an oil-based varnish or polyurethane. Knowing which finish you have minimizes possible damage from cleaning solvents as we will see later. <br />Cleaning is a two step process which removes both water-soluble and oil-soluble dirt and grime. The first cleaning step uses a hydrocarbon based cleaner like mineral spirits or VM&P Naphtha. I prefer to use VM&P Naphtha rather than mineral spirits because it flashes or evaporates much quicker. It's important to test a small amount of the cleaner on an inconspicuous area. Certain oil-based finishes varnishes can irreversibly whiten on exposure to some hydrocarbons so testing is crucial and it's important to know what the finish is. Oil finishes may soften and be completely removed, but in most cases VM&P Naphtha has proved the best all-around solvent in my use. Dampen a clean cloth with the Naphtha and rub a small surface at a time. Do not saturate the surface. Switch to clean cloths frequently. <br />The next step involves using a detergent mixed with distilled water. Professionals use a wide variety of specialized products, but I've found an alternative is Dawn® - a commercial dish-washing detergent that is readily available. I use a solution of one capful in a pint of lukewarm water. Apply the solution with a dampened clean cloth, (not dripping wet) and rub a small area at a time. Some grime comes off quickly, while others may take a little longer. You'll see your progress by the dirt on the rag, so change the surface frequently. Afterwards, wipe all the excess detergent off with clean water and proceed to the next step. <br /><br />ABRADING<br /><br />The cleaning above removes the surface dirt from the finish but it still may be hazy or whitish. Part of this problem may be from small crazing or cracks in the finish which reflect light - making the surface appear dull. If this is the case and the cracks do not go all the way through to the wood, abrading part of the finish will remove most of the cracks. I use non-loading sandpaper like 3M's Fre-cut®Gold, (sandpaper manufactured to minimize clogging - sold as "SandBlaster" in DIY stores), to abrade away a portion of the finish. I start with 240 grit and proceed to 320 grit and finally 400 grit. I back the paper with a felt or cork block and avoid the edges since it's easy to cut completely through the finish. I strongly recommend wearing a dust mask since the dust is irritating. Sand in straight lines with the finish and wipe the residue off frequently with a Naphtha dampened rag. You can stop sanding when the grain of the wood is visible or when the cracks have disappeared. Patience is required because a heavy hand will cut through the finish and you'll have no choice but to strip at that point. Wipe the piece with Naphtha and let dry overnight. <br />At this point you have the option of applying more finish, which may be necessary to restore luster and depth, or to blend in and protect repairs. Pigments or dyes mixed with shellac can be used to touch up and light areas and applied with a small brush. Afterwards, several coats of shellac can be brushed or padded on. You don't have to apply any finish though, and it's recommended that you don't if you're unsure of whether this will detract from the value of the piece. <br /><br />WAXING<br /><br />The piece is now ready for the final step. I prefer to wax and buff out, but if you want, you can apply a light coat of whatever finish you prefer. Shellac or varnish will both work over most finishes but shellac should be used if the piece is an antique. I would avoid polyurethane because it will not bond very well to an old finish. Either way, you may need to do a little touch-up first. There may be small areas where the finish is removed down to the bare wood. These should be sealed with several coats of a 2 lb. cut shellac applied with an artist's brush or a small varnish brush. After drying these, areas can be blended into the surrounding area using shellac mixed with dry artists pigments. After drying, seal all repaired areas again with a 2 lb. cut shellac. <br />For the final waxing, I prefer a good quality furniture wax like Antiquax. All these waxes come in clear and brown. I prefer the colored waxes because any wax that lodges in crevices or small defects will not be noticeable when dry. Put a scoop of wax inside a clean cloth and apply the wax in a small circular motion. On turned areas, carvings and other irregular areas, work the wax in with a stiff bristle brush. Work on a manageable area at a time and when the wax hazes buff it out using a clean cloth. After drying overnight, give it a second waxing. <br />When the second coat dries you'll have a restored finish without the bother or hassle of stripping. You'll find it's much less work and the result is that you haven't possibly detracted from the value if the piece is an antique. As an added bonus, you find that the entire process can be done in one weekend, rather than two or three weekends. And finally, the piece will have retained the patina that took so long to acquire with time. <br /><br />Good luck <br /><br />Jeff<br />

Do you know if there is a monthly publication (magazine) that deals directly with wood refinishing? <br /><br />I want to learn as much as I can about the process before I continue to refinish old trunks and furniture. Thanks for your time.

Wood Refinishing Magazine Q# 965 / Submitted 6/24/2005

As of this time there is not. For about 4-5 years, there was a publication called Professional Refinishing Magazine. You might try libraries for copies. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello,<br />my name is Latisha WOod and I an an artist that has been recently commisioned to do a huge amount of wood burned artwork. I am most famouse for my custom painted choppers Ive done for Discovery Channels hit show "AMerican Chopper". my website... www.flamesofsteel.com<br /><br />The place in which I will be doing the Wood burned artwork would be in an Old Civil War WArhouse. They are curently restoring all of the natural oak and pine wood. I have a large amount of space to cover with my artwork and a great deal of ideas Id like to execute professionally. <br /><br />My question is......do any large scale wood burning tools exist ???? I am aware of the small scale ones and will use them for tight rendering....but a large scale tool would be best for blocking in my large shapes. If one does not exist I was planning on building one. I figured I should ask the experts fisrt.<br /><br />Thank you for your time,<br />LAtisha WOod<br />203-525-2527

Wood Burned Artwork Q# 964 / Submitted 6/20/2005

I think this may not be the best place for your question. I have no experience in wood burning (I think it's called pyrography?)<br /><br />I think building your own may be the best bet. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

Hello, I am planning of using EcoColors in color: Straw on a TI project my firm is working on. We are wondering what to do with the exposed edges. Can the edge of EcoColors (Straw) be painted black? I am concerned that the black may bleed into the mdf and don't want the color to show through the finished face of the panel. If you have any ideas please advise.<br />Thank you, Erika Dehle<br />Fletcher Farr Ayotte

Can exposed edge of EcoColors (Stray) be painted Q# 963 / Submitted 6/13/2005

I would seal the exposed edge first with a clear sealer that will minimize/block penetration of the paint base. Glue size can be used for solvent base, shellac for water base. White primer may also be used as it will plug the porous MDF. If it were me I'd try samples before "practicing" on the real thing. <br /><br /><br /><br />Jeff

We are starting construction on a large child care center and the Architect has specified Europly prefinished veneer core panels, color light brown. The location of some of the panels is on the exterior soffits and some exterior walls of the building. Will the factory applied finish stand up to exterior conditions?

Prefinished Europly Q# 962 / Submitted 5/17/2005

No - the product is designed for interior use only as it is bonded with UF type II adhesive. I'd also expect premature finish failure outdoors. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello Jeff, My name is Paul and I am actually submitting a question for a friend of mine who does not have access to the internet. He is currently refinishing a dining room table made of black walnut. He is spraying on a lacquer finish right onto the wood. The natural wood color is quite attractive. Although he has had some experience with lacquer, he has run into a problem previously unencountered. Certain sections of the table top are not "taking" the lacquer and are crinkling up. My thoughts were that perhaps this is caused by oil in the wood bleeding out. Is this the case? If so, is there a way to seal the table top without changing the natural color? Could the table top be cleaned enough so the lacquer can be reapplied? Hope I've given you enough information. Thanks in advance.

Lacquer Finish on Black Walnut Q# 961 / Submitted 5/14/2005

There is some contamination causing this. The only thing to do is to clean the new lacquer off with lacquer thinner, then denatured alcohol. Let dry and then apply a special lacquer sealer called "vinyl lacquer sealer", or dewaxed shellac. This will cure the problem. If it re-appears, then all your friend can do is to lightly mist on the lacquer in these areas, building it slowly. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello,<br /><br />I was hopeing you could tell me if Columbia Forest has an R&D dept for New Product Development. If so, who is the Manager, Director or VP in the area that I could talk to?<br /><br />Really appreaciate your help.<br /><br />Best Regards<br />James Parks<br />jxp@nerac.com<br />(860) 872-7000 ext. 1263

Research and Development Q# 960 / Submitted 5/12/2005

You should contact CFP directly <br /><br />https://www.columbiaforestproducts.com/support/sales.html

I bought a small oak table and the top is about 10 x 10. Looks like someone set a plant on it for awhile and it warped slightly. Any way to remove the warp?

Warped Oak Q# 959 / Submitted 5/9/2005

If it has a finish on it, no it's not easy to unwarp. It the warp is all across the width (slightly convex or concave),install screws or tabletop fasteners (available from specialty woodworking suppliers like Rockler Hardware or Woodcraft) from underneath and pull it flat. <br /><br />If it's warped only in the area where the plant was, I suspect you have a veneered top and the veneer may have detached from the substrate. This is a not an easy repair unless you have the right tools so you may want to contact a professional. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello Jeff, I read your article on restaining a mahogany door. Would you please give me instructions on how to change the stain color from dark to a lighter shade of red on a mahogany door? Thank you, Bill

change stain on a mahogany door from dark to lighter color s Q# 958 / Submitted 4/27/2005

You must have me mistaken with another Jeff - I haven't written an article on staining doors. <br /><br />Anyway, if the door is a darker color and finished with a clear varnish, you have to strip the finish off, which should also remove most of the stain. If you wipe the wood after stripping with mineral spirits and the wood is lighter than what you want - all you do is apply the right color stain you want. If it's still too dark, you'll have to sand the wood until it gets light enough to stain. <br /><br />Jeff

I am doing my bathroom in aromatic cedar. Looking for something to seal the wood.Preferably not a varnish. I want to seal the wood without loosing the scent of the cedar. If you have any suggestions please let me know.<br /><br /> thank you<br /> S. Ivany

sealing interior cedar Q# 957 / Submitted 4/20/2005

You can partially seal it with several applications of a 1 pound cut shellac, which may let the aroma come through. <br /><br />Jeff

we use alot of hardwood in our furniture especially white ash. we have had problems getting a consistent dark finish on our product. is there a sealer or an undercoat that would help us in getting the dark rich color we are looking for? one of my workers said that he had seen Norm use something before he applied the stain but didn't know what it was. thanks, Tom

hardwood finishing Q# 956 / Submitted 4/12/2005

It sounds like you're using a wiping pigment stain. To get really dark colors on harwood like ash - you should switch to what's called an NGR stain whcih is based on deep penetrating dye. Mohawk sells a product called Ultra Penetrating Stain that will work:<br /><br />http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/catalog_browse.asp?ictNbr=178<br /><br />I addition - Sherwin William Commercial Branches and ML Campbell should be able to provide a product and assistance in getting the color you want. You may have a local distributor in your area. <br /><br />Jeff

We just layed brazalian cherry floor and I am wondering what the stages I need to do to finish it.

finishing brazalian floor Q# 955 / Submitted 4/9/2005

A very good explanation on how to sand a floor can be found here:<br /><br />http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/pages/h00113.asp<br /><br />After the sanding and buffing stages, you're ready to apply varnish. Typically you have a choice between oil or water based. Oil is probably easier to use if you've not done much finishing. I would recommend Waterlox or McCloskey (GymSeal). Use the latter if it's a floor where you need lots of durability (high traffic, dogs, kids etc). <br /><br />The different manufacturers have minor variations in the schedules so it's hard to give general directions, but my best advice is to make sure the floor is clean before applying your first coat. Vacuum at least twice. Apply the first coat with a lambswool pad applicator (available at Home Depot and other DIY stores) and let it dry. Urethanes must be sanded between coats while some of the Waterlox products may not require it. Sanding bewteen coats removes minor blemishes and prepares for the next coat. <br /><br />Apply at least 3 coats.<br /><br />Jeff

I am in the process of staining some maple ply and I am getting darker colored stripping opposite of the grain. I have sanded it down to 220 grit, applied a stain controler according to manufactures specs, and have applied the stain to manufactures specs(they say to wipe on the stain against the grain and then wipe off with the grain, I am using Varathane.)I have also tried wiping on with the grain and off with the grain. I have tried wiping on both ways on a piece 10" x 20" and wiping off immediatly. I have tried material that I know was from a different sheet. And finally I tried a different brand of stain (Zar)with the same results. What is going wrong and what can I do? Do you think the ply could be defective (I got some from a bad run)?

staining maple plywood Q# 954 / Submitted 4/6/2005

Maple plywood exhibits an effect known as "barber pole" - where the veneer change from light to dark when the veneer is bookmatched. This is not a defect in the plywood. The only way I know to control the problem is to spray your stain on and not wipe it. My latest book - The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing Wood" deals with this problem in plywood in the chapter on Controlling Color. <br /><br />JJ

We have 2 west facing mahogany raised panel entrance doors in southern California. The doors are in a covered entryway. Appx 40 miles inland from ocean. We do get winds from the direction of the ocean. The doors are about 13 years old. The interior side stills look new with a high gloss finish that use to be outside. Over time, mainly the sun has faded the outside of doors badly. They have faded fairly even. I would like to restain or refinish the exterior side. Do I need to strip down to bare wood? Type of products to use? Finish sandpaper grit? Outside of trial and error any ideas on matching the outside to something close to the inside? Rag applied? Brush applied? Does the gloss come from a clearcoat? I have pictures of inside and outside. Thanks for your time

Restain Exterior Mahogany Doors Q# 953 / Submitted 4/2/2005

Generally, all you have to do is to sand the remaining finish with 120, then 150 grit. Remove the dust, and re-stain with a exterior based stain of your choice. Apply it with a brush and wipe the excess off. Let dry and then apply a spar exterior varnish in the sheen you wish. I would apply at least 6 coats. <br /><br />PS - Marine finishing products generally are better performers than what you find at a DIY or hardware store. They have good advice too.<br /><br />Jeff

Our oak dining room table had some water damage and<br />we have attempted to refinish it. But our problem<br />is that whatever finish my husband tries to put on<br />it ends up (his description) "draws up like buttermilk"<br />and slides off. He has cleaned the wood with <br />acetone. The table is old, at least 60 or 70 yrs.<br />Any help would be greatly appreciated.<br /><br />SM<br />Helena, Ar

refinishing old oak dining table top Q# 952 / Submitted 3/29/2005

You need to clean the surface until water will not bead up when applied to the bare wood. I rarely use acetone as it evaporates too quickly. Do this and make sure you wipe any grime off afterwards with clean cloths or paper towels:<br /><br />1. Rinse with lacquer thinner, wipe clean, let dry. <br /><br />2. Rinse with denatured alcohol - wipe clean, let dry.<br /><br />3. Apply water and make sure it doesn't bead up - if it does, use a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and tap water applied with a maroon Scotchbrite pad. <br /><br />Once water soaks readily into the wood, any finish will apply well. <br /><br />Jeff

I am presently specifying for my cabinetmaker the finish for my own kitchen cabinets. The doors and drawer fronts will be a Sequence matched walnut and the boxes will be birch ply. I am looking for a semi gloss finish on the fronts and a satin/flat for the interiors. What product and technique do you recommend using?<br /><br />Thanks<br /><br />John cooney<br />

Kitchen Cabinet Finish Q# 951 / Submitted 3/28/2005

I would specify a solvent based conversion varnish if he has the right equipment (it's a spray only finish). <br />If he doesn't handle this type of finish, he should find someone who can. It is the typical finish specified for kitchen cabinets<br /><br />Jeff

I was wondering how to make new lumber to look like aged barn plank.

barn plank Q# 950 / Submitted 3/24/2005

Without seeing the sample piece you want to match - it's difficult. Generally outside aged wood is difficult becuase of the ropey, stringey type texture. <br /><br />1. If the wood you have is lighter in color that what you want to match it's simply a process of picking the right stain and distressing the wood surface to simulate dents, dings and other marks of age. This is typically done by distressing the wood with wire brushes, picks, awls, files and chains. Once you have distressed it, the wood is colored using a water soluble dye stain to the color you want. These stains are preferred because they don't react to textural anomalies oof the wood. The wood is sealed with clear finish, then a thick "antiquing" stain is applied which is usually a dark thick glazing stain. <br /><br />2. If the wood you want to match is lighter, you must first bleach the new wood lighter with a two part wood bleach. <br /><br />To reproduce exterior planks, the finisher uses a wire brush to simulate the rough opened up grain. <br /><br />I would suggest you look at two books I wrote - Great Wood Finishes" and "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing" for more on these techniques. The latter title has a complete step by step sequence for doing the first distressing technique explained above. It also covers bleaching. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />I would like to buy an HVLP spray gun and compressor. Currently, I finish all my projects by brushing on the finish. <br /><br />What size compressor tank would you say would be the minimum required for spraying a finish?<br /><br />Do you have any other advice in regards to getting into this finishing method?<br /><br />Thanks.

Spray Equipment Requirements Q# 949 / Submitted 3/21/2005

The compressor's cfm output at a given psi needs to be matched to the cfm used by the gun at the same pressure. For example, if your compressor put's out 4 cfm at 40 psi, and your gun requires 10 cfm at 40 psi, the compressor cannot keep up with the gun and it will not work properly. It may work for a little, but it will quickly run out of air. This isn't terrible if you're doing jewelry boxes, but it's bad if you're finishing a dining table or baseboard molding. <br /><br />There are HVLP guns now that are a hybrid form of HVLP and are called LVLP (low volume, low pressure). These guns are designed to work with smaller compressors that put out 8 cfm or less at 40 psi. Of course you can always buy as big a compressor as the budget and space allows, but many DIY'ers use the modest sized cart style compressors with 25 gallon horizontal tanks or smaller with the LVLP guns. <br /><br />First - determine what gun you want to buy and find out the cfm it requires at 40 psi. <br /><br />Second - match that figure to the compressor you're thinking about and make sure it's the same number or higher. Higher is always good.<br /><br />Jeff<br />

we have some wood products with a great satin/matte finish but the finish is easily scratched. can we get a clear laquer that will match our product gloss level very closely?

Finish durability and gloss level Q# 948 / Submitted 3/15/2005

It sounds like you need to switch to another finish. Look at a polyurethane or 2K polyurethane for better scratch resistance in the sheen you want. Good suppliers of the 2K are ICA, ILVA and Chemcraft. <br /><br />Jeff

i am trying to restain a cabinet that was previously stained, then painted. i have sanded with medium sandpaper and the entire layer of paint has come off, but the original stain is still present with some patches of clean wood. is it possible to remove the first stain entirely? and if it is, do i have to continue to get a good result with the new stain?

restaining a cabinet Q# 947 / Submitted 3/12/2005

Assuming you are using a darker stain, it's adisable to at least make the surface uniform. This doesn't mean you need to remove all the old stain, just even it out. I'd sand with 150 or 120 until the surface appears uniform. You can check by wiping it with mineral spirits, which will telegraph any uneven patches. Scrubbing the surface with a "refinisher" type furniture stripper may be faster. Formby's makes one that's easy to find in your area. <br /><br />If you are using a lighter stain you'll need to sand to get down to bare wood as much as possible.<br /><br />Jeff

I am using oil based varnish and have applied 2 coats with sanding after the 1st coat (320 grit). I did not shake varnish nor push brush against the side of can but still have some bubbles in the finish. Without applying another coat, is there a way to smooth the finish? I have read a few suggestions: 0000 steel wool with rubbing compound seems to be the preferred method. What would you suggest? Thank you.

bubbles in varnish Q# 946 / Submitted 2/28/2005

I suggest a sanding with a fine sandpaper (600 grit), followed by the steel wool, either a 000 grade or the gray synthetic pads (Scotchbrite)<br /><br />Try reducing the varnish with 10% mineral spirits. <br /><br />Jeff

We have just had alder wood cabinets installed in our kitchen. Do you think it is possible to stain and place the top coat on yourself or do you think it is worth the cost of hiring an expert?

finishing alder wood cabinets Q# 945 / Submitted 2/27/2005

Alder is known for it's uneven staining, called splotching. If you decide to do this job yourself, you'll need some larger pieces of alder to experiment on. Dealing with a splotchy wood requires pre-treatment before staining with a stain controller or a washcoat. The popular finishing books out there all deal with this procedure. <br /><br />That's the only hard part, Applying a clear finish over the stain just takes good planning and a eye for detail. Use polyurethane. If you don't have pieces to practice on, I'd get a professional quote. If you have a professional do it, specify that they use a conversion varnish, which is the normal finish used in the industry. <br /><br />Jeff

I am going to color a beautiful table built by my dad made from Lyptus(r) solid lumber and veneer. There is quite a lot of color variation in the lumber as well as within the veneer leaves. It is sanded ready for finish. It is not an oily wood but has a pinkish cast to it. What product(s), steps and methods should we use to achieve a medium cherry type color? We have good commercial spray equiptment. <br /><br />Thanks, Margaret

Color unifying Lyptus Q# 944 / Submitted 2/27/2005

Consider using a dye stain for the wood as it will let the grain and figure show through. With a brownish/pinkish wood like lyptus, I think a reddish brown or cherry color will work fine. <br /><br />If the variation is slight, I think the staining operation will even things out if you use a dye. However, if it appears after a coat or two of finish that the variation needs to be equalized, you can tone the lighter areas to the darker areas with a dye based toner. If you use one of the popular dye concentrates on the market, you can use the same product for both the stain and the toner. <br /><br />Jeff

I own a franchise in the furniture restoration industry. I am in new territory, my previous experience was in the telecommunication business. I have 10 employees and we are seeking to expand our shop production. I will describe how we have been doing things, hoping for your suggestions and or corrections. We have a large spray booth and use a compressed air system for spraying. We have problems with getting things done quickly, fisheyes and color matching. My finisher prefers Minwax stains and many colors of toners in an aerosol can to attain color matching. It seems too laborious to me, there has to be a better way. I have heard of vinyl sealer and other stain brands, can you help? We have a flow over table and also use thick stripper (Palco) as needed. We use ML Cambell finishes over the Minwax. Looking forward to your reply.<br /><br />Thomas D. Flaherty<br />Furniture Medic, Denver, CO<br />303-298-9299<br />fax: 303-298-5373

My operation Q# 943 / Submitted 2/27/2005

Vinyl isn't used as a stain base. You need the services of a finish rep to identify the bottlenecks and problems in your operation. This can't be done by e-mail. <br /><br />I suggest you get in touch with your ML Campbell rep since you already use their products. Also a Mohawk finish rep may be able to help "better" as they are more in tune with the needs of a refinishing shop. They can identify the problems and suggest solutions. These two companies are better with smaller shops. The big boys like Sherwin Williams and others won't deal with a small operation, although you can buy their products through SW commercial branches. <br /><br />Fisheye is common in the refinishing business. The easiest way to deal with it is to add a fisheye remover (silicone oil) to your products. If the fisheye is random, it's probably just coming from the pieces you're working on. Check your compressore and air lines, and if you don't already have good filtration (water filter, oil filter, dessicant drier) get it for your spray area. You can check for contamination in your air lines by blowing some of the compressed air on a clean piece of glass, then applying finish over it. If it fish-eyes, your compressor/air lines are the culprit.<br /><br />Your flow-over stripping supplier should have solutions for a better rinse to alleviate the contamination issues. I like Benco at www.bencosales.com<br /><br />Lastly consider joining the e-mail Refinishers Groop at http://www.alan.net/groop/index.html<br /><br />This is a cohesive group which can help out a business such as yours considerably. <br /><br />Jeff <br /><br />

DO you have to remove all excess glue to stain the wood? Is there something I can use to make sure I get it all off?

when glueing joints Q# 942 / Submitted 2/26/2005

Yes - complete removal ensures even staining. Unlike most - I use distilled water and a toothbrush to clean the joint thoroughly. <br /><br />After sanding, wipe the area around the glue joint with denatured alcohol to see if you've removed all the glue. Residual glue shows up as a lighter area when the wood is wet with the alcohol.<br /><br />If you missed an area when you stain, wet sand the lighter area immediately with the last grit sandpaper you used for smoothing. It's helpful if you use a wet dry version of it. Wet sand the lighter area with the paper and some of the stain and the light area should disappear. <br /><br />Jeff

I plan to leave the edges of my kitchen cabinets constructed of 3/4" phenolic prefinished Birch Europly revealed as I like the look of the multi-ply. (with no tape or other edge applied). How do you recommend I finish and seal them for best maintainance in a kitchen environment? Paste wax? Polyurethane? <br />

sealing cut edges of europly Q# 941 / Submitted 2/20/2005

Polyurethane - definitely. Apply upwards of 4-5 coats, sanding in between for best results. Thin the first two coats with 25% mineral spirits ti insure good penetration. <br /><br />Jeff

I recently purchased a bedroom set made by the Smiths Brothers. Can you possible tell me what type of wood could be under the veneer? In addition, besides the obvious normal wear and tear, I notice some of the finish is very glossy where other parts feel and look very dried out. I do not know if I could undertake this much of a restoration project, but I would like to clean it up good before making that decision or having an expert look at the set. What should I use?

1930's Mahogany Veneer Q# 940 / Submitted 2/17/2005

Most likely it is a solid wood substrate made from poplar or possibly gumwood. <br /><br />Try cleaning it with mineral spirits and a rag. Stubborn dirt can be removed with the mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool, but be gentle, as you may remove finish in the process. Wipe away the dirt and residue, and then apply a paste wax (use a dark colored one if the wood is a medium or dark color). Buff when dry and see if the sheen is evened out. If not, you might want to consider getting a quote for refinishing from a professional. <br /><br />JJ

I am currently building two bookcases made from cherry.I also have three quarter inch cherry plywood in the book cases. This is my first time working with cherry so i am not to familiar with what would be the best way to finish it. Have heard that tung oil or mdanish would work. What would you suggest? Thanks

finishing cherry bookcase Q# 939 / Submitted 2/12/2005

The easiest finish to apply to cherry is an oil like 100% tung or boiled linseed oil. However, these aren't as durable as an oil with some varnish in it which will be harder. I suggest Waterlox Original Sealer and Finish (Ace Hardware) or Minwax Antique Oil. These finishes can be wiped on just as easily as the pure oil finishes. <br /><br />JJ

I'm considering buying both oak and meranti furniture for the living room through a catalog and am concerned that the finish (espresso) will clash since they are different types of wood. How different are these two textures of wood (grainy v. smooth)and what should I expect of the finished product?

Oak v. Meranti Q# 938 / Submitted 2/1/2005

Both oak and meranti are open grained woods so they should be similar, though in the white (unfinished) meranti is a blondish color and oak is somewhat darker. The texture of meranti is more uniform, while the oaks are ring-porous, meaning the deep grain is concentrated in growth rings. Meranti almost always stained, and is sometimes referred to as "white mahogany"<br /><br />The finishing process bewteen different manufacturers may be different, depending on whether the finish is an open-pored (you can feel the grain when you drag your fingernails across the finish) or filled-pored(the finished surface is flat and smooth). An open pored finish is a little more natural looking and you can tell that it's wood. Filled pored finishes can approach the look of Formica (a "plastic" look) if done certain ways. <br />I'm assuming you're buying from a catalog, otherwise you could inspect the different finishes on a showroom floor. So it's hard to say what you should expect. The color expresso is open somewhat to interpretation by the various manufacturers, however you should expect a deep colored brown that's neither too red, too black, too orange or too yellow. The sheen (gloss, satin or flat) may be different so find out what sheen the finish is. <br /><br />As long as you're not expecting a perfect match, I think you'll be safe. <br /><br />JJ

Last season, I took your course at the Marc Adams school. I am finishing a blanket chest (Kelly Mehler) of cherry. I would like to use a wiping polyurethane for durability. Will first applying an oil (e.g. Tried & True Danish Oil) increase the richness and deepen the color of the cherry? And then, can I apply the polyurethane over it?<br /><br />PS: I am the one with the kitchen cabinet door you helped convert from lacquer to poly even though it wasn't part of the course. Thank you very much.

finishing cherry Q# 937 / Submitted 1/31/2005

You don't need to use oil first, however, what does give a nice-satiny smooth surface is wet-sanding two light coats of boiled linseed oil onto the cherry. You can always wet-sand the wiping poly but I find it tacks too fast. Apply a light first coat of BLO (I don't like the flood-and-let-sit, then-wipe) approach for BLO. After the first coat dries one day, wet sand the second coat with 600 grit wet dry paper. Let dry two days, then apply the wiping poly. <br /><br />JJ

Im trying to refinish a molded plywood chair. It was originally aniline dyed black, then apparently touched up with gloss black paint. The paint is peeling off and I'd like to return it to its original dyed finish. Will I need to remove the original dye before applying the new? And whats the best way to finish the chair for durability and usability?<br /> Thanks!<br />adam L

refinishing analine dyed chair Q# 936 / Submitted 1/30/2005

No - you don't have to remove all the original dye. Simply remove the finish with a stripper, let dry, then sand the wood with 150, then 220. Remove all the dust with a water dampened rag. If the water penetrates the wood and doesn't bead up anywhere, you've got all the finish and stripper residue off. Don't worry if the color is uneven and bare wood shows in places. <br /><br />Then apply a water soluble black dye. The term aniline really isn't used much anymore so if the dye doesn't have the word aniline on the label, don't sweat it. Once the dye is dry you can apply a finish. Water based products applied with a brush or rag tend to pull water dyes up, so it's best to use an oil based finish if you plan on hand application. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br />I've made a jewelry box from old growth (50+ year old) rosewood. I normally apply a semi-gloss oil finish, but know that will not dry on the rosewood. What's the best finish that will still have the semi-gloss look?<br /><br />Thanks,<br />Pete Hauser

finishing brazilian rosewood Q# 935 / Submitted 1/20/2005

Just seal the rosewood with 1-2 coats of dewaxed shellac (Zinsser SealCoat) and you can then apply your normal oil finish.<br /><br />Jeff

Hello Jeff,<br /><br />I will be moving into a new home that has a big kitchen, but the cabinets are in whitewash, and I don't like them at all. I don't have the $$ to rip out all the cabinets, and the cabinets are nice. I'd like to stain/paint them to make them look Tuscan, and change their appearance without ripping them out. Any ideas on how I can do this with a stain or paint? The cabinets have many cubbies and a desk and storage areas, so refacing them is not an option.

Kitchen Cabinet Update – Stain/Paint Q# 934 / Submitted 1/19/2005

I don't know what Tuscan looks like but I can provide some insight:<br /><br />1. You cannot apply a transparent stain over whitewash - paint is the only option. <br /><br />2. You can use an oil or water based "base" paint and then apply a contrasting glaze color over it to achieve a wide variety of Old World type effects that I'm guessing the Tuscan effect falls into. <br /><br />If you go to a good paint store they should be able to provide you with more details and samples. If they don't know what "glazing over paint" is, then go to another store. We find that in our area the local "Mom and Pop" paint stores that are Benjamin Moore dealers are pretty good. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />Is shellac a suitable product to use as a sanding sealer with lacquer as the topcoat?<br /><br />Also, I don't have spray equipment - for medium sized projects such as a barrister's bookcase, would you suggest brushing lacquer or spray cans?<br /><br />I've been to the big box stores - I haven't any varnish at all except for the spar variety and a paste version. Is liquid varish a thing of the past?<br /><br />Thanks for your help!

No spraying equipment Q# 933 / Submitted 1/18/2005

There's two "kinds" of shellac. The standard one has wax in it and is suitable for a sealer under solvent lacquer and alkyd and phenolic resin varnishes. The other kind is dewaxed and will work under all finishes. Zinsser sells Sealcoat which is dewaxed. The waxy version they sell are called Bullseye Amber and Clear. <br /><br />I personally find brushing lacquer hard to use. The aerosol spray cans are fine for small projects but not yours. You could always step up to the plate and purchase an inexpensive import HVLP spray gun to spray lacquer - assuming of course you have a compressor. There's water base versions which are just as good but safer to use. <br /><br />For hand application I much prefer a standard alkyd or phenolic varnish for brushing or wiping. Alkyd based Pratt and Lambert #38 can be found at good paint stores or Old Masters Super Varnish. Waterlox is a phenolic varnish and should be available at all ACE Hardware stores nationwide. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff, could you please answer a couple questions concerning Sande Plywood. I am building some boodcases in the mission style and wanted to use Sande plywood for the project. I was wondering how to finish them to get the mission color tone. what steps such as sanding sealer (type to use) and the best type of stain and finish with a poly or some type of protection. This is a new material for me and hope ypu can answer my questiopns..thanks..Sam

Sande Plywood Q# 932 / Submitted 1/17/2005

There really isn't a standard for a "Mission" finish. Generally speaking though, the effect is produced best on quartersawn white oak and takes into effect the large medullary rays that provide a distinctive look. <br /><br />If you want to use a wood with a diffent texture, and build in that style, I think you'd be best off dyeing the wood a light yellowy to dark yellowy brown color without any strong red or orange undertones. Seal that dye in with lacquer sanding sealer, scuff coat, then apply a warm, dark chocolately brown colored glaze. This will highlight any natural texture in the plywood (I've never seen Sande, so I can't vouch for the texture). Then apply several low satin or flat clear topcoats. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />Thanks for all your helpful responses to my many questions - I appreciate your help. You are the Michael Jordan of Wood Finishing!<br /><br />There seem to be endless books on woodworking, but few on finishing. I finally went to a very large bookstore and bought your book "Great Wood Finishes" which answered many of my questions - but spawned a few more....<br /><br />I'm confused regarding the use of shellac. I've read it should be used to seal knots before finishing and I've also read it can be used as a finish in your book.<br /><br />Could you please clarify the uses of this product for me?

Shellac Q# 931 / Submitted 1/3/2005

The largest current use of shellac is as a sealer. It has the ability to seal in knots, contamination, and stains when refinishing (you put another finish over the shellac). It's used extensively by painters (in a pigmented version) to seal in grafitti and other stains when repainting in latex. <br /><br />50+ years ago, finishers used either shellac for a fast dry finish or varnish when they wanted durability. Nowadays, these products have been replaced by fast dry lacquers and polyurethane. <br /><br />You might want to check out an on-line article I wrote about shellacs many uses here: http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/shellac.htm<br /><br />Jeff

My floor is in very good shape it will have to be sanded and then i would like to apply a semi gloss finish.I would like ti darken it a bit but i do not want to use a stain.I will look forward to your advice.The size of my floor is 20 by 12.Thanks Phil Winters

refinihing a spruce floor in living room Q# 930 / Submitted 1/2/2005

After sanding, you have two options. <br /><br />If using an oil based poly or floor varnish (McCloskey GymSeal is an example of the former and Waterlox the latter) you can expect a little deepening from the color of the finish. See if you can experiment on an hidden area to test for color. If the color isn't dark enough you can use a dewaxed shellac as a pre-sealer in one of the darker grades (typically called orange or garnet). Garnet is the darkest. <br /><br />This is not a stain in the conventional sense, but does have the ability to punch up the grain and darken it. After drying scuff sand, vacumn the residue and then apply your oil based poly or varnish which will darken it a bit more.<br /><br />If you prefer using a waterbase finish, these typically have very little or no color at all, and the dewaxed shellac can be used as a pre-seal as well. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />What is your opinion regarding polyurethane as a finishing product on new furniture? <br /><br />For brushing, what would you recommend most which would give the most pleasing finish?

Polyurethane Finish Q# 929 / Submitted 12/30/2004

If the durability required calls for it, absolutely. Floors, kitchen tables, kids furniture and such all would benefit from poly. <br /><br />The objection to poly is that it sometimes has a "plastic" look. If the project you're finishing doesn't require it, I lean more towards an alkyd (like Pratt and Lambert 38) or phenolic (like Waterlox) varnish. <br /><br />Most people consider the best looking film finishes to be solvent lacquer and shellac, but neither of these have the durability of varnish or poly. Picking a finish is all about trade-offs. Gaining durability usually means sacrificing things like dry time, lingering odor and ability to repair at a later date. However durability is the main requirement, so use that as the number one criteria. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

I understand red oak has a pink tint and white oak has a gray tint. I would like to have oak paneling hung in the living room but I would like a honey oak color on the oak paneling and do not know which color red or white oak to use?

White Oak or Red Oak? Q# 928 / Submitted 12/14/2004

While either species can be used as long as you use the right color stain, red oak is a better choice because most store samples are prepared using red oak. Just pick the color from the samples that suits you. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff,<br /><br />Is indoor latex paint, like that used to paint walls appropriate for use with furniture? <br /><br />I've heard of milk paint - what are the pros and cons about this medium?

Painting Furniture Q# 927 / Submitted 12/11/2004

Latex paint isn't appropriate as the resin that's used (usually vinyl based) isn't hard nor tough enough for the type of contact that furniture is exposed to. It also "blocks", meaning things like books will stick to it. Some finishers get around this by applying a clear waterbased finish over the latex. Assuming you can find products that are compatible with each other that works fine. <br /><br />A better choice is to use a 100% acrylic water based paint. These are usually sold as trim paints. One particular barnd I've used is Sherwin Williams ProClassic Series. <br /><br />Milk paint is an old paint recipe that was resurrected in the 1980's and brought to market due to the restoration craze that started then. It has a charming, unsophisticated look but isn't one of the easiest products to use and apply. It requires mixing, the pigments settle quickly and it has to be stirred constantly, and requires that you use it within a specified time frame. It's also expensive. On small items it's fine, but I wouldn't want to do large pieces or areas with it. On the plus side it's odorless and dries quickly. It also has a "look" that isn't duplicated with modern paints. It will waterspot easily so it has to be coated with some type of protective clear finish if it's around water. <br /><br />JJ

Dear Sirs,<br /> <br />We are looking for plywood used for engineered flooring ( as the backer).<br />Please send info regarding this subject. Thanks!<br /> <br />Best,<br /> <br />Jesse Chang<br />JH Enterprise, Taiwan<br /> <br /> <br />No.45, Lane 247, Tung Chou RD, Shen Kang Country, Taichung, Taiwan, R.O.C.<br />www.wood-flooring.com.tw<br />E-mail: jh@wood-flooring.com.tw<br />TEL: 886-4-2528-9025<br />FAX:886-4-2528-8726

plywood Q# 926 / Submitted 12/8/2004

Please post your response in the "Ask the Hardwood Plywood Expert" forum - Ang Schramm. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff, I am presently building a built in desk and plan on using "hardwood plywood" that I have found at Lowes and Home Depot. It seems cost effective, but I'm not sure how it will hold a stain. I have installed a laminate floor in the room that has an oak look to it. I'm hoping to have the desk match the floor. Also, I plan on using trim to go around the desk, will the stain typically match up well on the different types of woods? Will the stain look good on the hardwood plywood?<br /><br />Thanks<br />

Staining Hardwood Plywood Q# 925 / Submitted 12/6/2004

Usually the open grained woods like oak stain pretty well, but the plywood may come out a little darker than than the solid oak. You can lighten the stain up by wiping it more agrresively or using some mineral spirits on a clean rag (before the stain dries)<br /><br />For edging, the hot melt type veneer tape will stain the same, but a solid wood edging might be a bit off. You can always double stain - meaning apply a second coat of the stain to the lighter areas after the first application dries completely.<br /><br />Jeff

Where can I get a palette of traditional furniture paint colours? I would like to paint some pieces and would like to use authentic colours when doing so. Is ordinary flat latex paint OK for this & should I seal the paint with poly or lacquer? I'm primarily painting knotty pine furniture.

Painting furniture Q# 924 / Submitted 12/3/2004

I don't know exactly what you mean by "traditional" but if you mean historic colors of the past you might try the Williamsburg collection here:<br /><br />http://www.martinsenour.com/color_collections/williamsburg.asp<br /><br />Typically a primer is used first which is compatible with your paint. Most "lines" like the Williamsburg will have a primer that will work. <br /><br />Jeff

I read in your book that Toning can be used to balance the colour of a piece after sealing it. I've looking in my local DYI superstore and cannot find 'Toners'. They do have 'Glazes', but I think these are for paint only. I intend to dye my pine project, seal it, and then use glazing and toning to adjust the final finish. Where can Glazes and Toners be purchased?

Glazing and Toning Q# 923 / Submitted 12/1/2004

Try this company - Touch Up Depot @ 1-866-TUDEPOT. They carry toners in aerosol form and glazes. Remember, toners have to be sprayed while glazes are typically applied by hand. <br /><br />Jeff

I have refinished a dining room table. As a novice I was not sure if it had a prior wax finish. I striped it with chemical stripper and applied minwax rub-on urethane. After one day, it is only semidry (usually dry in 2-3 hours)...it has a drag quality to it, feeling sort of damp and not quite tacky but won't take on a fingerprint. I took a hair dryer to it but that had no effect. Now I am wondering if it could have had a wax finish and if there is no hope apart from restriping and waxing. I had a similar problem when once I urethaned to soon after applying stain but it DID eventually cure after a week (I didn't apply stain this time though). Thoughts?

refinishing urethane over prior wax Q# 922 / Submitted 11/22/2004

It could indeed be a residue of some sort. It could be residual wax or more than likely wax from the stripper, which is put in to retard evaporation of the stripper and increase it's working time. <br /><br />I would clean off the Minwax with lacquer thinner. Then clean it again with lacquer thinner and steel wool once you've got down to bare wood. This will remove all types of residue both from prior use and the refinishing process (lacquer thinner contains three solvent families)<br /><br />Jeff

I build almost all my projects out of knotty pine and have never been satisfied with my finishing. <br /><br />In regards to pine specifically, what would you say would be the best approach regarding grit of sandpaper to use, dye or stain, pre-conditioning, and correcting the sometimes differences in the absorption of stain/dye - even after using a pre-conditioner, specifically, after sealing the wood, using glaze or Japan colours.

Pine Finishing Q# 921 / Submitted 11/22/2004

I hardly ever use oil based or pigment type stains as the main colorant, as they tend to accentuate the early wood more than the winterwood which looks artificial to my way of thinking. <br />What I typically use is a water soluble dye to set the undertone, seal and then use oil or water based glazes to bring the final color up. This allows me the most control over the color and eliminates splotching, as long as the color of the dye is not too datk. If I'm using a dark colored dye, I usually spray apply the water dye and try to avoid wiping it. <br /><br />Jeff

I remberwatching an old episode of new yankee workshop,and Norm was talking about melting down old records to make a finish could give me the formula? All I can rember is the record type 33's. I cant rember if he used thiner or lacquer thiner thank you <br /> Paul Suttles<br /> chase city V.A

lacquer finishes Q# 920 / Submitted 11/20/2004

Old shellac based records can be dissolved in denatured alcohol, though I seriously doubt it would make a great finish. <br /><br />Jeff

I am buiding products from your birch and maple uv plywoods. After cutting and sanding the edges I need to seal them from moisture and humidity. These produvts are usually stored in storage rooms or building basements. Now I am using Minwax spray applied urethane. Also, I want to know if there is a wax you recomend to make the surface baby bottom smooth, or any slicker than it already is.

sealing uv plywood Q# 919 / Submitted 11/15/2004

Any good quality paste wax will make it smoother to the touch but may affect the uniformity of the sheen when the surface is in certain lighting situations. I'm unclear as to whether you had a specific question about sealing the edges, so please clarify if possible. <br /><br />Jeff

I am planning to make a 36x72" dining room table and I'm wondering whether a prefinished hardwood plywood would be a good idea.<br /><br />Can one ger a non formaldehyde containg plywood and can it come with clean prefinished edges so I can just glue a sold wood edge?<br /><br />Or would you suggest a solid wood. <br /><br />In any case what do you suggest for finishing so it can withstand normal use.<br /><br />For the legs I an going to make an inverted U out of solid wood with a butt glued joint, and this will be attached at each end of the table.<br /><br />Thanks,<br /><br />Asher

Making A Table Q# 918 / Submitted 11/11/2004

Plywood is a great way to make table tops. You have to check with your hardwood/plywood supplier for a formaldehyde free or low formaldehyde product. "Natural Plus" (CFP Product) is low formaldehyde, and you might be able to special order it in a formaldehyde free grade. <br /><br />You may be able to sort through sheets to get the best edges, but some damage during transport and handling is expected. Shops re-machine edges for this purpose and it also guarantees a good glue bond, as the edges may pick up dirt. If you do glue solid edging on an un-machined edge, sand it with 150 and a hard block to get a good glue bond. If you lack the ability to do this, a friendly shop owner in your area may be able to help out. <br /><br />Jeff

I've read Jeff's book "Great Wood Finishes" and he states "dye stains are the only way to achieve bold, dark colors on wood without painting it". If dye is so superior to stain, why is it so hard to find? <br /><br />Your book says apply water-based stain quickly, in any direction. It doesn't sound like its harder to apply...<br /><br />Please answer this as I am very curious!

dye vs. stain Q# 917 / Submitted 11/11/2004

I never said it's "superior". For certain effects like deep and dark uniform colors it's better to use dye over pigment stains. In fact Minwax incorporates both dyes and pigments in their products. <br />Using pigment or pigment/dye only allows manufacturers to produce an interior/exterior stain which is probably the main reason it's used, not to mention the cost per pound is less. Another reason is that dyes overall aren't as lightfast as pigments, particularly the oil soluble dyes that would have to be used in oil based wiping stains. <br /><br />I agree that dyes are harder to find. They're certainly not available at the DIY and hardware stores. However any store that specializes in woodworking suplies like Woodcraft or Rockler should have them. <br /><br />Jeff

please suggest best means of sealing to prevent water entering joint, creating surface layer damage/separation. (it would not be my intention to coat the entire surface but us whatever you suggest as a wipe on (w/o swelling the fiber material below the top surface skin)...wiping excess off before it dries allowing for pentration into the joints.

seams/joints of 7/16 Q# 916 / Submitted 10/31/2004

I am unclear as to exactly what you want to do. I suggest you call the technical assistance folks for Columbia flooring at: (800) 654-8796 <br />

I want to apply a water based satin finish to my first acoustic guitar project but can find no suggested schedule or process. Everything is based on glossy nitro sprayed coatings. The Oxford Ultima Spray lacquer looks great. Is there a written procedure for applying a satin finish on an instrument? Also ... what you suggest for pore filling when using this product?

Guitar finishing Q# 915 / Submitted 10/26/2004

The procedure would be exactly the same as for gloss with the following substituition: <br /><br />Typically a guitar is a high build finish where the finisher applies upwards of 6-9 coats over 3 days and then level sands and polishes to gloss. Follow gloss practice - meaning grain fill open grained woods with the Target grain filler mentioned on their website, build 3 coats of gloss USL the first spray day, let dry overnight. Sand that with 600 grit, then apply 2-3 more gloss coats. Let dry overnight then sand with 600 grit. Remove all dirt and abrasive particles with a water base compatible tack cloth (not the ones usually sold in paint stores) or a water dampened cloth. Instead of applying more gloss on the third session, apply 1 coat satin, let dry and evaluate the surface. If it looks good leave it. If not appply 1 more coat. <br /><br />Off the gun satin finishes are very problematic. You need to be extremely meticulous in straning and preparing your final coats of finish and apply them in as clean a spray area as possible. I find spraying water on the floor and walls of my spray booth right before spraying the lasat coat really helps. Also remember to blow or tack rag off all the dirt on your clothes, hands and arms.<br /><br />If you fail to get a good off the gun stain finish you can lighly abrade the pimples and dust or other contaminants with 1500 grit sandpaper, then follow up with a product called Abralon (Mirka abrasives)in 2000 grit. Abralon is silicon carbide grit attached to an open cell foam pad. You can use it by hand or with a grip hand pad. <br /><br />JJ

Thank you sir, I have heard Norm speak of a black epoxy putty which is excellent for filling small hols in dark woods. Can you give details? <br />George Valdez<br /><br />P.S. You might find my windows interisting,I "grow trees" to become windows.<br />Treewindows. com

expoy putty Q# 914 / Submitted 10/21/2004

I haven't heard of a product such as that, however you may want to run it past the folks who run the This Old House website<br /><br />JJ

Is this finish adequate for use on an exterior soffit in San Francisco (no direct weather exposure)? If not, what finishing system would you recommend over edgebanded hardwood veneer panels in that application?

Columbia Forest Products Q# 913 / Submitted 10/15/2004

The standard pre-finished product does not use an exterior rated glue. You can specila order it that way, but you need to contact a Columbia distributor. <br /><br />Assuming you're using an exterior rated plywood and it's edgebanded with an exterior rated glue, spar varnish or an exterior 2 component urethane will work for your clear coat. The latter will hold up the longest. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff I'm looking for a hard wax that I've seen in the past it was almost a milk white stick I think about 6" long and 1/2" round. It was very hard and felt almost like Porcelain, and when applied to a waxing pad and used on unfinished wood it leaves a finish that is absolutely breath taking, it is the closest thing to a glass finnish I have ever seen. I know it had 3 p's PPP stamped on it, but I don't what else was stamped on it. If you have any ideas what this might be,and where I can get it please let me know.

HARD finishing wax. Q# 912 / Submitted 9/28/2004

I don't recognize the description, but I'm sure it's carnauba wax sticks that woodturners use for finishing. Try:<br /><br />http://www.bealltool.com/<br /><br />for carnauba sticks. Their Wood Buff "system" works very well if you have a slow speed grinder. Many other woodturning catalogs carry the stuff. <br /><br />Jeff

what finish would you recommend for exterior use on decking/furniture in the united arab emirates..temperatures reach 50 degree plus in high summer.<br />i look forward to your response.<br />many thanks

exterior finishes Q# 911 / Submitted 9/10/2004

I would look into a penetrating stain/finish that uses iron oxides or transpraent iron oxide as the pigment color. Varnishes will crack and peel in no time. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi, I have just applied "iron-on" teak veneer to the end panels of an old 1980's stereo amplifier. I then sanded and oiled them, and the results are ok, but...<br /><br />Where the veneer overlaps at the edges there is a noticeable line of white glue. What is the best way to disguise this, given that I have already applied teak oil to the timber?<br /><br />Thanks and regards,<br />Michael<br />

Finishing glued and oiled laminate Q# 910 / Submitted 9/3/2004

The best way I know of is to disguise it by painting on a thin stain or color using a small artists brush. Go to an art store and get a #4 artists brush and some burnt umber and raw sienna oil colors. Mix the two colors together until it approimates the color of the teak and then mix it with some of the oil you use for finishing. Using the long, flat side of the brush, brush along the edge until the white glue line is gone.<br /><br />Jeff

I believe that Norm used a hand rub wax finsh on some of his products. Please tell the name of the produt and where a person can buy it<br /> Thanking you<br /> Gordon Viher<br /><br /><br />

wax finsh Q# 909 / Submitted 8/23/2004

I'm not 100% sure but it was probably Briwax. This product is sold through many specialty woodworking stores like Woodcraft and Rockler. You don't have to use Briwax. Other good brands include Antiquax, Mylands and Liberon. The brands I mentioned all have different colors available. <br /><br />JJ

I've built a cabinet for my wife to store clothing in. The doors are single pieces of Wenge, the sides/top/bottom are of Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba) with thin stripes of wenge through the center, and the back and shelves are of aromatic cedar to deter moths.<br />I'd like to really give the figure/grain pattern some depth and a natural look, with a medium sheen. This piece won't be abused much, so I am not concerned about an armor plated finish :-) <br /><br />My thoughts were to use tung oil and/or super blond shellac. I've also seen that there is a 'tung oil sealer' available. Any thoughts on what approach I should use? I always dread this part of a project..... Loved your new book - Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing!

Mixed wood cabinet finishing Q# 908 / Submitted 8/20/2004

I would warn you against using any oil product on the inside, particularly tung oil - the smell of which will transfer to the clothes. My vote would be for shellac which will still bring out the shimmer in the wood without darkening it too much. On the outside - if you wish, you could use a light coat of tung oil or boiled linseed oil first, then apply shellac over that when it's dry. However, oils on wenge tend to turn it very dark, which I don't necessarily like. Don't use any finish on the cedar. <br /><br />I would test for proper oil drying with the Jatoba, as some tropicals have substances which impede curing of oil finishes. You should be fine with the wenge, but I've never finished any Jatoba. <br /><br />Jeff

I am turning Norfolk Island Pine bowls. Any suggestions for the right finish to highlight the star patterns, etc.? Suggestions will be appreciated from those with some experience with turning this wood. Thanx

Finishing Norfolk Island Pine woodturned bowls Q# 907 / Submitted 8/15/2004

Generally, to emphasize varying grain and grain pattterns in a bowl, try a wiping varnish like Waterlox Original Sealer and Finish. Shellac also works well and sometimes using the oil first, letting it dry and then applying shellac really creates depth and luster. If the oil makes it "splotchy" looking then try just shellac. <br /><br />Jeff

Damage to polyurethane finish during shipping creating white scuff marks from dirt between boards. How can spot repairs be done?

African Pearwood Prefinished Hardwood Flooring Q# 906 / Submitted 8/10/2004

Poly and other tough finishes aren't easily repaired. If the scratches are light (you can barely feel them with a fingernail dragged across) you can use rubbing compounds like pumice and rottenstone or automotive pastes to remove the scratches. If the scratches are deeper - the only thing you can do is to wet sand the scratches out without going all the way through the finish. Use 400-600 grit. Once the scratch is gone, you can apply a coat of two of poly in the correct sheen to bring it to the right sheen level - (satin, semi-gloss, flat, etc.). <br /><br />This type of repair can be both time consuming and hard to do for a "perfect" look, so it may be prudent to investigate replacing the boards if possible. <br /><br />Jeff

Do you have any favorite ways to finish lathe turnings, non food bowls etc. I have tried Lee valleys turning polish but I get a rough surface. Any ideas would be helpfull.

finish for turnings Q# 905 / Submitted 7/27/2004

Quick dry finishes based on shellac or lacquer can do that. Try spinning on a light coat of boiled linseed oil first, and burnish it with wood shavings. Then apply the polish. Also make sure you use the slowest speed setting on your lathe. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a large raised panel exterior Mahogany front entrance door. It is partially protected by a small alcove. The lower parts of the door and frame have been weathered over the years and I wish to refinish them. The ware is totally uneven. The top of the door and frame still look brand new while the bottom finish is almost totally gone. My question is how do I refinish this door and frame and what products do you recommend for the job? I live in Tampa Florida, a little warm for a Connecticut Yankee, and the door (and house) face North. The lower parts of the door are subject to mostly wind, wind blown sand, rain, and of course sun. I originally had teak oil put on it. It protected it for quite some time but now the finish is all but gone from the lower portion.<br />Thank you for your help.<br />

Exterior Mahogany entrance Door Q# 904 / Submitted 6/16/2004

Strip the finish off the door with a semi-paste paint and varnish remover and follow the instructions for removing and cleaning the old stripper off. When dry sand with 150 grit. Apply a wood bleach known as oxalic acid to the door, rinse with plenty of water to remove the residue, and then sand with 180 (wear a dust mask). The oxalic acid will remove the gray and black stain from the wood. Several appliocations may be necessary, and apply it to the whole door. <br /><br />The damage you see mostly at the bottom is from moisture wicking up through the bottom of the door, where it meets the ground. Seal this bottom (edge only) with 2 part epoxy, thinning to brushing consistency with denatured alcohol. When dry apply a spar or marine grade varnish. A penetrating oil finish can be used but requires periodic re-application. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br />In a previous response to my question regarding sanding the tinted varnish glaze, you said that it was OK if after 24 hours. However, I wanted to know if it was "necessary to sand for the finishing coat to take as I am concerned that sanding the glaze will damage some of the effect that I have produced with it.<br /><br />Sorry if I seem repetitive, but I want to be sure that I don't damage what I have already done. My hunch is that the tinted polyurthane glaze won't lift as it was pretty well rubbed in to create the chinese lacquer effect.

Concern about sanding glaze before applying finishing coat Q# 903 / Submitted 6/9/2004

Glazes should not be sanded unless it's part of the effect you want to create (i.e. a distressed, worn through effect)<br /><br />JJ

I had taken an oil lacquer finnished base color, sanded and used a very fine abarasive pad on it. I then applied a tinted varnish using a hand rubbed technique. <br /><br />Question: Is it necessary to sand again before applying the final protective varnish coat? Thank you.

Sanding After hand rubbed glazed varnish has been applied Q# 902 / Submitted 6/9/2004

As long as 24 hours hasn't passed, no. If yes a light in bewteen coat sanding is OK. <br /><br />Jeff

Have just completed applying tinted varnish glaze over basic color. 48 hours + have passed an everything has set well. Now wish to apply a protective coat of satin finish varnish using a foam brush to avoid streaking. Wanted to know if it would be adviseable thin out (cut) this protective coat with minieral spirits and if so to what proportions. I want to maintain that hand rubbed look. Thank you for your assist. Very appreciated.

Applying Protective Varnish Finish After Glazing Q# 901 / Submitted 6/9/2004

As long as the glaze is dry, you can thin it to whatever ratio suits you. Try 50:50 to start. Use a very soft bristle brush or a foam brush and avoid overworking the varnish. <br /><br />PS - It will be hard to tell if the varnish/mineral spirits will lift the varnish or not. It wouldn't hurt to do a sample piece to judge. If you want to make sure it won't lift, you could apply a light coat of aerosol shellac over the glaze to "lock" it in. <br /><br />Jeff

Dear Mr. Jewitt:<br /><br />I have to apologize for wasting your time with this very basic question. But your website said 'ask'; so here I go..<br /><br />I am very new to woodworing. I just finished putting together a carcass for a stand for my aquarium with 2x4 studs (pine, from HD). The sheathing is 1/4" hardwood plywood from HD or Lowes. The top is 3/4" Oak veneer plywood also from HD. The edging for the plywood top is pine. Face frame is pine too. Now, my question is about the doors for the cabinet. I purchased what is called blondewood plywood from Lowes for this purpose. What is the best way to seal the edges so they wont chip off over time...?<br /><br />I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.<br /><br />SRR

blondewood plywood Q# 900 / Submitted 6/5/2004

The best way is to apply small pieces of solid wood "edging". These strips are usually 1/8-1/4 thick pieces of the same species that's used for the plywood. For blondewood use poplar or maple. Make it a little over the thickness of the plywood. The edging is glued on with clamps and I would recommend a waterproof glue for your application such as Titebond II, polyurethane or epoxy glue. After the glue sets the excess edging is sanded flush with the plywood. Edging adds durability and a more solid appearance to the door, and provides better holding power for fasteners. <br /><br />If you lack the equipment to do this, you can purchase a hot melt adhesive tape. Cut it to length and iron on the tape to edge the plywood door. I use a J roller to set the tape down after heating it with the iron. It's trimmed after cooling with a sharp chisel or special cutting tool. This is very easy to do. <br /><br />Jeff

I recently laid 1700SF prefinished harwood floor. The appliance installer put two deep scratches into the floor while installing a wall oven. The scratches are very visable and are in the main traffic pattern, and are in the middle of the installation.

Scratches in newly laid prefinished hardwood flooring Q# 899 / Submitted 6/3/2004

Contact the dealer the floor was purchased from for assistance in solving this issue. Deep scratches are difficult to repair, so it may be best to remove the affected boards and replace them. <br /><br />Jeff

Your answer:<br />Oil glazes are applied over lacquer bases all the time. Sand the lacquer with<br />320 grit, then scotchbrite with maroon synthetic pad to give it tooth. Apply<br />your oil glaze, but before it fully sets up (usually 2-6 hours), lock it down<br />with a wet coat of lacquer. I'm assuming you're spraying here. If not, proceed<br />as above, but let the glaze dry 48 hours and then apply an oil varnish in the<br />sheen you wish. I wouldn't brush a lacquer finish over an oil glaze as you'll<br />probably pull it up. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />Two addtional questions:<br /><br />If I can't locate the Scotchbrite maroon pads what would be a comparative in the synthetic abrasives... fine or medium.<br /><br />I will not be spraying on a clear finish/sealer, but applying an oil-based varnish by brush. Can I avoid the brush stroke in the finish, but diluting the varnish 50/50 (mineral spirtis) and applying lightly with either a paint pad or folding a white paper towel to assimilate one.<br /><br />Thanks for your assist her. Very apprecited.

In reesponse to your answer – Applying a tinted glase over a Q# 898 / Submitted 5/30/2004

You want very fine grade.<br /><br />Yes, but like I say the glaze must be completely dry before you wipe the varnish.<br /><br />JJ

Jeff, your assist would be greatly appreciated.<br /><br />I have a red lacquer parsons table. No sealer or varnish coat has been placed over it. (just a primer and the lacquer paint) I wanted to apply a hand rubbed tinted varnish (oil based) glaze over it it create an antique chinese lacquer look. I've done this before when the base color was straight oil paint, but not lacquer. I know lacquer while oil based forms a protective skim coat over surface unlike standard oil-based paint. <br /><br />My question:<br />If I lightly sandpaper the surface of the lacquer coat will it then give me the same adherence as an oil-based paint or will I have to paint over it using an oil based paint to have the glaze work with the surface in the way I want.<br /><br />Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks<br /><br />Alex

Antique Galzine a Lacquerd Finished Table Q# 897 / Submitted 5/30/2004

Oil glazes are applied over lacquer bases all the time. Sand the lacquer with 320 grit, then scotchbrite with maroon synthetic pad to give it tooth. Apply your oil glaze, but before it fully sets up (usually 2-6 hours), lock it down with a wet coat of lacquer. I'm assuming you're spraying here. If not, proceed as above, but let the glaze dry 48 hours and then apply an oil varnish in the sheen you wish. I wouldn't brush a lacquer finish over an oil glaze as you'll probably pull it up. <br /><br />Jeff

I have some filling to do on a zebrawood project and would like to match the color of the wood as closely as possible. Rather than using a specific wood putty color I wonder if there is a way to make your own (I have saved some sawdust.)? I intend on putting a water based, polyurethane, semi-gloss spray finish over it.

patching holes and matching the wood Q# 896 / Submitted 5/27/2004

Many finishers simply mix 5 or 30 minute epoxy with some of the saved sawdust, which should match the wood exactly. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a couple of old steamer trunks I would like to renovate/repair but I am unsure of materials and treatment. Do you have any advice or information sources? Thank you.

steamer trunks Q# 895 / Submitted 5/19/2004

The replacement hardware and things like leather handles can be found at Van Dyke Restorers: 1-800-558-1234. <br /><br />We typically clean the trunk with minerals spirits, replace the hardware, then follow up with several applications of a 1 pound cut shellac. Then paste wax. Trunks should never be stripped chemically. <br /><br />Jeff

I recently bought a new home and the kitchen cabinets appear and feel like there is not enough finish on the cabinets to last any time at all. The cabinets were finished on the jobsite. What would you recommend that I could apply as a top coat (semi-gloss) to help make these cabinets last longer?

Top Coat For Kitchen Cabinets Q# 894 / Submitted 5/5/2004

Assuming you do not know what the existing finish is, you can safely apply most oil based varnishes such as Old Masters Super Varnish, Pratt and Lambert Clear #38 and Waterlox brands. Clean the surfaces well with soapy water, then scuff the surface with a very fine (maroon color) scotchbrite pad. Remove the dust and apply the varnish. <br /><br />This will also work for most water based finishes but check with the manufacturer first. <br /><br />If you want to apply oil based polyurethane, clean as above, then apply a "tie" coat of dewaxed shellac. You can get this stuff pre-mixed under the SealCoat name, made by Zinsser. <br /><br />Jeff

I received a highly decorative dresser which had been refinished previously. Every form of finsihing is displayed on this piece from carving to gold burnishing, etc. However, the top needs to be refinished. Apparently, they sanded or scraped the bookmatched veneers to such a thinness that small parts have flecked off. I believe I need to do extensive touchup, but not in stain. I need to apply a thin solid color to these spots, then grain and finsih. What do you rcommend I use?

Furniture top restoration Q# 893 / Submitted 3/1/2004

What you need to do is called "in-painting" or touch up. There are a wide variety of products you can use to do this, but unfortunately little in the way of instruction. If you can get a hold of Fine Woodworking, issue #166, I did a comprehensive article with photos on how to do it. But here's what you do in a nutshell. You'll need from an art store, a #1 and #4 artist round brush, and several "earth" colors. Look at the colors called sienna, umber, ochre and van dyke brown to match the background color of your wood and the darker grain lines in the wood. Use water base acrylic colors. <br /><br />Block out the background using an earth color and the #4, let it dry and then paint in the fine dark grain lines with the #1. Apply a coat of thin finish, evaluate the color and then make adjustments if necessary.<br /><br />You can get a back issue of Fine Woodworking by calling 800-888-8286<br /><br />Jeff

I think I\'ve made a big mess & need to know if it can be fixed. We sanded down our oak cabinets, but apparently not well enough. I applied oil based dark cherry stain & it only adhered to some places. I restained leaving on a thick coat, this looked pretty good. It has been 48 hours & it is still not dry in places. Will it dry & can I seal over it or am I stuck with a mess and will have to remove all the stain?

staining kitchen cabinets Q# 892 / Submitted 2/9/2004

It should eventually dry, though most consumer oil stains may take awhile, particularly over semi-sealed finishes or in colder temperatures. I'd give it another week and re-test the cure by wiping it gently with a soft clean cloth. When no color comes up on the cloth you should be safe to topcoat. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a maple floor. My dogs have made many scratches all over.This house is new. What is the easiest way to fix these scratches? Is there a top coat once fixed that can be applied for the future? Also, what cleaner do you use to clean floor regularly?

scratches Q# 891 / Submitted 1/24/2004

The answer depends somewhat on the finish used. You should try and dig up the finish used and contact the manufacturer for instructions. Some finishes can simply be re-sanded (screened) and re-coated effectively. Others do not repair well. <br />If you're not sure what the finish is, a system manufactured by Varathane (Renewal) can be used. It has great instructions and you should be able to get info on it at Home Depot. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

I have a set of large raised panel oak doors that are stained and sealed with spar varnish. the finish didn\'t last one year and the spar is peeling and the laminate is raised.The location of the house is on the long island sound with the doors facing south and the water is on the north side of the house.what is the best way to finish these doors and what product would you recomend.

exterior oak doors Q# 890 / Submitted 1/22/2004

You have undoubtably the harshest exposure for a clear finish to withstand. Assuming you used a consumer grade spar varnish, about the only thing you could do at this point is to go to a marine store and ask them for a clear varnish with UVA's. I'd avoid urethanes unless they are specifically called "linear urethane" or "aliphatic urethane". With a good marine varnish, you may only see 2-3 years at the most, provided you apply 6-8 coats. If you keep an eye on things, you can simply sand after 2 years and re-coat. Good marine varnishes are engineered to "erode" at the top layer and you can re-coat, assuming the finish isn't cracked or blistered badly. <br /><br />Before finishing, strip the door completely, re-sand and do any repairs. If the laminate is peeling off, though you have a serious issue if you cannot re-glue it. If you re-glue, consider epoxy. <br /><br />Paint will get you longer service - possibly 8-10 years if you do it right. <br /><br />Another option, and the most durable clear coat known to man is a two component aliphatic urethane. These are almost always spray applied finishes, though I have seen brushable ones available at marine supply houses. A professional door finisher should be able to do this job for you. Expect 10+ years with this type of <br /><br />Jeff

I have recently purchased a home with a lot of movingue veneer cabinetry including refrigerator panels, etc. I don\'t like the orange color of the wood/stain. Can I paint it? Can I lime the surface as I have seen done with teak? Can it be sanded and refinished or can I remove the veneer and replace it? I hate to tear it all out but I can\'t live with it. Please, any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

movingue veneer cabinetry Q# 889 / Submitted 1/20/2004

You should be able to do anything you want with it. Painting is certainly the easiest and fastest, but it sounds like a shame to cover up nice veneer. Consider having a panel stripped and sanded and then evaluate the color. If it's still too dark, it can be lightened up using a 2-part wood bleach. Different color stains and dyes can be used to counteract strong hues like orange with blue. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

If we use a solid wood edge banding in conjunction with UV Panels, what do you recommend for sanding the edge banding to be on the level plain with the plywood. Also, how to finish the wood edge banding to match the UV plywood?

Solid Wood Edge Banding Finishing Techniques on UV Panels Q# 888 / Submitted 1/20/2004

It depends on several things - how many of these you have to do and what level of quality you want to expect. <br /><br />If you want the best look, I wouldn't use the pre-finished material as I just see no easy way to get the solid edgeing flush without possibly damaging the UV and it will be hard to feather or blend the finish in. I'd consider using unfinished ply. <br /><br />On the other hand you could use white glue and tape the edging on exactly flush and where you want it on the prefinished ply. The tape allows a bit of finessing the joint and the white glue gives you more open time. Remove the glue residue and finesse the fit with a sharp scraper pr chisel. For a finish similar in protective qualities and look, I'd use a water white conversion varnish with a vinyl sealer. <br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />PS - It may be worthwhile running this same question past Ang on the other forum.

Hi there,<br />I\'m thinking of using sande plywood, available at Home Depot, for our kitchen cabinet doors. I like the look better than birch. Do you have any suggestions as to type of wood conditioner to use? (I originally submitted this question to Ang who suggested a \"wash coat\" of sanding sealer thinned with mineral spirits to a rate of about 2 parts thinner to 1 part sealer, but told me to ask you, the expert.) Also, I\'m having trouble getting a light color that doesn\'t turn yellowish or orangey from any of the oil-base stains (maybe partly due to the Minwax conditioner I was using?), so I\'m considering one of the Minwax water-base stains instead. Are these as durable? Any other suggestions?<br />Thank you,<br />Suzirox

finishing sande plywood for cabinet doors Q# 887 / Submitted 1/19/2004

The water base stains won't impart the orange/yellow color with the conditioner. They're just as durable but the overall durability comes from the clear finish used to protect the stain. While I have no direct experience using Minwax polycrylic, I think it would OK to use for your cabinets. <br /><br />Jeff

aloha...<br />i am in Hawaii building cabs for a beautiful beachfront home. the cabs. are made of a Columbia Forest Teak Ply. I am a bit concerned about what type of finish to apply. The kitchen is located in a room that basically opens up to the outdoors. And although the cabs. will be protected for rain they will take a heavy beating from the afternoon sun. I have both HVLP and Airless spray setups but i will only spray waterbased materials (years of working in surfboard factories have left me very concerned about my chemical intake). My web hunting has turned up some great looking products, like fuhr 355, 375 but they say \"interior\" and i am worried about the sun, also i don\'t think they are sold here... another option i have found is ProCoat WB Premium Polyurethane which is sold here through Woodcraft, or System Three Linear Polyurathan that is sold at a marine supply store. Any suggestions would be wonderful... oh yah, a satin finish is the request.<br />thanks<br />jp

indoor/outdoor Teak ply kitchen cabs,,, Q# 886 / Submitted 1/7/2004

The sun will do the most damage to any clear finish. I suggest you look at a 2 part aliphatic urethane which is suitable for wood. The only one I've used is from Gemini Coatings and is available through Touch Up Depot in Texas. 1-866-TUDEPOT. Many formulations used for cars are also quite good and can be used on wood. <br /><br /><br /><br />Jeff

Please help me! I am a novice and I am restoring the above mentioned radio. The console is in pretty good condition, but there are stains and water marks on the top, and some pretty deep scratches in other places. Sand it? Strip it?, and what about the finish? Laquer, or varnish? Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.<br />Thank You,<br />Byron Schmitz

1939 General Electric console radio veneer repair Q# 885 / Submitted 1/4/2004

First determine whether or not the original finish enhances the value. If not - stripping and refinishing is the easiest way for a novice and will yield the best results. Use a refinisher stripper like Formby's to remove the old finish. Sand to remove the light marks. Then use oxalic acid wood bleach to remove the water stains if you can still see them (they'll be dark). Clean with water, and then re-stain and finish using varnish or shellac. The original was probably shellac. You could also use lacquer which is what we would use and may also be the original finish (nitrocellulose lacquer). <br /><br />Jeff

We have a 1971 mobile home. I\'m wanting to refinish the cabinet doors in the kitchen. A couple of them have some minor chipping, but are otherwise in good shape, except the finish. I\'ve refinished furniture before, but nothing with the veneer. Any suggestions?<br /><br />Thanks,<br />Sandy

Refinishing kitchen cabinet doors Q# 884 / Submitted 12/26/2003

Veneer is no different than refinishing solid wood. You just can do much is the way of aggressive sanding, but that shouldn't be a problem as kitchen doors usually don't take too much in the way of a physical beating. Remove the finish using a stripper, clean the residue off with denatured alcohol, then re-sand with 180, stain and then finish. Just go easy on the sanding - and you may want to consider doing it by hand. <br /><br />JJ

I have just sent a question to your fellow plywood expert regarding the suitability of 5.2 mm-thick Virola plywood as a sheathing material for a small astronomical observatory dome.<br />My question to you concerns the best way to finish the sheathing, to preserve it against the ravages of the elements. The exterior finish MUST be white.<br />Climatic factors, NE of Toronto, Ontario, Canada: 80-90 F summer temps, often with high humidity; winter temperatures down to -20 (on occasion), with persisting snow cover for 3-4 (max.) months.<br />The structure will not be heated.<br />I am concerned with protection from dampness, especially where the pie-shaped sheathing pieces butt together at each rib.<br />At this point I am considering a high quality glossy white marine paint for the exterior surface, but do not know whether it would be a good choice for use on wood.<br />I would appreciate any suggestions you could provide regarding finish type and brand names that you might recommend.<br /><br />Thanks in advance,<br /><br />Michael Barber.

finishing exterior sheathing Q# 883 / Submitted 12/15/2003

I don't know brand names specific to Canada, but I would use a water base acrylic. You shouldn't have to prime it either. White paint is an excellent choice becuase of the UV protection afforded by the pigment. Contact Sherwin Williams. <br /><br />JJ

Dear Mr. Jewitt:<br /> I have done finishing with varnishes, laquers, and other sprays. I am contemplating building a line of caskets in our plant. I have always wondered what the soft matte finish was on the finest ($8,000-$10,000) caskets made by companies like Aurora or Batesville. If it is an oil finish, please explain the steps or procedures. Thanking you in advance for your advice,<br />Danny Hogg, <br />

soft matte finish used on the finest caskets Q# 882 / Submitted 12/12/2003

Caskets are spray finished using "casket lacquer" which is usually a standard nitrocellulose lacquer with wax added. The wax rises to the top of the cured lacquer imparting a waxed, silky feel. I couldn't find anyone making specifically a casket lacquer, but you could try Star Finishing products - Toll Free: 1-888-STARFIN - Fax: 828-431-4584. They make a product called Buffkote which you could try. <br /><br />The process involves a straightforward lacquer schedule using spray equipment. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

A slopppy contracter upon coating a stairway bannister allowed poly urethane overspray to cover our reasonably new (installed March 2003)Columbia flooring (Bartlett Oak Honey #BA 0311F). <br />Can the overspray be safely removed in such a way to restore the original finish? If so, will the warranty remain valid?<br />If not, whom should I contact in order to obtain an official assessment? I want this to present to the contractor so that he will remedy (pay for removal of the damaged floor and materials and installation of a new floor.

polyurethane overspray on flooring Q# 881 / Submitted 12/2/2003

I'll confer with technical at Columbia Flooring and get back to you.<br /><br />OK - Im back. You can try mineral spirits and see if this will remove the overspray, or you can try the Columbia Flooring urethane remover. If these items are used and successfully remove the overspray then your warranty is still in place. However, any damage that might occur during this operation, the contactor that caused the damage will be responsible. (These items should not harm the floor if used correctly; follow all directions on product label). If this does not work depending on the number of planks involved plank replacement can be done without bothering the structure of the flooring and the floor will perform as intended, or a screen and recoat can be done to remove the over spray. To obtain a full assessment please contact your local distributor in which the flooring was purchased. I would strongly suggest you contact the person below at Columbia Flooring, who has been made aware of your situation. <br /><br />Tammy I. Miller <br />Claims Administrator <br />Columbia Flooring <br />100 Maxine Road <br />Danville, VA 24541 <br />1.800.535.3963 ext: 3142 <br />tmiller@columbiaflooring.com <br /><br /><br /><br />Regards<br /><br />Jeff<br />

We have had an antique butcherblock table for 20 years, and are just ready to use it. I would perhaps like to plane it off a little, but how do I clean any mildew or staining from the wood? I don\'t mind some, because that keeps it rustic looking. What do you suggest? I appreciate any help. Thanks!

Cleaning an antique butcherblock Q# 880 / Submitted 11/29/2003

If it's to be used for preparing food, clean it with some bleach and water (1:1) followed by a good scrubbing with scotchbrite and dishwashing detergent. If it's just for furniture, you can remove the stains by full strength bleach, rinsing with plenty of clean water when dry, then perhaps some wood bleach (oxalic acid) to remove any water stains. Do this after the planing or sanding. Most real butcher blocks weren't finished so you can leave it as is, or wipe some mineral oil on it. Linseed oil, tung oil or whatever you wish can be used if you want more durability and luster. <br /><br />Jeff

I\'m refinishing a oak veneer desk. The finish has been removed using stripper and sanding. There are some dark round marks left from a cup on the surface. I would like to just put a polly coating on the wood. I there a way of getting these marks out. I don\'t want to remove anymore of the wood surface. Thanks Larry

dark round cup marks on veneer. Q# 879 / Submitted 11/24/2003

These marks are usually an indication of iron stain, caused by iron salts in water reacting with tannins naturally present in the wood. They're easily removed by a specific type of wood bleach known as oxalic acid. You can get a small jar of the dry crystals at Sherwin Williams and other good paint and hardware stores under the Savogran name<br /><br />http://www.savogran.com/Retail_Products/Repairing_Products/repairing_products.html<br /><br />Sand the wood and remove the dust. The wood should be clean enough so it will accept water. Mix the dry crystals with water at the ratio of a tablespoon per pint warm water. Apply the solution over the entire surface, not just the marks. Several applications may be necessary and wait overnight for the full effect. Wipe the surface 3 times with distilled water to remove all traces of dry crystals becuase you don't want the crystals airborne when you sand later. I ALWAYS wear a dust mask when mixing the dry crystals and sanding the wood after bleaching. <br /><br />Jeff

I have managed to obtain a Walnut Rail circa 1860 to match the antique newel (previously queried.) Again, I have hand stripped the previously stained finish but am unable to remove all of the dye.<br /><br />A new period piece (the easing) was custom made also of walnut and will be joined to both the antique rail and the maple newel in question.<br /><br />I am looking to match both the easing, (new walnut) and the antique portion of the rail to which some dye remains.<br /><br />What is the best way to proceed? <br /><br />Also, I am using what I believe to be pine pickets circa 1900. They have been striped of the previously painted surface revealing what seems to be a dark pink/brownish or reddish hue. Again, I would like to retain this colour as I have never seen pine with such a beautifully distinguishing colour. Could you suggest the best way to proceed.<br /><br />Thank you so much for your help<br /><br />

Walnut Railing with Antique Maple Newel Q# 878 / Submitted 11/3/2003

When bringing together the colors of various species of woods, it's possible to simply seal the woods, then apply different colors of pigment wiping stains to equalize the color. Gel stains are very easy to control and you can "layer" the color by applying more than one coat of the stain. Look at Bartley stains becuase I like their colors and they are easy to use. Dyes can be used as well and the advantage of a dye is it won't exaggerate the different textures. Work from the light colors to the dark one you want. I prefer water dyes because they're easier to work with. <br /><br />Jeff

I have an antique maple newel circa 1840 which I plan on refinishing for my basement. It has been hand stripped (previously painted) revealing a beautiful rich golden patina and exquisite graining. <br /><br />I am looking to enhance the natural beauty of this piece and am wondering if you might have suggestions.<br /><br />Thank You<br /><br />

Refinishing Antique Maple Newel Q# 877 / Submitted 10/25/2003

Old patinated maple looks good with just about anything. Oil based varnishes and poly would be used for durability and an added ambering from the oil component, while a water based poly will make it look like it does with no finish (ie doesn't deepen or amber. Shellac is also a good choice as it fits the period. <br /><br />Jeff

Hi! I\'ve recently purchased 1100 square feet of maple parquet flooring. My house is built on a concrete slab above grade, level, and emitting no moisture. The exisiting flooring is vinyl tile. What I want to know is: can I install the parquet right over the vinyl tile? Is there an adhesive that will allow this? From what I know, probably not, but I\'m trying to find out for sure. Thanks!<br /><br />Leif<br />

parquet over vinyl tile? Q# 876 / Submitted 10/22/2003

You can do it, assuming the vinyl is glued down and in good shape. You'll have to clean the vinyl very well and remove all traces of dirt and wax. I'd pretest for adhesion of the adhesive (your best bet is a urethane). Place some of the adhesive in an inconspicuous area and let it dry 24 hours. If it dries rigid and you have to chisel it to remove it, you're good to go. If it attacks the vinyl and eats a hole in it or doesn't stick, your not, and the best thing to do would be to remove the vinyl. <br /><br />Or course removing the vinyl and gluing to the slab would eliminate any possible issues. <br /><br />Jeff

Customer puchased qtr. red oak ply wood 10 months ago and now is using it. Say after staining looks as though some one splattered something on it. On all sheets not just one and on all thiknesses. How can he finish this so it looks the same as the solid qtr red oak frame work??

blotchyness on qtr. sawn red oak plywood(columbia) Q# 875 / Submitted 9/29/2003

I'd have to see a sample but since oak doesn't splotch naturally the culprit probably is something that splattered on it. It could be any number of things, such as glue, finish or oil. I'd recommend washing the plywood with lacquer thinner which will remove oils, then sanding well to remove anything like glue or finish. Try a small part of a sheet first to see if it will work first. <br /><br />Jeff

I am trying to match topcoat of stained maple trim to newly installed stained maple cabinets. Cabinets manufacturer uses Valspar conversion varnish low-sheen clear topcoat, which I am trying to match in spray-on product. Any ideas?<br /><br />Also, as an alternative, I have use Watco danish oil finish as an interior wood finish in the house, including doors and a toybox. Would you recommend using the Watco for the stained maple trim thoughout the house (baseboard, window/door trim)?

maple trim Q# 874 / Submitted 8/25/2003

The Watco will not match the color and look of the Valspar product. Are you saying you can or cannot spray? <br /><br />If you cannot spray the closest product in looks you can apply by hand would be a low sheen water based poly or lacquer. A low sheen oil varnish may be close, but most CV's are water white and I think the varnish may be too amber on natural maple. If the maple is stained, I think either product will work. <br /><br />If you have spray equipment you can get CV's from a Sherwin Williams Commercial branch or ML campbell dealer in your area. Be careful when using these products. <br /><br />Jeff

I purchased a sweet gum walking stick off the internet, I called the people who made the stick to find out what they finished the stick with. The used lacquer. I am moving and am a woodworker and need another can of finish around like I need a hole in my head. Would polyurethane over lacquer be ok to apply after a light sanding or rubbing with 0000 steel wool. Luke Wagner

walking stick Q# 873 / Submitted 8/14/2003

Poly has finicky adhesion qualities and can be dicey over another finish unless you know exactly what's in the lacquer. If the lacquer has stearates or wax additives, it may not stick. However, as long as you clean it and scuff it, give it a shot if that's all you got in the way of finish. <br /><br />JJ

I have a new dining table with a factory finish. I'm sure it's not 100% wood. I had a light scratch on it and I was afraid to sand it because it has a pattern in the wood. I used a buffing cream to remove the scratch from the surface. It didn't remove the scratch and it left the small area shiny. The table has a dull finish. How can I remove the shiny corner without damaging the wood, and how can I remove a light scratch without sanding?<br /><br />Thank you for your response.

removing shine from buffing a scratch Q# 872 / Submitted 7/3/2003

Unfortunately it's difficult to advise to because non-glossy factory finishes are produced one of two ways, either by rubbing with abrasives or by spraying satin or flat finishes. <br /><br />What you did was you used a polishing cream which polished the area where the scratch was up to gloss (made it shiny). It's very difficult to remove scratches by rubbing with a fine compound. The way we do it is to use a very fine sandpaper 800 grit wrapped around a small block and feather sand the scratch. Feather sand means rather than sanding in one direction, keep changing directions and feather the sanding out a bit into a larger area. This avoids a visible depression in the finish when you look at the table in backlighting. Once that's done you have to restore a consistent sheen to the surface by rubbing with 0000 steel wool. This produces a "brushed metal" type of satin sheen, and you have to be careful to rub in very straight lines, typically with the grain. Another way is to use a product called Abralon which can be used after the 800 grit. Start with 1000 g and go up to 4000 or until you get the sheen that you want. The Abralon puts a random scratch pattern which looks more like a satin or flat finish. <br /><br />So that's the way we do it. My advice is to call a pro in and have a look. There is nothing in the world that makes up for the experience that an on-site touch up man has when dealing with the nuances of factory finishes. You can easily destroy your finish if you don't know what you're doing. If you need a referral, call the National Hotline Repair Service at 1-800-332-2747 and they will match you up with a pro in your area. <br /><br />Jeff

Recently I purchased some aniline dye stain. The name brand is J.E. Moser's. I couldn't wait to use it on a project that I just completed. The project was made of pine. I know that blotching occurs with this wood without a conditioner. I put the dye on the wood and some blotchiness has occured. Do you still put conditioner on the pine even though I am using a dye stain? I thought that conditioner would not be necessary, since I was using a water soluable dye. Please, any advice that you could give would be greatly appreciated!<br /><br />Byron <br /><br />Douglas,GA

ANILINE DYE Q# 871 / Submitted 6/24/2003

Certainly water base dyes splotch less than oil or solvent based stains, but nonetheless, there is no product I know of that guarantees a splotch free stain job on all wood species. <br /><br />There is a conditioner for water based dyes. It's thinned water base finish and you can buy a pre-packaged product like Minwax water base stain conditioner or make your own from a 50:50 mix of water and water base finish. For your pine, sand to 180, then apply the conditioner liberally, wipe up the excess, and allow it to dry 4-6 hrs. Sand again by hand with the grain with 220, remove the dust then apply your dye. <br /><br />PS - There is a great article on splotch free pine in the latest issue of American Woodworker Magazine. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a customer who purchased a sheet of the above plywood to make a vanity. After he had it all assembled and went to finish it he couldn't get one side of the vanity to finish up the same color as the rest of the vanity did. Now all the components of this vanioty was made from the same sheet of plywood. What do you think might have caused this to happen? It'd be great to get an answer for these guys after all it's been about 6 months taht I've been trying to find one. Thank you for your time and effort.<br /><br /><br /> Keahi Meyers

Finishing a panel of CFP 3/4 Q# 870 / Submitted 6/21/2003

The only variables that would cause this to happen are:<br /><br />1. If the two sides weren't sanded to the same grit. <br /><br />2. Two different stain or finish lots were used. <br /><br />3. The stain or finish products were applied differently; as in one side the stain was wiped and the other side was sprayed. <br /><br />4. It could also be lighting. Many times the tops will be a different color than the sides just due to the angle of lighting. <br /><br />5. Grain. If the sides are oriented differently, one may appear darker and deeper than the other when viewed from the same angle. <br /><br />Jeff

Hello,<br /><br />My husband and I are restoring a 1850's farm house<br /><br />and the floors are in rough shape.Could you tell us <br /><br />the best finish to use that will last in high traffic <br /><br />areas.On another home that we have we used a product <br /><br />called last and last.This product did not hold up well<br /><br />at all.And were we can purchase and the price we<br /><br />will have to pay.Thank you for your time in this<br /><br />Barbara Frizzell

refinishing floors Q# 869 / Submitted 2/27/2003

I think the best looking floor finishing is done with Waterlox products here<br /><br />www.waterlox.com<br /><br />They can refer a retailer in your area or -- I do think they sell direct. If you want to stay with water base, there's is really good and if you use a pro, they may sell you the cross-linker for it. I believe they will not sell the cross-linker to a non-pro. <br /><br />Their oil based finishes are killer and unlike a urethane finish are easier to repair if scratched or damaged. <br /><br />Jeff

Hey Jeff,its me again.Here recently i have been reading your book called Hand-Applied Finishes and i love it.It is clear on finishing and gets down to the details on finishing.I have been taking a two course on woodworking and when i have got to the finishing course my brain has took a stand-still,because i know if the finish doesn't look good,the product doesn't look good.I was reading in a wood magazine and really got confused,because this person was telling three ways on finishing bird's-eye maple.I know there are lots of ways to finish any kind of wood.One of the ways got really confusing to me.They said use a danish-oil or water-lox original sealer then topcoat it with a CAB acrylic lacquer,a water-based lacquer,a clear varnish or a urethane.I thought you was to put some kind of seal on the oil before you topcoat it with water-borne finishes or lacquer.Please enlighten me on this matter.THANKS,SIGN BYRON

Finishing Bird's-Eye Maple Q# 868 / Submitted 5/27/2003

Many water base finishes these days can be put directly over fully cured Waterlox, Danish oil or boiled linseed oil without adhesion problems. In the past we've always advised folks to put a coat of dewaxed shellac over the oil product. <br />The key is fully cured and that may mean 24-48 hours for the oil. Waterlox should definitely be OK to seal in 12-24. <br /><br />JJ

Hello.I was refered to you from another web page. I bought a house in Ocean Grove NJ by the shore. It was built in 1924, and when I walked in for the first time I was blown away by the wood work. Thats what made me buy this home which needed just about everything te be replaced-kitchen, bathroom, heating, plumbing, electric, etc. Well the wood was varnished to an almost black color. I tried many different cleaners to see if I could get it to a color that I could live with, but no such luck. So I stripped a little and sanded a LOT. It turns out that its pine, from 1924, but still pine. Big grain patterns. Well, this is not my favorite look and I have been sanding my brains out as you can imagine. I had a local wood expert look at it and he thought it was nice and that he could do a process called glazing that wood lessen the differance between the ring color when stained to the reddish brown that I wanted. He also recomended that I just replace the dental molding at the top of the windows and doors with poplar instead of spending the rest of my life sanding these areas. Anyway, with this process he applied a very light coat with a rag, wipping most of it off. That was pretty darn ugly. Then he sealed it, then GLAZED it buy staining over the sealer. It looked great! He said I could then do satin, semigloss, or gloss over that to finish it. The color was more pleasently uniformed to a great degree on a test section. The only thing that I was disappointed in was that the darker rings that I could not sand any further had a little black left over from the old varnish and you can see that come through. Mybe more important though is that I did not relize till I was finshed sanding that the wood grain has high and low valleys now because of all the sanding on the different hardness of wood rings. I wanted to know if this is an acceptable look. I like the gloss look and its even more noticable that way. I know this is a long e-mail and you dont know me from Adam, but I have been killing myself with this project so any help is greatly appreciated. Everyone said, just paint it, its only pine, but something inside of me said to keep going. Am I crazy? The wood guy, (who I cant afford at $9000 to sand and stain, $18,000 to replace and stain) said some pine is almost as expensive as Mohogany. I hope I havent ruined it. At your mercy, PB

SANDING/ REMOVING VARNISH Q# 867 / Submitted 2/19/2003

You cannot do anything to fix the sanding problem unless you start over. Even paint may telegraph the problem. I'd put on a matte or flat clear finish as the finisher suggested which will mitigate the effect the most. The only thing you can do is to diffuse the look of the problem, unless you want to start over. <br /><br />You can touch up the black or dark areas, by painting with artists oil colors to paint out the dark areas with a lighter color. Then put your clear finish over the touch ups. <br /><br />JJ

When staining raw particle board, does the apply better and more evenly when the board was produced with a certain percentage of wax in the board or does it is better to apply a stain without any wax in the raw board ?<br /><br />

staining raw particle board Q# 866 / Submitted 12/9/2002

The percentage of wax in particleboard is very low, around .1%. From a standpoint of stain formulations, I don't think it makes any difference if you use a solvent base stain.<br /><br />If using a water formulation there may be a differenece in how the stain takes and spreads, but I haven't seen it. <br /><br />JJ

I have seen a few woodworkers use potassium dichromate as part of finishing a project and it looked good.What is this stuff?What types of wood do you use it on?THANKS,SIGN BYRON

Potassium Dichromate Q# 865 / Submitted 5/7/2003

It's used on cherry and mahogany mostly as a chemical stain. It's available from specialty finish suppliers as a dry orange powder which is dissolved in water.<br /><br />My book Hand Applied Finishes as well as the video Coloring Wood covers it pretty well.<br /><br />Jeff

What is a plastic resin glue and where can i purchase some?I also like to thankyou for the advise and answers you have provided me in the past.It has help me a lot.Sign out BYRON

Glue Q# 864 / Submitted 4/30/2003

Plastic resin glue is the unfortunate name used to describe a type of glue based on urea-formaldehyde. It's typically sold as a powder which is activated by water and forms a very ridgid (non-creeping) bond. It is the glue of choice for most veneering applications. <br />A modified type of this is sold under the name Unibond, and comes as a liquid and a powder. This alleviates some of the problems with the water content in the former water/powder mix, which can cause the veneer sheets to curl when they hit the water/powder glue mix. <br /><br />DAP Weldwood plastic glue (the powder you mix with water) can be purchased at most hardware stores and home centers.<br /><br />Unibond 800 was developed by a manufacturer of vacuum veneering presses. http://www.vacupress.com/veneerglue.htm<br /><br />Jeff

Recently I've milled a cherry tree with a chainsaw. I figured that the top and bottom cuts from the log would make nice bench seats or whatever else. I hand planed one log and tested a tung oil finish and it looked HORRIBLE. The 10 inches of heartwood looked blotchy and the sapwood looked real bad. Suggestions for a natural finish allowing for a distinction between heart and sapwood would be appreciated. Thanks, Shawn

hand planed cherry finish Q# 863 / Submitted 2/1/2003

Oil can indeed create an uneven look on cherry. Assuming other variables like moisture content are within finishing parameters, I'd look at a finish like dewaxed shellac which shouldn't splotch. As an aside, a sealer coat of 1 pound cut shellac applied before oil based finishes should minimize the splotchy look. <br /><br />JJ

I do know this method & would appreciate an insite on<br /><br />a profesional finish <br /><br />thank you

pop the curl in curly maple Q# 862 / Submitted 11/30/2002

Do you need help in transferring the procedures to production work? I'm not really clear as to what you're asking. Can you be a bit more specific?<br /><br />Jeff

We have kitchen and bathroom cabinets made of Europly. We don't know how they were originally finished. In locations, such as panel edges, where water drips may stand until they evaporate, we are seeing the beginning of damage. What is the recommended finish for Europly and what steps do we need to take to stop the damage. Thanks.

Refinishing Europly Q# 861 / Submitted 4/26/2003

Either the panels were not correctly finished in terms of adequate film thickness on exposed edges, or a moisture sensitive finish was used. If the problem is just at the edges, you could sand and clean the area, then apply several coats of a moisture resitant varnish like Waterlox. Poly may have problems adhering to a questionable finish. <br /><br />Professional finishers handle stuff like this all the time. You may want to contact a kitchen design or sales outlet in your area and get a recommendation. <br /><br />JJ

I have been told that Maple wood does not take staining very well. I am interested in building some custom cabinets/shelves in my living room out of maple and maple plywood. I will be staining them and am worried about it not looking good.<br /><br /><br />Thanks for your help.

Staining Maple Q# 860 / Submitted 1/28/2003

Maple can splotch, or stain unevenly with dark, random patches of stain. To combat this there are many techniques and products, but I'll cover two which almost always work. <br /><br />1. Look into using a gel stain. These thick bodied stains generally work well on maple, and they'll also allow you to apply several coats to parts that stain lighter (sometimes the plywood stains darker than the solid wood)<br /><br />2. Washcoat before staining. This means you apply a product called pre-stain, stain controller or just thinned finish prior to staining. A company like Minwax makes one for both their water and oil based stains. Most pro's use shellac or thinned lacquer or glue size, but the basic concept is the same. Sealing or pre-loading the wood surface makes stains lay at the top more evenly.<br /><br />JJ

I have made a dining room table using Europly as the top without any additional veneer. What is the best finish to be applied by hand would you recommend? <br /><br /><br />I have used Flectco's Diamond waterbased polyurethane before and find it to be easy and almost odor free. I did find that the top will probably require 6 or more coats to have a durable finish. In a previous project I had applied 4 coats and the finish remains somewhat textured.<br /><br /><br />So in short, what is easy to use and still protects the Europly from normal "dining table" uses?<br /><br /><br />Thank you,<br /><br /><br />Peter

Durable hand applied finish for Europly Q# 859 / Submitted 11/19/2002

Polyurethane is the most durable finish that can be applied by hand. Certainly waterbase versions have the additional benefit of little color, non yellowing and no odor, provided the right urethane resins are used (aliphatic)<br /><br />Your comment "the finish remains textured" indicates that your finish quality "off the brush" wasn't what you wanted. And 6 coats of any finish starts to give wood a thick applied "plastic" look. <br /><br />If you want to improve the look of the 4 coats, just rub out the finish. Using 600 grit sandpaper, sand the texture out and then use some gray scotchbrite or 0000 steel wool with some soapy water to rub out the finish. You could follow up with some paste wax for more shine. <br /><br />If you're using satin finish try this, since we typically don't rub satin finishes. <br /><br />Sand the texture out using 600 grit, then scothbrite (gray). Wipe all the residue off. Thin your Flecto with 10 percent water and wipe on the finish using a clean absorbant cloth. Wipe the finish just like you brush, and don't go back over any area. You may be surprised at the finish quality you get with this method. <br /><br />JJ

Do some species of veneers cause finishing problems?

Species Q# 858 / Submitted 10/16/2000

Actually the veneer slicing operation solves a lot of common finishing problems that occur with solid wood. Tropical woods like teak and rosewood, as well as aromatic red cedar, have oils which impede proper drying of finishes. These compounds are broken down by the steaming/boiling process prior to slicing into veneer. <br />White and red oaks can create problems with water based finishes due to the tannin content, but again, tannin is solubilized in water and much is removed by boiling. <br /><br />Jeff<br />

I am a novice woodworker and love the look of many of the exotic woods.I do plan on using exotic woods in the future,but i hear that some of them are difficult to glue.My first question is what kind of glue do i use?My second quetion is what is clear extender and where do i get it?Please HELP.

Exotic Wood Q# 857 / Submitted 4/26/2003

Exotic woods often contain natural oils that Mother Nature put there to help these species cope with fungal and bacterial problems from living life in the Rainforest. These oils can impair adhesion of glues, particulaly water base PVA's like white and yellow glue. Some woodworkers wipe the glue joint with acetone, but this may not always work. Most folks agree that epoxy, resorcinal or polyurethane glue is best for oily woods. <br /><br />The term Clear extender unfortunately is meaningless unless you say what it's for. Extender for what? Glue, finish, stain or glaze? <br /><br />Jeff

Dear Jeff<br /><br />I have been told to get a mirror finish on a mahogany table top I should use a grain filler before staining and finishing. I would like your comments on how you would get the most out of mahogany.<br /><br />Thanks<br /><br />Gord

mahogany Q# 856 / Submitted 1/26/2003

That's correct. Any open-grained wood should be grain filled so you can get a glass smooth surface. Grain fillers come in both water base and oil based versions. Basically you pack the filler into the grain, while wiping or removing the excess from the intermediate areas. With water based filler you can stain afterwards. Oil based fillers generally are applied after staining and sealing, but there's always different techniques practiced. Here's two "recipes"<br /><br />1. A particularly nice mahogany finsh can be done by using a dark brown or almost black water based filler, removing it, then applying a natural or lightly tinted oil stain base. Then onto clear lacquer or varnish topcoats. <br /><br />2. Put some reddish colored oil stain into some brown oil based paste filler and apply it to the mahogany as per the instructions on the can. I like to thin the first coat so it fills better as mahogany has a spongey cellular material in the pores which makes thick fillers bridge the pore cavity. Then go ahead and apply the clear finish. <br /><br />Jeff

Blue/purple stains appeared during a profile wrapping process while using a mist/steam system. On some of the parts there was a distinct repeat pattern that could not have been created in our manufacturing process. We tried different sources of water only to achieve the same result. To prevent the stain, we processed without the addition of moisture.<br /><br /><br />My understanding is that a reaction occurs between the tannic present within the oak, iron, and water. My concern is that if 2 of the 3 elements are present (ex. tannic and iron), this reaction might occur during our customers finishing processes.<br /><br /><br />QUESTIONS:<br /><br /><br />(1) Can iron/metal exist on the veneer from metal shavings, rust, etc., causing this reaction with the addition of water?<br /><br /><br />or <br /><br /><br />(2) Could this reaction occur with the addition of iron/metal to moisturized veneer?<br /><br /><br />(3) If (1) is "yes", can water-based finishes cause the reaction?<br /><br /><br />(4) If (1 & 3) are "yes", can this dust be removed by a sanding operation prior to shipment.<br /><br /><br />(5) If (1) is "yes", do you have any recommendations for testing of supplied materials.<br /><br /><br />Any insight into this situation is greatly appreciated.

Iron-Tannic Reaction in Red Oak Veneer Q# 855 / Submitted 11/12/2002

There are some things you can do to minimize the chance of a customer getting an iron reaction. You could bring the pH up on the wood by applying an alkaline solution prior to final sanding. If the customer's wood has a higher pH there is a less likely chance of tannin reaction with their water. However, you cannot control the water that a customer uses, so finishing folks like me tell people to only put distilled water on the wood. <br /><br />You can minimize your in-plant processing problems by making your water a lower pH, say around 3-4 or switch to de-ionized water. 3 tablespoons household white vinegar in a quart of water culd be a simple trial<br /><br />JJ

Hey Jeff,it is me again.I am currently putting a jelled poly on a cupboard i just built.It is of pine and i just wiped on my six coat.I was wondering if a spray or brush-on poly,lacquer or varnish can be applied over the last coat?Thanks,Byron.

JELLED POLY Q# 854 / Submitted 7/9/2003

You can, but stick with a poly and make sure you sand or steel wool the prior coat before application. Do not put lacquer over an oil based finish. <br /><br />Jeff

I am a beginner in the field of woodworking.There are many finishes on the market today and i get so confused on what to use and how.I really love the look of a tung-oil finish specially on the darker tone woods like cherry,walnut,mohogany and cedar.My question is can you apply a varnish over it or do i seal the tung-oil first and if so what kind of seal or can i mix the two.

hand oiled-finishes Q# 853 / Submitted 4/23/2003

You could certainly isolate the tung oil application as a sealer, then apply a varnish over it. However, there's no need to do this if you use a tung oil based varnish to begin with. Waterlox is one that will generate the depth that you get with tung, plus the hardness you get durability-wise with a resin varnish. <br /><br />Some finishers make their own concoctions by using 1 part interior varnish, 1 part tung oil and 1 part mineral spirits. Now you've made a wipe-on-wipe off finish that's really easy to apply like tung oil, but has some better durability. However, pure varnish is better if durability is the major criteria.<br /><br />Jeff

My sunroom has unfinished cedar tongue and groove boards. After 5 years the sun has bleached the wood and the fingerprints stand out. There are a lot of fingerprints and smudges. I can sand them out with my random orbital sander. The question is what is the best finish for a sunny room like this. I just want to bring out the grain a bit - and don't want something that is difficult to maintain.

fingerprints on cedar Q# 852 / Submitted 1/23/2003

I would consider a transparent penetrating finish such as tung, linseed or other drying oil for your application. It will seal the wood and possibly bring back some of the color. You may want to look at Penofin here.<br /><br />http://www.penofin.com/penofin.htm<br /><br />A product with a UVA may help minimize any further damage from the sun. These products should be re-applied every couple of years or so. <br /><br />JJ

Jeff: I'm getting ready to start sanding a set of red oak bunkbeds I built for my grandgirls. After looking closer at the wood I noticed finger marks,smuches - possibilty some light oil firm from new machines. What would be the best way to insure a good even stain/finish. Would you sand your wood first or clean the wood with a acetone or laquer thinner then sand?? I would appreciate your input.<br /><br /><br />Thank you <br /><br />Dustin Dimmick

Preparing raw red oak for finish coat. Q# 851 / Submitted 11/11/2002

Sanding is a good way to clean most anything off the surface of the wood, but some oils may remain behind. If you suspect machine or some other type of oil contaminant, wipe the surface after sanding with naphtha to remove any oil base product. If you will be using a water base finish, I'd go the extra step of wiping the surface with denatured alcohol after the naphtha.<br /><br />Solvent wiping is also a good way to remove the swarf, which is the mixture of sawdust and abrasive grit that breaks off the sandpaper and gets stuck in the pores. <br /><br />Jeff

Will a dark stain help hide natural and manufacturing defects in the plywood?

Dark Finish Q# 850 / Submitted 10/13/2000

It depends on the defect. Mineral streaks and sapwood will ``even`` out and become less noticeable. However, rough or open grain will become exagerated. Any defect associated with surface texture, will become more noticeable when the stain is wiped. In these cases, its best to try and not wipe the stain.<br /><br />Jeff

Hi. I usually deal with Ang, but I figured this was a prefinished plywood question and you might be the one to ask. What exact chemical name is the finish on the Prefinished plywood. I have a customer using a silk screen on it and I need to come up with an adhesion promoter to make the ink stick to the finish. I am the finish technician for atlantic, but i dont deal much with the prefinished plywoods. thanks.

Prefinished Plywood Q# 849 / Submitted 7/9/2003

I finally got to talk with the supplier and they suggest mechanical abarasion (scuff sanding) to provide mechanical adhesion. This could be done with gray scotchbrite. Any adhesion promoter would have to be tested. A standard adhesion test isn't all that hard to perform and I can provide you details if necessary. <br /><br />Keep in mind that these coatings are formulated to provide the maximum hardness and durability and as such are very difficult to adhere things to. <br /><br />JJ

Jeff,<br /><br /><br />We are having an issue with quarter sawn European Beech Veneer panels that were recently installed on our project. <br /><br /><br />A 5 degree clear cab acrylic laquer was applied to give the panels a dull finish. When we attempt to clean the panels using product such as Pledge the product and rubbing 'shines' the panels.<br /><br /><br />Do you have any suggestions as to how to clean these panels or any recommended cleaning products?<br /><br /><br />Thanks

Cleaning veneer panels to avoid shining the surface Q# 848 / Submitted 4/10/2003

The silicone and the wax is leaving a shiny residue behind that are increasing the gloss. The only thing you should use to clean is a cleaner that contains neither. Also, refrain from burnishing the surface too hard with the cleaning rag. <br /><br />I'd suggest you try and remove the Pledge with some mineral spirits and a terry cloth towel. This may or may not restore the dull appearance, as 5 degree is really low and the surface of the finish may hold onto the silicone and wax. The only thing then is to try an restore the low lsuter by rubbing with maroon scotchbrite, but since this creates sheen differently than the original finish, test in an area first. <br /><br />Cleaning in the future can be done with a slightly damp rag and some soap like Dawn.<br /><br />JJ

What paint (Latex or oil) or both can be used to go over columbia's uv filled wood. What is the correct process? What can not be used.

finishes over columbia's uv products Q# 847 / Submitted 1/8/2003

You can use either paint, but we suggest the following.<br /><br />1. Sand well with 240 g and clean all residue with a damp cloth <br /><br />2. Apply an alcohol (shellac) base white primer such as Zinsser Bin or Kilz to the surface and allow to dry thoroughly. <br /><br />3. Sand with 320 grit and apply your paint. <br /><br /><br /><br />JJ

I made a hard maple countertop for my kitchen about 3 years ago. I have noticed that in two places, their has been slight separation of the glue joint, especially where it has been exposed to electric coffee pot and over dishwasher. Glue joint was bisquited every 9" or so, and Titebond glue was used. It was clamped and cured. Both top and bottom were coated with numerous coats of marine varnish. I used 3/4" hard maple, with varying widths, building the top with flat grain up, (not butcherblock look.)<br /><br /><br />My attempt at repairing and trying to blend this small crack in have been poor. I used a titebond glue and sanding wood dust as a filler, resanded, and revarnished. The crack now looks worse than before, as it has turned somewhat dark. Do you have any recommendations at to the best way to address this small separation issue, as the crack is very small, but trying to blend it in to original unstained maple look is very difficult.<br /><br /><br />Thank you for any suggestions. <br /><br />

Repairing glue joint Q# 846 / Submitted 11/10/2002

At this point you need to touch up the area by blocking out the darker color. When faced with the repair you indicated, I would have used Minwax wood rebuilder, which is totally non-shrinking, and is a putty or taupe color when dry. I'd dig out a groove where the separation was, and apply the Minwax to the groove. Tape on either side so you don't get the polyester all over the place. When it's dry, sand level, and then use some artists acrylic colors to paint in the wood color. <br /><br />It will be the most invisible repair if you strip the finish and get the repair/coloring as close to the wood as possible, then apply your varnish. But I have to warn you, any repair on natural maple will probably be visible, no matter how good you are. <br /><br />PS - Not to insult you, but there's a reason commercial maple countertops are quartered side up -- the wood movement across the top is much less and it's more stable. <br /><br />JJ

Curt Alt (Harwood, Plywood, Veneer Assoc) suggested I contact you. A veneer hope chest was shipped to us that has been in our family over 150 years. It received some damage in the nature of a gouge from a rope that was used to secure it. Below the gouge the veneer has pushed out from the pressure created. I am hoping it can be repaired. <br /><br />Could you suggest who to look for that could repair it, without losing it's historic value? I live in Oceanside, CA (around 30 miles north of San Diego). Thank you.

repairing damage to veneer Q# 845 / Submitted 3/20/2003

The best place to start in any area in the search for a compentant restorer is by calling your local art museum. Try San Diego since it's closest. <br /><br />Jeff

I have just had Columbia hardwood floors installed in my new home, and need to stain the staircase and some moldings to match the cocoa floors. Can you suggest a stain to match?

STAIN Q# 844 / Submitted 12/31/2002

I'm sorry for the delayed response, but if you call the flooring products division at 1-800-654-8796, they can provide assistance in matching the color for you. <br /><br />Jeff

I have a customer who is seeing fairly common 1-/2" to 2" bubbles in the Cherry face veneer when he is using a water based stain. They are getting the bubbles before the top coat is applied.<br /><br /><br />The wood is from CFP's LeVesque plant.<br /><br /><br />Bill Hansen<br /><br />Aetna Plywood, Inc.<br /><br />Rockford, IL

Bubbling in Cherry veneer when water based finish is used Q# 843 / Submitted 8/21/2000

I'd like to know if they are random or in specific areas like gum deposits or near splice lines. <br />I'd also like to know if the face veneer is actually separating from the core. Also the core construction would need to be known.<br /><br />This obviously shouldn't happen. The glue used in construction should be impervious to water and solvents used in finishes. <br /><br />Can you get me samples???<br /><br />Jeff Jewitt<br />c/o J B Jewitt Co<br />1935 W 96th St Unit Q<br />Cleveland Ohio 44102<br /><br /><br />Jeff

I have installed knotty cedar half-logs in my basement and am looking for the best way to finish them. I am looking for a product that combines stain and finish in one for ease of application and need the color to be ipswich pine.

Interior cedar logs Q# 842 / Submitted 3/10/2003

I would suggest you mix one part Minwax Ipswitch Pine into 3-4 parts Waterlox Original Finish/Sealer and apply that as a stain/sealer/finish. You can apply as many coats as you wish to build to the desired color and sheen. Once you get the right color, but need more sheen, use the finish with no stain. If you want a lower luster you can switch to the Waterlox Satin. <br /><br />Jeff

to keep it clear.<br /><br /><br /><br />

refinish alder wood Q# 841 / Submitted 12/15/2002

Could you provide a few more details? <br /><br />Jeff

How do you replace a plank in laminate plank flooring after installation?

repairs on laminate plank flooring Q# 840 / Submitted 8/2/2000

You'll have to cut it out using chisels and a dovetail saw. It's not an easy job, and I really don't know any other way to do it.<br /><br />Jeff

I used a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and H2O to dye stain (TransFast) a table and was wondering what type of poly to finish with to prevent "picking up" the dye? Solvent or H2O based? I am applying by hand.

Solvent or water based poly on 50/50 tinted surface? Q# 839 / Submitted 11/4/2002

Using an oil base poly or varnish works best and will pick up the least amount of color. Brushing is better than wiping if you apply a solvent based product.<br /><br />Jeff

Jeff, I am doing my kitchen cabinets over in natural cherry and have a couple questions on the finish. The cabinets will be refaced with cherry veneer, and I am making new solid cherry frame and panel cabinet doors and drawers. My desired finish is as light as possible, with the warmth of a tung oil finish. I have already installed a cherry wainscotting which I finished with tung oil. I was very happy with this finish but do not think it will be durable enough on the cabinets. Your book "Hand Applied finishes" mintions "Waterlox Waterworks II" as a finish with the warmth of the oilbased finishes without the yellowing of poly. Would this be a good finish by itself or would you apply this over a tung oil? I tryed applying some "minwax polycrylic" over tung oil on a piece of baseboard and this seemed to go well. Would you recommend this? Any other suggestions would be welcommed. Regards, Mike Elmore

Hand Applied Cherry Finish Q# 838 / Submitted 8/1/2000

You're right, tung oil will not be durable. Waterworks II was discontinued, but an alternative would be either a soya based alkyd varnish if you like working with oil finishes, or a water based acrylic or urethane. Both of these products are optically neutral and will not yellow. The Minwax is a combination of the two that should work fine. An example of a soya based alkyd varnish is McCloskeys Heirloom, Low VOC version.<br /><br />Putting oil finishes under some water base finishes may not be a good idea though. A very practical alternative is a very light (1 lb cut) dewaxed super blonde or dewaxed pale shellac. This will eliminate possible imcompatibilty problems. The shellac acts similar to the oil, putting some warmth and depth into the wood.<br /><br />Jeff

1. I am considering building a combination entertainment center and bookshelves unit. The unit will be 9 ft. tall and 9 ft. wide . I prefer walnut to match the kitchen cabinets that we have. What is the best way to finish the walunt entertainment/bookcase unit? I do not care for the gloss finish, perhaps a satin finish.<br /><br /><br />2. The existing kitchen cabinets are heavily soiled and exhibiting much surface wear. There are a few veneer chips missing but the overall surface condition is good except for the wear and the dirt. What is the best technique to clean and refinish these walnut veneer cabinets?

walnut veneer plywood. Q# 837 / Submitted 9/7/2002

1. Whar makes a finish "better" than another depends on a lot of factors. Your skill level, yellowing, where you can finish, if flammability is a concern are factors. Usually though when folks ask what is the best way to finish a particlular wood, they are speaking of durability and best looking.<br /><br />A bookcase needs scracth protection from the books that are constantly slid over them. I don't think for durability and good looks, you can beat an oil based polyurethane. You can get brushing or wipe-on versions, liquids or gels. You may want to try here for an article I have on the subject<br /><br />http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/ChoosingFinish.htm<br /><br />2. To clean finished items such as kitchewn cabinets you should use cleaners that remove both oils and fats, as well as water-soluble grime like food splashes. You can use mineral spirits, followed by some warm water with a splash of Dawn detergent. Once again, try here<br /><br />http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/savingfinish.htm<br /><br /><br />Jeff

I have been asked to strip down and refinish old, Church seats which are pitch pine. I would be grateful for any advice on what to use, and if it is necessary to seal the wood before finishing. Many thanks from the Emerald Isle!!

Finishing Pitch Pine Q# 836 / Submitted 7/31/2000

Even very old pine should be sealed with shellac or a proprietary knot sealer, usually vinyl based, before putting a finish on. Strip the finish off and follow the manufacturers recommendations for neutralizing or cleaning the stripper residue. Seal the wood with a two pound cut dewaxed shellac, if you're putting down varnish or polyurethane. Use a vinyl sealer if you use a catalyzed lacquer or lacquer.<br /><br />Jeff

<br /><br />I have just finished bleaching a walnut table with a two-part bleach. I now wish to put on a stain that will darken the dark growth rings and have the lighter areas only slightly darken so that there is a greater contrast between the dark and lighter growth rings. I am wondering which stain you it suggests. Thank you. Lloyd.<br /><br /><br /> <br /><br />

wood stain Q# 835 / Submitted 8/6/2002

Walnut Bartley gel stain contains just a hair of pigment that will make the pores darker without affecting the flat grain in-between. Plus, the gel formulation makes the product grab to the pore structure better.<br /><br />JJeff

I know you should use water based stain if you plan on using the same type finish. My question is, if I spray on shellac after an oil stain can I use water based finish? In Jeff's book and video he states if you plan on using water based stain and filling the pores in oak, put on filler first. I have also read articles by others that say put on stain and then filler, what is the difference?

Staining Q# 834 / Submitted 6/3/2002

You can safely apply most of the current water base finishes over a fully cured oil. As long as the stain dries, it should be fine, but some manufacturers may have different methods for coating an oil base. Certainly applying dewaxed shellac helps, and make sure that's dry as well. <br /><br />When you apply the filler depends mostly on what filler you use. I apply water base fillers directly to the wood. This includes the pigemented chalk and silex based fillers as well as the pure acrylic fillers sold as clear or tinted.<br /><br />Oil based fillers can also be applied directly to the wood, or over a stained and sealed surface which makes them easier to apply and wipe off. This gives the finisher a lot of control over the coloring process. This is the method I use. <br /><br />Jeff

I have an antique night table that sat abandoned in an old house for about 50 years. Needless to say the original finish is gone, and the wood has turned gray. I would like to preserve it, having in mind the wood is very fragile. Ideally I would like to replace the gray color with a more natural wood tone, but I am afraid of destroying the table if I bleach it.<br /><br /><br />Any advice you may have will greatly be appreciated!

Finishing Antique Night Table Q# 833 / Submitted 8/2/2002

A gray color can be mis-leading. Try wiping it with mineral spirits first and see what the color is. Sometimes just a light scrub or sanding with the solvent and gray abrasive pads (like Scotchbrite) will restore the color.<br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br /><br /> I am hitting a wall with black walnut. The subject is a tv cabinet. The sides are solid and they had to be glued together with three pieces. Do you have any advise on products or procedures to blend them together and also keep the natural beauty of the wood without adding a stain? Thank You Jim Harman<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

Black Walnut Finishing Q# 832 / Submitted 12/21/2001

That's a very tough assignment. The two things I would do are:<br /><br />One: Avoid oils and oil based finishes. These really ``wet`` out the grain and will exaggerate differences in the wood. A shellac, lacquer or water based will be better. I'd spray it on. <br /><br />Two: You can selectively tone up the lighter areas with a spray gun. I use a detailing gun with a small tip, 1.0 mm or less. First, spray a sealer coat of whatever finish you'll be using or the sealer for that finish. This will give you an idea of which areas need to be toned up and which color to use. Use a dye stain mixed in with a little of the finish and selectively tone in the light areas to the dark ones. <br /><br />Three: You'll have to talk the customer into warming up the overall color for this. This means you're making the walnut a little oranger, which is probably a good thing if you're using kiln dried walnut which is a bit grayish in color anyway. <br /><br />Use a ``natural`` stain first, which is typically a yellowy/orange or amber dilute dye stain. This makes all the wood a similar undertone. If it looks OK, leave it. If not you can tone up selectively a bit. <br /><br /><br />One trick I use all the time for this problem is to tone all four edges just a tad darker with a toner. Not really dark, just a bit. Use a medium brown dye that's close to the natural color of the wood. This will form a visual ring around all four edges, which tricks the eye into seeing the whole side as uniform. This operates on the simple principle that our psychological processing of visual images prefers symmetry. In other words, we ``want`` to see uniformity. <br /><br />Jeff

What is the finish used on Columbia's Europly prefinished panels and which finishes are compatible to finish sanded edges? Thanks very much.

Finish for Prefinished Europly Panels Q# 831 / Submitted 5/31/2002

The finish is a UV-cured acrylic. For finishing the edges, I'd recommend a water-white conversion varnish for similar durability. A CAB acrylic over a vinyl sealer will work, as will a waterborne acrylic if you wish to work with water. <br /><br />Jeff

I am currently making some Craftsman furniture (quartersawn white oak) for our home & can't seem to get close on the color. If you have access to the current Stickley catalog (pg. 122), I'm trying to replicate their "Centennial" finish color. Any help with the right product(s) & procedures would be greatly appreciated.<br /><br />Thanks,<br /><br />David Brown

Finish ? Q# 830 / Submitted 10/31/2002

Stickley uses a golden/brownish colored water soluble dye on the oak sanded to 180 with a RO sander, then hand sanded with 180 again. They apply a vinyl lacquer sanding sealer, scuff the surface with maroon synthetic steel wool, then apply an oil glaze. It may be asphaltum or Gilsonite based, but they won't elaborate. Try either a burnt umber or van dyke brown glaze and see. You tweak the final color by adjusting either the color of the dye of the color of the glaze. Then they seal again, sand, and then apply several coats of a satin nitrocellulose lacquer.<br /><br />Jeff

Want to know moisture level in hardwood?<br /><br />We are in Rapid City South Dakota.<br /><br />We are having a problem with a milky white finish and not <br /><br />holding.It is spoty.<br /><br />The finish is Magn-Lac made by Campbells.<br /><br />The maker requires 7%or less.<br /><br />This is suppose to be the one of the top of the line<br /><br />Pre cad lacs.<br /><br />We sell the upper line of custom cabinets.<br /><br />Quality standards and design is are selling point.<br /><br />We guaranty quality.So i need your advise.<br /><br />thanks.

milky finish Q# 829 / Submitted 7/8/2002

You are having a common problem with this finish, which is basically a slightly modified nitrocellulose lacquer. <br /><br />"Milky white" indicates blushing, which is caused by too fast a thinner being used in humid applications. You should add retarder or use a slower thinner, both of which you can get from M L Campbell.<br /><br />Jeff

I have the Rutledge Engineer flooring. Can you tell me what Screening is? What is the process for doing this? How many times can this be done to the floor?

Screening Q# 828 / Submitted 10/3/2001

Screening a floor is typically done with a rotary floor sander equipped with an abrasive ``screen`` which puts scratches in the finish so a finish put over it adheres better. Its done both when refinishing an old floor and finishing new floors. It's only done in your case when putting more finish on for repairs or other reasons. Here's a link that will help.<br /><br />http://www.todayshomeowner.com/repair/19990915_feature2.html<br /><br /><br />Jeff Jewitt

We have been experimenting on some cherry plywood panels to get the color right. The samples blothced. I then tried using Pratt and Lambert's 338 varnish prior to staining. We are using an oil wiping stain. The stain sits on the varnish and wipes right off. How do I get the stain to adhere. Should I have thinned the varnish.<br /><br /><br /><br />

Cherry Color Control Q# 827 / Submitted 5/27/2002

The technique of putting a finish on wood prior to staining is called washcoating. Typically the products used are thinned, fast-drying finishes like shellac or sanding sealer. Other products include glue-size, consumer type ``stain-controllers`` and woodstabilizers like Nelsonite. All four have the potential to solve your problem if used correctly.<br /><br />The problem with your varnish is that it sealed the wood surface too ``well``. The trick with washcoating and other products is to get the product thin enough to allow the stain to penetrate or bite the wood surface so it stains and adheres, but still prevent splotching. <br /><br />I would try a 1 or 1/2 pound cut shellac for your use because it's easily avaialable. We've seen excellent results as well with Glu-size which is avaialable from Franklin and Custom Pak adhesives. Both glue size and wash coats need to be sanded after complete drying and before stain application, while the Nelsonite wood stabilizer does not. Nelsonite will also keep the plywood more stable and prevents warping of solids like drawer fronts and sides during production. Information on Nelsonite can be found by calling them at 616-456-7098. Five gallons is the minimum order folks.<br /><br />JJ

Just wanted to say thank you for help.<br /><br /> Vince

Oak veneer glueing Q# 826 / Submitted 12/7/2001

Glad to help out. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br /><br />Love your book "Great Wood Finishes". Can you tell me some specifics for the dye and glaze in your "Colonial Cherry" example? The book says "amber" color dye but it appears to be something like TransTint "Golden Brown" dye mixed at the standard 2 oz per 1/2 gallon water ratio? Also, I'm new to glazing so don't know what type Vandyke Brown or Burnt Sienna glaze product to use? Can you recommend an oil based premixed glaze? I am applying this to birch to get a rich medium cherry color.<br /><br /><br />Bill

Products used in Q# 825 / Submitted 10/20/2002

For that table I used Honey Amber mixed at the ratio of 1 oz to 2 quarts. I sealed, then used Van Dyke Brown glaze which leaves a golden-brown color on most woods like birch. I brought the red up with a toner made from lacquer and TransTint Reddish Brown. <br /><br />Lacking spray equipment, you may want to get the red undertone on the birch with a reddish brown/honey amber mix for the first stain. <br /><br />JJ

I am currently on my fourth coat of oil based polyurethane-I am finishing an oak plywood window seat that is wrapped in solid oak trim. I have sanded and used the plastic steel wool pads between coats. I get a nice smooth base, but with every new coat, I get a few small bumps, bubbles and fibers no matter what I do. How do I get a smooth glass finish? Should I thin some poly and wipe the last coat? Should I use 0000 steel wool and polish with rubbing compound? I am not sure what to do. <br /><br /><br />I would greatly apreciate your opinion and guidance. Thank you!<br /><br /><br />Jim

Polyurethane Finish Q# 824 / Submitted 9/13/2001

Either will give you a smooth finish. The bubbles and bumps are usually taken care of if you thin the last coat and wipe it, brushing also works. The problem is due to particles floating around in the air and landing in the finish while it's sticky.<br /><br />You will probably get the best finish if you lighly sand off the bumps on the last coat with 600 grit sandpaper, then steel wool it with 0000.<br /><br />Jeff

Sorry about not giving enough info on glueing oak veneer. I was wondering can I glue oak veneer to melamine. If so what kind of glue should I use?<br /><br /><br /> Vince

Glueing of oak veneer Q# 823 / Submitted 12/6/2001

A melamine glue should do it. These are specifically designed for bonding wood to melamine. Here's the product<br /><br />http://www.titebond.com/default.asp<br /><br />If you are simply bonding veneer to edgeband the exposed particleboard of melamine panels, the Titebond II waterproof should do it. <br /><br />Jeff

I have an old dresser with chipped and scratched veneer. I want to paint it to make it look better. Should I use latex, oil based, enamal, or what? Also should I use wood putty to fill the cracks and scratches before painting? Thanks,Larry

Painting Veneer Q# 822 / Submitted 5/13/2002

Use latex wood filler or putty on all the dings and scratches and gouges. Sand with 150. Then use a good brand of oil based primer, followed by an oil alkyd in your choice of color and sheen. Do not use latex on furniture. If you prefer to use waterbased products you can use an acrylic waterborne paint such as ProClassic 200 by Sherwin Williams. Use the primer recommended by Sherwin Williams for the PrClassic if you go that route.<br /><br />Jeff

I am stripping an antique rocker, the wood is a mystery, but the grain looks like maple. Under the paint and finish is the ubiquitous aniline red dye. My customer wants the wood very light. I have never been successful removing the dye on other pieces, am I missing a secret ingredient, which only enterprizing furniture restorers know about? Sanding a rocking chair by hand is not an option, oxalic acid is a possibility, but I would like to know if there is another way to overcome this delima, before I start the bleaching process. Thanks, Beth

Aniline Dye Under Antique Rocker Paint and Finish Q# 821 / Submitted 6/30/2002

The best way to remove a red organic dye is with chlorine. I use shock treatment, which is avaialable from swimming pool supply houses. Look for the ingredient ``calcium hypochlorite`` on the label. Mix several tablespoons in a pint of very hot water, let cool, then apply liberally to the wood. Make sure the wood is clean and sanded before applying. <br /><br />Jeff

In Ang's book he states that roughness of any kind is not acceptable in high grade panels unless it can be sanded out or overcome with proper finishing techniques. My question is what if any techniques can be used to overcome roughness created by windshake?

windshake Q# 820 / Submitted 6/1/2001


Jeff,<br /><br />I have been finishing a piece or two a year. Time and quality of finish are my main concerns. I feel hand application takes too long and I end up rushing things a little. I am very picky about my results and would like a professional finish and would think sprayed lacquer may give better results than my typical hand applied water based poly. Renting equipment is about $50/hours so I figure I could buy a system for $400 or so and be able to spend less time and acheive more professional results.<br /><br /><br />For my relatively small amount of use and desire for highest quality finish, do you recommend buying an HVLP system or stick to hand application? If staying with hand applied do you recommend something other than polyurethane for large furniture items like tables and chests.<br /><br /><br />Thanks,<br /><br />Brad

Should I buy HVLP or stick to hand application Q# 819 / Submitted 10/16/2002

Spraying will give you superior results and speed of finishing. Spraying also allows for toning and shading, two techniques which open up an entirely new world of finishing possibilities. Obviously the overspray is a concern, so you'll have to finish in a well-ventilated area, and if you use flammables such as lacquer, I would strongly advise you to do it outdoors, in front of an open garage door, or in a well-designed exhaust booth. You can safely apply many waterbase finishing materials with results similar to solvent lacquer, and with HVLP, you limit the overspray as well. <br /><br />Assuming you have a compressor, your stated budget will allow for the purchase of a well-designed HVLP conversion gun, and look into the LVLP guns which run off smaller compressors. Your budget will allow only a marginally good HVLP turbine driven rig. To get anything decent in this design, expect to pay 800-1000.00.<br /><br />JJ

My wife's old bedroom set is solid maple with oak side drawers. I believe that at one point it had a varnish finish on it. My father-in-law says that at one point he used varnish remover on it, and then applied boiled linseed oil to it. There appears to be a finish still present. It has been suggested that I strip what ever finish is still present and then apply several coats of Watco danish oil.<br />We thought that to protect the top of the dresser we would place a clear protective sheet of either glass of plastic on top. What suggestions do you have for us in restoring this set and preserving it's natural beauty? I loved your "Hand Applied Finishes" Book. Very well written. Thank you for the help. Bill<br /><br />

Refinising 100 Year Old Virginia Maple Bedroom Set Q# 818 / Submitted 4/11/2002

The Danish oil is fine, but as you indicate, putting glass over it will diminish the look and feel of natural wood. I hate glass on wood, except for perhaps a desk or conference table. <br /><br />I'd suggest wiping several coats of a wiping Polyurethane over the fully cured Danish oil you wipe on the rest of the piece. Apply only one coat of the D/O to the top. Then after 3-5 days cure time, sand the danish oil top lightly with 400, then apply several coats of a wipe on poly, satin preferred. As long as you do not apply too many coats, the wood will retain a natural look, but will be more durable. <br /><br />You can apply poly to the sides and drawer fronts if you wish to match. Or you can just continue with the D/O on the sides and drawer fronts<br /><br />One note: DO NOT apply any oil or poly to the insides of the dresser or the drawer insides or outside of the drawer sides. Apply it to the front only. Oil applied on inside surfaces will transfer the smell to your clothes, even after many months. <br /><br />JJ

I read your info on chemically coloring woods, and am interested in trying the nitric acid method on my pine stuff. Any major pitfalls I should look out for? I'm determined to find the "perfect, non splotchy, pine finish and this sounds like a good shot at it. Also, are there any topcoat issues with the acid treatment?

Chemical Dying Pine Q# 817 / Submitted 6/30/2002

I would be hesitant to recommend acid on large production or production finishing. The acid really dives into the wood and is hard to completely neutralize. Some stays inside the wood and under certain circumstances may come to the surface and cause a problem. However, it has never caused a problem with me, though I must say I have primarily used it for matching new wood to old. (in restoration work). I would work with nothing stronger than a 20% solution, and make sure you heat it after applying to develop the color. I would stay away from complex finishing schedules involving multiple color applications, and be sure to completely neutralize the acid with sodium carbonate or ammonia. Shellac, nitrocellulose lacquers and most oil finishes should be OK. I'd definitely stay away from or completely test a waterborne system. <br /><br />JJ

I have a house full of awful hollow doors. I thought that painting the panels in some faux manner might look quite nice and save me from having to replace them. Are there any publications that you know of that would show this technique or proceedure? Is there such a thing as a stencil to achieve this affect? I realize it must include shadows and all, but some of the painting techniques these days are quite stunning. Thanks Steve Dore

Painting Raised Panels on Flat Doors Q# 816 / Submitted 1/8/2001

There's quite a few books on this subject. I think a trip to the library would yield a wealth of techniques. But here's a few of my favorites.<br /><br />1. The Complete Book of Decorative Paint Techniques by Annie Sloan and Kate Gwynn<br /><br />2. Recipes for Surfaces by Mindy Drucker and Pierre Finkelstein<br /><br />3. The New Paint Magic by Jocasta Innes (Heartily recommended)<br /><br />Jeff

I am contemplateing using some prefinished UV panels to make cabinets for our Yachts. How does one touch up UV finishes, scratches, dents, etc?

Touch up on UV Prefinished Plywood Q# 815 / Submitted 5/18/2001

As a reactive coating, the UV finished panels do not touch up as easily as single component nitrocellulose lacquers. There is no ``burn-in`` of new to old finish. <br />However, most repair folks who run into catalyzed and urethanes, can do a manageable job. <br /><br />Mohawks Pre-cat aerosols as well as the Konig line of touch up products will work pretty well. Use the product thats recommended for catalyzed varnish, and make sure it is a non-yellowing resin (like acrylic) so it ages the same as the original coating.<br /><br />http://www.cdgkonig.com/<br /><br />http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/<br /><br /><br />Jeff Jewitt

I have an old rocking chair which has an excess of linseed oil on it. Now it appears gummy and tacky. How can it be removed and what would be the best finish to apply?

Linseed Oil Buildup Removal Q# 814 / Submitted 9/3/2001

You can remove the partially cured linssed oil with naphtha and steel wool. You'd be much better off with a harder finish like shellac or varnish. Chances are pretty good the original was shellac, so that's what I would apply. <br /><br />Jeff

I would like to know if I can glue oak veneer to the ends of a bathroom vanity, and if so with what kind of glue?Thank you Vince

Glueing of oak veneer Q# 813 / Submitted 12/4/2001

You can glue veneer to just about anything, but the choice of glue is important. What type of surface are you glueing to? Please describe in more detail. Is it wood, particleboard, formica, cultured marble?<br /><br />Jeff

Jeff,<br /><br /><br />I need some advice because I cannot find any info on finishing alder.<br /><br /> I recently finished an armoir that was made of solid alder and alder vaneers. I wanted it to look like a light, warm cherry. I used General Finishes water based "Salem Maple" (medium brown) stain. I top coated with 4 coats General Finish water based Satin polyurethane. The resulting color was a little dark and a little too brown (not warm) and a lacked depth.<br /><br /> Actually it looked exactly like the piece of cherry in the lower right of the four cherry pics on page 86 of your "Great Wood Finishes" book. What I desired was the warm, even finish in the picture left of it.<br /><br /> From reading your book and looking at the pictures I figure I am better off using a dye stain and plan to try TransTint or TransFast alchohol dyes in "Medium Brown". <br /><br /> Also, I'm unsure about top-coats. My next project is an alder kitchen table and chairs so I need something protective. Reading all the possiblities has only confused me as to what is best for me. I'm leaning toward Shellac or brushing lacquer as I could rub out the table top. Maybe the poly is best because of hardness.<br /><br /> What do you recommend for the desired color of the pic on p86 and for a hand applied top-coat for a kitchen table and chairs.<br /><br /><br />Thank you for your response,<br /><br />Brad<br /><br /><br />I'

Finishing Alder to look like cherry Q# 812 / Submitted 10/16/2002

I'd recommend that you wash-coat prior to application of TransTint Reddish Brown on the alder. The dye should be mixed with water in the proper ratio to achieve the color/intensity you want and a washcoat should be applied prior to the dye. I'd use an waterbase acrylic washcoat or shellac, but test on samples first. <br /><br />I'd go with an oil poly or varnish over the dye, as it will not lift it (dyes contain no binder). Waterlox, McCloskey, or most alkyd varnishes should do just fine.<br /><br />JJ

At what percent humidity should finished cabinets, molding etc. be stored at? For example, we are working on a few jobs in a building with several floors. We have installed the cabinets and trim and the weather has been extremely humid lately. Everyone is worried about the cabinets and trim shrinking, cracking etc. once it cools down again or once the central air units are turned on.

Humidity Q# 811 / Submitted 6/25/2002

If the cabinets and trim have been pre-finished before installation, you have little to worry about. Properly done, a finish retards the extreme moisture intake that would occur in humidity swings. A hot and humid week isn't ideal for storage, but I don't see major problems in the long run. Prolonged storage (2 weeks plus) would be a concern. <br /><br />JJ

Hi Jeff- I'm following up on my last E-mail from 11-14-01 with a little more information from my customer with regards to their stain process. I'm scheduled to meet with them on 11-21-01 and I'm hoping to take your input along. The manufacturer of the stain is AMT(Alternative Material Technologies) which is providing a solvent based stain. Their mill sands the plywood at 120 and a finish sand of 220. They spray the stain on and wipe off the excess, apply a sealer and then sand the sealer at 220. They then apply a laquer top coat. This is all the information they provided and I hope it is enough. We could possibly call you from the customer if you let me know what other information you might need. Thank you Joe

Green Veneers Q# 810 / Submitted 11/20/2001

It all depends on at what point the color change is occurring. I'd say the best point to start would be with the finish supplier. Tell them they are getting a possible tannate reaction, and either put a tannin block on the bare wood or put an additive in the finish. <br /><br />In some cases a chelating compound can be added to the lacquer. Either way, this is a finish supplier problem. It's par for the course when dealing with oaks. <br />Jeff

I had a finish adhesion problem with the approx. 2,000 sq. ft. of Southern Yellow Pine floors in our house and I am redoing them with a water-based urethane. Anyway, I would like to use a water-based dye this time rather than a pigment-based stain. I have used dyes on furniture but I am unsure how to apply it to a very large area without it looking splotchy or segmented. Also, since the floor has previously had oil-based stain and an oil-based urethane varnish, will I still have to wet it and sand it before the dye in order to minimize the grain raising? And last, I would like to achieve a 200-year old pumpkin pine color. What are your recommendations for which colors of dye to use? I've found the colors in brochures are generally not very similar to the real thing. Thanks for your help.

Aniline Dye Application Technique and Color Choice Q# 809 / Submitted 4/4/2002

You'll still experience grain raising when re-finishing, assuming you sand down past the surface layer that's been sealed and finished, thus exposing new wood.<br /><br /><br />Dyes will dry rapidly, and I'd suggest doing the staining as a two man operation. Have one person apply the dye, then another come back behind and feather it in. The applicator person can use a synthetic lambs wool applicator and the feather person can use the synyhetic mitts they sell for car washing in the wiping operation. If it's a one-person job, apply the dye and feather it in the same operation. It's best that you not get the applicator dripping wet when it's a one-person job. The best advice I can give you is as follows.<br /><br />1. Add a retarder like propylene glycol to the stain to slow it down. One ounce PG/qt is good. <br /><br />2. Work fast, and in a room that is not too hot and the windows are closed to avoid air blowing across the stain as you apply it. Once you've stained you can open up the window to air out the room. Start in one corner and work the whole floor, DON'T STOP. <br /><br />3. Dye -stained floors have the ability to be touched up if necessary before the topcoat is applied. <br /><br />4. I'd also use a lightfast dye. Ask the manufacturer if its a ``metallized`` dye. This type has the best lightfastness. <br /> <br /><br />Jeff

Is a danish oil finish alone durable enough for the finish on a dining table? I'm planning to make a dining table out of cherry (Shaker style) and am wondering what type of finish would be the best? Thanks, Kelly Gilmer

Dining Table Finish Q# 808 / Submitted 1/8/2001

Danish oil does not build up to a hard durable finish that will resist wear and tear. Anything hot placed upon it, even with trivets and pads will still mark the finish. It's really not the fault of the finish, it's just that Danish oils can't be built up as a discrete layer of protection between the wood and potential sources of damage.<br /><br />Of course, if you ``baby`` the piece and treat it with care, a Danish Oil finish provides an attractive, low-luster, natural finish that's easily re-newed by re-oiling it every couple of years. <br /><br />By the way, most of the Scandinavian furniture thats been sold over the years as ``oiled`` teak is really a low luster catalyzed varnish or lacquer that's not built up on the wood to a significant film. You can achieve the same effect and get more protection than Danish oil by using 3-4 coats of a highly thinned varnish (thinned 50% with thinner). When the last coat has dried, rub the surface with 0000 steel wool to reduce the sheen. <br /><br />Jeff

I have 30 year old knotty tongue and groove paneling/planking in my basement. It has the look of cedar to it, but everyone tells me that's not possible and it must be pine. It is reddish in color all the way through the wood. It doesn't appear to have any finish or stain on it, and the red color doesn't resemble pine to me. Plus, the color is completely even, both front and back. When you cut the wood, it looks the same color to the center. Can pine age to become a reddish color? Can stain be applied that perfectly? And, is there a definitive test to determine if this wood is cedar or pine once and for all? Thanks!

Cedar or Pine? Q# 807 / Submitted 8/31/2001

By just looking at it no. A definitive test to distinguish between pines and cedars is done by looking at an end-grain sample under a microscope or 10x hand lens. Pines will have large resin canals (open round vessels) while cedars will not. You could have red pine which is fairly dark. <br /><br />You could try sanding or cutting it again and smelling - cedar has a pretty distinctive smell as opposed to the pitch/turpentine-like odor of pine. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff, Just wondering if you had received some samples from the Chatham office? I believe they were 1/2" and contained a very heavy "blotchy" appearance. The appearance was almost too symmetrical to be "normal" resinous areas within the Cherry itself, but I thought that I should seek your opinion anyway. Please let me know what you think. The samples should have arrived some time ago, let me know if you have not received and I will try to come up with some duplicates.<br /><br /><br />Thanks.<br /><br />Gary

blotchy cherry Q# 806 / Submitted 5/14/2001

Yes I got them and I left a message at your office to call me. Both Ang and I went over the samples thoroughly.<br /><br /><br />Jeff

With concerns for emissions, the industry is moving to water based finishes. How can we make the finish adhere to the glue lines?

Maple Q# 805 / Submitted 10/23/2000

Water base finishes can indeed suffer from adhesion issues, but I'm not aware of a problem adhereing to glue lines. Regardless, if there are adhesion issues, or a question regarding adhesion, a sealer coat of dewaxed shellac won't solve any problem areas.

I have a butcher block that had parafin wax finish and beveled edges; it was damaged in a recent move and the top was sanded and now there are no beveled edges or parafin wax finish. The repairer just rubbed mineral oil on the top and thinks this is good enough. I would like it to be restored to the original.<br /><br /><br />How would I go about refinishing with parafin wax for sealing and protecting my butcher block? Also what is the best way to bevel the edges?<br /><br /><br />Thank you, L. Perkins

Parafin Wax Finish Q# 804 / Submitted 9/23/2002

The edges were probably originally beveled with a router. You should be able to re-bevel them with some 120 grit sandpaper wrapped around a hard piece of wood. Go slowly and take your time. <br /><br />After bevelling, scrub the piece with Dawn and water and a scotcbrite pad. Let dry. To apply paraffin wax, melt some canning wax in a double boiler, and brush it on the wood. Let it solidify. Then scrape the excess off using a piece of wood or plastic. A metal spatula works too. <br /><br />JJ

I have designed and will be developing a line of furniture using Europly exclusively. What is the best method to darken the Europly, stain or dye? Specifically, one client wishes to closely match the colour of a table made of Europly to his existing mid-century modern Danish teak chairs. Thank you, Peter

Staining or Dyeing Europly Q# 803 / Submitted 6/20/2002

Whether you use a dye or pigment, they are both stains. Dyes are transparent, go deep into the wood and do not react to pore or surface texture of the wood. Pigment stains will lay on top of the surface of the wood and react to any surface texture or anomolies. As a general rule, dyes are the foundation of a multi-color finish and set the undertone. Pigment stains can be used over dyes to accentuate texture and such. Pigment stains are also lightfast, or at least most are, so if there is a question of lightfastness, go with a pigment. The metallized dye stain available should not be a problem as long as the furniture is used indoors. Ask specifically for metallized dyes. Dyes yield bold vivid transparent colors such as seen on custom figured guitars. Pigments can be used to even out wide tonal variations in wood by masking grain. Which stain is better???? It's hard to answer. You need to set the aesthetic look you want, the parameters of how complicated you want the finishing schedule to be and finally the performance. Most commercial schedules use both. JJ

I plan to stain a curly hard maple table using water-based analine dye. What grit sandpaper do I use before applying the stain to ensure that it takes evenly?

Staining Hard Maple Q# 802 / Submitted 8/30/2001

Dye stains don't react to surface texture (like errant or low grit sanding scratches) the way that pigment stain does, so its really up to you. I typically go to 180 or 240. <br /><br />To get a really super finish though, follow this.<br /><br />1. Sand to 240. Then make a dilute version of your dye by taking one part of the mixed color and add 6 parts water to it. Let it dry.<br /><br />2. Sand again with 240. Don't worry if you sand through some of the color.<br /><br />3. Apply the dye again, this time full-strength. <br /><br />This will give you a very positive stain and will also minimize grain raising when you start to apply the finish.<br /><br />Jeff

Hi Jeff- My name is Joe Canale and I am one of CFP's distibutors in Southern California. We sell A-3 plain sliced red oak on classic core to one of CFP's national accounts. They are currently complaining that their veneers are turning "green" some where in their finishing process. Do you have any suggestions? Thank You Joe Canale<br /><br />

Plain Sliced Red Oak Veneers on Classic Core Turning Green Q# 801 / Submitted 11/14/2001

Color shifts usually indicate a chemical reaction somewhere. The oaks are particularly high in tannin content which is one-half the reactant. Usually the color produced is a black or gray when iron salts from tap water or other components are used. <br /><br />I would need to review the entire finishing process to see if there is a potential culprit. I haven't heard much in the way of a green color problem, but color changes in the oaks is pretty much an ongoing issue. <br /><br />JJ

I am trying to match up to your prefinished hardwood plywood to a non finished product and would like your advice on how to accomplish this. What type of top coat will give me the same or similar finish, both sheen and matching. I Believe you advertise this as clear UV coating. Thanks in advance for your assistance. Lloyd<br /><br />

Prefinished Plywood Q# 800 / Submitted 3/29/2002

If you're matching the clear satin UV finished panel, I recommend a vinyl sealer followed by a satin CAB acrylic lacquer. I recommend Sherwin Williams for both of these products. <br /><br />For maximum durability, use Krystal post cat varnish by ML Campbell. A new product called Magnamax may work, but I haven't used it. Its a water white, pre-catalyzed version of the Krystal. Krystal will give you the most durability and ``look`` of the UV finished panel. <br /><br />Jeff <br />

The UV prefinished plywood I buy from CFP occassionally gets scratched while I move it around my shop. Do you have any suggestions to minimize these problems? How do you suggest I repair my scratched panels?

Scratches in UV Prefinished Plywood Q# 799 / Submitted 10/17/2000

Applying paste wax or other friction reducing products to machining surfaces will help alleviate the problem before it happens. <br /><br />Scratched surfaces can be made less noticeable by painting in the white scratch with some clear lacquer and an artist's brush. Unlike lacquer, which will re-dissolve, the UV finish will still show the scratch in certain lights, so try to orient the panel so its vertical and not horizontal<br /><br />Jeff

Why do I get a muddy look on some cherry panels?

Cherry Q# 798 / Submitted 10/23/2000

It sounds like ``splotching`` or uneven staining. This problem is typically eliminated by washcoating, glu-sizing or proper spray application of stains. The problem is most prevalent with oil based pigment/dye stains like Minwax. You may have to switch to a gel stain. <br /><br />Jeff

What treatment, if any, should be used on a piece of oak to be used as a cutting/bread board?

Oak Q# 797 / Submitted 12/27/2000

There's only a few options, because any film forming finish built up on the surface (like lacquer or poly) will flake off under the constant cutting of the knife on the surface.<br /><br />1. No finish. This is perfectly fine and the way I do it. It's also the easiest. Studies done also indicate bare wood resists mircrobial propagation as opposed to plastic or synthetic cutting boards.<br /><br />2. Mineral oil. This non-toxic, non-drying oil will give the board shine and some luster to show off the grain, and it's easily renewed.<br /><br />3. Shellac. This non-toxic finish, if applied as just several light coats will be attractive and easily renewed when it gets damaged. Just don't build it up as a surface film. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

Mr. Schramm recommended Western Red Cedar (heartwood) for a picnic table top and seats. What finish do you recommend?

Exterior Finish for Western Red Cedar Q# 796 / Submitted 5/4/2001

There's several options. <br /><br />1. To keep the natural color of the wood, a marine varnish (tung oil/phenolic resin) is best. Unfortunately any clear finish will degrade quickly under the sun, so you'll need to apply upwards of 6-8 coats. You resand the table every two years and apply more varnish. <br /><br />2. Sikkens Cetol and Penofin are oil based penetrating finishes which will give you a natural, ``In the wood`` look - but will need to be maintained fairly frequently. Both these companies have websites.<br /><br />3. The US Forest Forest Products Lab recomends a penetrating oil finish with iron oxides. These are stains and will change the color of the wood. There's not a wide palettte to choose from as these oxides are only avaialable as red or yellow. The iron oxide absorbs harmful UV light and dissapates it harmlessly as heat. This protects both the wood and the resins in the stain from breaking down. <br /><br />4. No finish. Western red cedar will fare just fine without a finish but will weather to a silver-gray. Being the type that I am with housework, I'd give this option some serious thought.<br /><br /><br />Jeff Jewitt

Our customer has had finished kitchen cabinet doors made with white maple solid frames with Birdseye Maple plywood insert panels. The two woods finished differently. In putting a clear finish on these the white solids turned a beautiful creamy white and the birdseye seemed to pink.<br /><br /><br />They are going to have to remake the doors to suit the customer's taste. We have spec'd out a very white birdseye veneer. What finish techniques can be used to finish the two woods--plywood and solids--to be the same or similar color?<br /><br /><br />Thanks


The best thing to do would be to equalize the two woods with a two-part (A/B) wood bleach. Work a sample up and show it to the customer. If necssary, a light stain or toner could be applied if the color is too white. <br /><br />It is possible to selectively bleach or tone the light parts to the dark parts, but it requires a lot of extra work.<br /><br />JJ

Can you please tell me what is the best finish to put over light white oak. I want it to look natural and to last a long time. What is the best make to buy? Thank you<br /><br /><br />

Light Oak Strip Hardwood Flooring Unfinished Q# 794 / Submitted 6/12/2002

For a flooring finish, nothing beats urethane for longevity and durability. It's very versatile in a flooring system and there are dozens of good ones out there. Some are actually made using oils, so they may have a hint of color. If you want a true water-white, you may need to look at an acrylic/urethane. Boni-kemi, Absolute Coatings, Target, Fuhr all make good ones. Use the names I listed and do a keyword websearch on Google and you'll get plenty of info. Jeff

Jeff, I have stripped and sanded by grandmother's dining room table. I am at the point of staining and finishing it. I want to do a good job, but need advice. I was planning to use Minwax red mahogany stain and a high gloss finish. I want to make sure it is very smooth and shinny. My first question is about a spot on the table top that I sanded too far down. When staining, how can I assure that this area is covered? The table also is quite squeaky and the legs are loose. How can I get rid of the squeakiness and the rickety sound? Any other information you can give would be helpful.

Dining Room Table Q# 793 / Submitted 10/22/2001

You have some work cut out for you.<br /><br />To repair the loose base, you have to take it apart, clean all the joints and tighten them up with new wood shims if they are loose. Then re-glue. As long as the joint is clean and tight, it will glue just fine. Here's an article on joint repair<br /><br />http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/Furniture%20joints.htm<br /><br />Any finish will telegraph low spots. You should sand the whole top down (assuming it's solid wood) to the same level, or at least feather sand the low area into the rest of the top. If its veneer, I'd just lightly feather sand it as you risk cutting through with aggresive sanding.<br /><br />A quality sanded surface should reflect light evenly when viewed in backlighting. Then go on to the staining. You can apply some mineral spirits before the stain to see if you missed, and areas, like the low spot or sanding scratches, that you didn't get out. <br /><br />Jeff

When applying a water-based acrylic finish to maple veneer, as opposed to maple solids, in a natural finish, the veneer pinks in color. What causes this to occur and is there any way to prevent it? Thanks much. PJA<br /><br />Some polymerized waterbased finishes may contain ingredients that will react with the chemicals naturally present in the wood. Veneer may be more prone to this phenomenon due to minute surface fractures that are a natural occurrence in veneer due to the way it is removed from the log versus the way sawn lumber is produced. Not being a finishing expert, I must say this is mostly speculation based on similar experiences, and I would recommend you pose this question to our finishing expert on the same page of our website. Thank you for the excellent question! Great to hear from you!

Maple Veneer Q# 792 / Submitted 3/27/2002

I'm not entirely sure of the cause. W/B acrylics tend to be optically nuetral and water clear. If it were a gray or green color, I'd suspect a tannate reaction. Do you get the same effect when you wipe both with plain water?<br /><br />Veneers almost always finish differently from solids with a natural finish. To counter the effect, you'd have to use a very dilute green or blue dye in your lacquer and apply it just to the veneer. This could be time consuming though and hard to do. What I would do is to apply a sealer of a different finish resin under the acrylic. I'd use dewaxed bleached shellac which you can now buy pre-mixed as Zinssers ``Seal Coat``. Run the shellac/acrylic through on some samples and the acrylic only and compare. <br /><br />Jeff

I have had trouble finishing low grade maple due to the rough grain. What can I do to minimize that problem?

Rough Grain Q# 791 / Submitted 10/17/2000

Any surface texture defect will be exagerated if you apply a stain and wipe it. Water based dyes will be the best if you have to wipe a stain on. If you can spray the stain and not wipe it, this will give you the best results. <br /><br />The use of glue-size if you're using a clear coat will also help to minimize rough grain, but there may be some visibility.<br /><br />Jeff

What is the finish sand grit of your product? Does the plywood need to be sanded again before finishing and if so what grit do you recommend?

Staining Q# 790 / Submitted 10/23/2000

Most products are sanded to 180 or 220 unless the customer orders different procedures (like touch sanding). <br /><br />During storage, handling and fabrication the wood may get scratched, burnished or slightly oxidized. I recommend, starting with 150 and up to 180 or 220. Hand sand with the grain. Wiping the wood with mineral spirits or alcohol will highlight and possible problems like missed dings and dents and low grit scratches.

I've been looking online for a retailer that sells french polishing cloth or trace cloth, which is what Jeff Jewitt recommends when padding shellac. I can't find any suppliers using a search engine. Where can I buy this product?

Trace or French Polishing Cloth Q# 789 / Submitted 12/10/2000

You can purchase it from my company - Homestead Finishing Products. We carry padding cloth, as well as the cover cloth used in French Polishing.<br /><br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />www.homesteadfinishing.com<br />

What would be the best product or type of finish to protect oak Adirondack chairs? Is there anything that would only require one application and not need re-application every year or so? Thanks very much!

Best Exterior Finish for Oak Furniture? Q# 788 / Submitted 4/24/2001

No, this ``miracle`` finish does not yet exist. The best you could hope for is a penetrating type finish like Penofin that has to be applied every year. Even with this, expect some gray staining and checking if it gets wet or damp. Best to keep these chairs out of the direct sun and in a dry porch. <br /><br />Jeff

What is best finish for cherry? I attended one of your seminars, have books and a video. How do you determine whether a stain or dye is best for a particular wood? And your dye selection, what is a good assortment to start out with?

Stain/Dye Q# 787 / Submitted 6/11/2002

Wow, that covers a lot of territory.<br /><br />1. I personally think no stain is ``best`` for cherry., I prefer my own cherry furniture to darken naturally. As for clear finishes, I prefer oils and oil based finishes for cherry such as varnish. Boiled linseed oil followed by lacquer or shellac is a favorite. <br /><br />2. A stain can be either dye based, pigment based or a combination of the two. Dyes allow transparency and uniformity, while pigments provide grain definition and better lightfastness. Most commercial finishes utilize both. As a general rule, pigment stains look best on open-grained ring porous woods like oak and ash. Close grained woods like maple respond better to a dye. Diffuse porous woods like birch, mahogany and walnut can take either, but a dye, followed by a pigment based glaze looks good. <br /><br />3. For dye colors, you do not need a huge arsenal. I recommend to most that you get a honey amber, medium brown, reddish brown and dark walnut. Then get red, green and black and you'll be covered for most color matching.<br /><br />JJ

Hi Mr. Jewitt ! My name is Tal, I attended your lecture last year at the Detroit Metro woodworking show. I enjoyed it and your book as well. I used Unibond 800 and pressed some Redwood burl on 1/4" maple particle board. After that I filled the pores with Bartley's paste wood filler (oil based). The next step was applying shellac (2 LB cut) and Waterlox original sealer/finish. The problem is that I have a lot of areas that are shiny and a lot that are dull. I pressed a few of these board and they all look alike. What did I do wrong? What can I do to fix it? Thanks<br /><br /><br />

Uneven Finish Q# 786 / Submitted 7/23/2001

It could be a number of things. One, the glue may have come through some of the more porous areas of the burl when you pressed it, and was ``pre-sealed`` causing the finish to absorb unevenly. Two, the porous areas of the burl are just absorbing the finish more so than others, resulting in an uneven build. <br /><br />Best thing to do is to just sand back the finish and apply another coat and see what it looks like. Or just 0000 steel wool the whole surface to give it the same sheen.<br /> <br />That type of burl is tough to press and finish. Next time - after sanding, I'd probably use a glue size. You use this after sanding to 180. Apply the size, then let it dry. Then sand again with 220. This ``plugs`` up the more porous areas, and allows solvent based (don't use it with water base) to build more evenly.<br /><br />Jeff

Jeff, It's me again with my grandmother's table. Just browsing some of your previously asked questions. You suggested to a viewer that to get rid of the bubbles that she thin the final coat and use 600 grit sand paper and 0000 steel wool to buff. Is this correct? If so, how do you thin the polyurethane?

Dining Room Table Q# 785 / Submitted 10/22/2001

Use mineral spirits to thin. Yes, the advice is correct as most of the time, a flawless surface isnt possible. Rubbing out removes defects and puts an even sheen on the surface.<br /><br />http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/rubbingout.htm<br /><br /><br />Jeff

I purchased your book, but it does not speak in layman terms. The book uses pigments, dyes and colorants, but when I attempt to purchase stains I only see gel, water and poly shellac. Is there any way to reconcile the terminology so that I can follow the book better?

Finishes Q# 784 / Submitted 3/24/2002

I agree that many don't distinguish between the two, and the largest and most well-known (minwax) doesn't) Here's a general guide.<br /><br />1. Minwax uses both. Typically the really light colors are dyes and the darker, richer colors are pigment/dye<br /><br />2. Any stain that says ``for exterior or interior use`` is a pigment. <br /><br />3. Every gel stain I know of is primarily pigment with the exception of Clearwater Color Co's ``Smooth and Simple``<br /><br />4. Read the label. I pulled two of the stain off the shelf that we sell (Bartley Gel and McCloskey Tungseal) and they both identified the colorant. Pigment may be called an iron or natural or micronized oxide. Dye may be called ``dyestuff``. <br /><br /><br />Jeff

Can you list and describe the basic types and applications of finishes available to woodworkers?

Finishes Q# 783 / Submitted 10/23/2000

Oils (linseed and tung) natural, in the wood finishes, typically applied by rag. <br /><br />Varnishes --- the most durable finish that can be hand applied, with polyurethane varnish the most durable. Best applied by brush<br /><br />Lacquers --- these fast dry finishes can be water or solvent based and are almost always applied by spray. Biggest advantage is that they dry before settling dust can pose a problem. Most typical is Nitrocellulose. <br /><br />Catalyzed Varnishes and Lacquers --- these reactive finishes dry through a chemical process to a tough film. Catalyzed varnishes are the most durable, followed by catalyzed lacquer, then the pre-catalyzed lacquers. Always applied by spray. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff, I have a customer that for some reason or another had to sand off an area of finish from a piece of Columbia pre-finished plywood. In putting the piece back together our customer has asked, "What type of finish can I use to match the Columbia medium gloss and will the color of the stain change over say a week, month?" The product he was planning on using is called Magnolac, made by ml campbell. I did suggest the tape test and to check for ahesiveness, but was hoping for something a little more definite. Thanks,<br />Raul Camejo

Matching Pre-Finished Plywood Q# 782 / Submitted 11/29/2000

If you're matching the clear satin UV finished panel, I recommend a vinyl sealer followed by a CAB acrylic lacquer. ML Campbell has one. For maximum durability, use Krystal post cat varnish, also by ML Campbell. The Magnalac will be too yellow. A new product called Magnamax may work, but I haven't used it. It's a water white version of the Magnalac. <br /><br />I'm not sure what you mean by ``stain color`` as the panels are unstained. But if you mean will the color of the finish stay the same, Magnalac will yellow much more so than the UV finished panels. Magnalac has both Nitrocellulose and I'm pretty sure an alkyd that's prone to yellowing. The Krystal has neither, and the CAB acrylic won't yellow at all.<br /><br />If you're putting finish over the UV finish, sand it first with 400 grit to improve adhesion. If you want to check for adhesion, apply the finish, let it dry, and then make a 2`` x 3`` X through the finish. Put a piece of tape over it and tear it off. If the finish delaminates, it means poor adhesion. If just a bit tears off along the X, its probably OK. <br />You could improve adhesion by use of a tie coat of freshly made dewaxed shellac or perhaps vinyl sealer.<br /><br />Jeff Jewitt<br /><br />

After building several large desks and an entertainment center out of mahagony and using a water-based stain, I find that it is very difficult to get a good clean finish in the inside corners of cabinets/shelves and where the bottom/side are joined. Besides staining before assembly, are there any techniques to achieve a clean edge? Thanks

Staining Cabinets Q# 781 / Submitted 7/19/2001

One of the easiest ways to handle this is by pre-staining as you suggested. However, another way is to apply the water stain, and then come back over that with a similar or darker color oil stain or water glaze. <br /><br />In our shop, we regularly use an oil stain after the water stain, to increase depth and grain enhancement. We spray it, then wipe or brush it into the corners to cover the areas that don't get stained well. If your topcoat can tolerate the oil, use that as it has a longer open time so you can wipe it easier. Then topcoat.<br /><br />If this is not going to work for you you may want to check into using a water stain that you can use afterwards as a pad stain to touch up any bad areas. Contact me privately if you need a suggestion (jbjewitt@gwis.com)<br /><br />Of course, this will add an extra step(s), so you may want to add that into your total costs. <br /><br />Jeff

Do you have any listings of manufacturers that supply high quality conversion varnishes? Do they have high solid contents available in 22 or 10 degree sheen?

Conversion Varnishes Q# 780 / Submitted 3/21/2002

I doubt you'll find anything less than a 20 degree, as film and performance properties become comprimised when too much flatting agent is added. <br /><br />Lilly is perhaps the largest and one of the most respected and is now owned by Valspar. Global Resistovar is their conversion varnish. <br /><br />http://www.valsparwood.com/<br /><br />Sherwin Williams and ML Campbell have distribuition in large cities as well. <br /><br /><br />I can't say any of these particular products are better than others. What makes a difference is the tech support. Go with a product that has technical service to back up their products<br /><br />Jeff<br /><br />

Jeff, I have stripped and sanded by grandmother's dining room table. I'm at the point of staining and finishing it. I want to do a good job, but need advice. I was planning to use Minwax red mahogany stain and a high gloss finish. I want to make sure it is very smooth and shinny. My first question is there is a spot of the table top that I sanded too far down. When staining, how can I assure that this area is covered? The table also is quite squeaky and the legs are loose. How can I get rid of the squeakiness and the rickety sound? Any other information you can give is very helpful.

dining room table Q# 779 / Submitted 10/22/2001

To repair the loose and rickety part, you need to disassemble all the loose joints and make them tight again. This may involve gluing new wood shims to the cheeks of tenons and such so you get good wood-to-wood contact. Then clean the joints with sandpaper and re-glue. <br /><br />Now for the first question. It isn't clear what you did. If you sanded through the top wood and it's veneer, you're in for trouble, as the area will not stain the same color. In our shop, we compensate by touching in or inpainting fake wood color with dry powders. You could use artist acrylic colors. It's a bugger to do well........<br /><br />If all you did was sand through the patina and the top is solid wood, you'll simply have to sand the area to a consistent color. If the spot is lower. you need to feather it into the rest of the top. It doesn't have to be perfect as the stain may even things out, but you can get a good idea of how things will stain by wetting the bare wood with mineral spirits first and looking at the top with light from behind. This will preview whether or not you'll get a consistent stain color. <br /><br />Jeff

What is the best undercoat for both dye stains and lacquer finishes?

Glue Sizing Q# 778 / Submitted 10/23/2000

If by undercoat you mean sealer, it depends. Sealers are designed to speed up the finishing process by allowing faster and more even build of lacquer topcoats. Sanding sealer and vinyl sealers will both accomplish this. However many finishes are ``self-sealing`` and these include conversion lacquers and varnishes as well as most water base finishes and oil based polyurethane. <br /><br />Dye stain penetration can be more even if a thin sealer called a wash-coat is used. It can be shellac, vinyl, sanding sealer, or glue size. These are applied, allowed to dry, then sanded. What this does is to seal off the more porous areas.

Your hardwood plywood expert says using a wash coat or glue sizing will provide a better finish on cherry with a lot of figure. He also says cherry is prone to have figure. Do you agree?

Blotchy Finish in Cherry Q# 777 / Submitted 11/13/2000

Cherry is prone to splotching or uneven staining. My own take on this is that some will call the appearance ``figured`` and some call it splotchy. The appearance on unstained wood, and if the veneer is well bookmatched, can be taken as highly figured. On solid wood or random matched, the appearance could be desribed as ``blotchy``, either stained or unstained. <br />The real answer depends on whether or not your customer wants an even finish. This is done by creating samples and showing them. If they want a very even staining, like on many kitchen cabinets, I'd suggest spraying an NGR stain and not wiping it. Seal with a washcoat, and if you want to emphasize the grain, apply an oil stain. If not a toner will even things out. It takes a good spraygun operator to achieve this.<br />If you are hand applying an oil stain, use a stain conditioner or Nelsonite. A washcoat of shellac also helps. Shops use different techniques depending on how their finishers were trained. <br /><br />Jeff

Jeff, Some time ago you confirmed (via sample) that the blotchy appearance that we have been dealing with in some our our cherry panels was the result of "resinous" wood, or pockets of resin that were more willing to take stain, creating a dark appearance. I have another sample I am sending to your attention which has similar splotching, only it appears more "man-made" than the previous sample (i.e. more repetitious). Could you please provide our thoughts? The samples should arrive Friday.<br /><br />Thanks,<br /><br />Gary Meyer<br /><br />P.S. The blotching shows up only after staining.

Blotchy cherry Q# 776 / Submitted 3/27/2001

Gary,<br /><br />Sorry this took so long. I finally had a chance to look at the samples in great detail. There does not appear to be a natural problem. I'm forwarding some of the sample to Ang for his input. I'll keep you advised. <br /><br />Jeff

Thanks for the opportunity to ask an expert! I recently stripped a 1942 vintage Philco radio cabinet. The cabinet<br />had been water damaged, hence removal was required. During the stripping I noted that three accent areas were not a different wood spieces, but rather an application of finish that gave the appearance of a darker wood finish. The stripping revealed two distinct layers of finish. The undercoat was an opaque cream color which became the lighter color of the "wood grain". The top coat was of various shades in a dark clear finish that looked as if it may have been applied with an air brush. My question concerns how I might be able to recreate a similar detail on the radio. Any ideas on what products and process I could try? I presume that the original must have required a fast production method, but my knowledge of what that might be is minimal. I restore radios as a hobby and find that I learn something new with each one. The topic above is my<br />big lesson on this project. Cheers Dan Wahl

Antique Radio Q# 775 / Submitted 7/7/2001

In my latest book - Great Wood Finishes, there are some techniques covered that will simulate the faux finish that you stripped. In a nutshell<br /><br />1. Paint the base grain, which is the cream color you describe. You may be able to find this pre-mixed, but if not, a reasonable mix can be made by adding raw and burnt sienna to some off white paint. You could also use artist oil colors. Let this dry.<br /><br />2. Apply a dark brown oil based glaze, which is a thick type of slow drying stain-like product. You manipulate this to similate grain by using tools like feathers, brushed, graining combs and the like. Let it dry.<br /><br />3. Seal everything in with a coat of solvent lacquer or oil based varnish. Shellac can be used as well. <br /><br />There are dozens of books in the library on these techniques. You might look under decorative painting, faux wood graining as well.

I just built a dresser and I am at the finishing stage. The dresser drawers are made out of maple plywood and the drawer fronts are made of solid maple. Should the inside of the drawers be stained and polyeurothaned. Since clothes will be laying in it, I am not sure if the stain and polyeurothane would be a good idea. I would appreciate your input. Thank you, Alan Erickson <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

Staining a Dresser Q# 774 / Submitted 10/20/2001

Leave the insides unstained and never use an oil based finish inside drawers. The smell will linger forever and it gets in the clothes. <br /><br />Just use two coats of shellac on the drawer insides, then a coat of paste wax. This gives them a nice soft sheen as well as feel. The shellac/wax combo leaves no lingering odors after several days dry time.<br /><br />Jeff

What is the best undercoat for both dye stains and lacquer finishes?

Glue Sizing Q# 773 / Submitted 10/23/2000

Dyes should always be applied to the bare wood, unless splotching is a problem, in which a washcoat of shellac or sanding sealer could be used. Undercoats for finishes are called sealers, and should be used when speed in production is an issue or a sealer is necessary to seal problems in the woods, like in refinishing.<br /><br />Sanding and vinyl sealers are the 2 most common sealers used and vinyl will make the finish more moisture resistant. Sanding sealer is used to provide better holdout for finishes applied over them, and provides an easy to sand footing for finishes applied over them. Vinyl is always specified if you want to use a sealer for the catalyzed finishes.<br /><br />Many finishes are self-sealing and really don't need a special sealer. These include the catalyzed varnishes and lacquers, polyurethane and water base finishes.<br /><br />

I have some sample of P/S Cherry on MDF that I would like to send your way. Could you please provide an address?<br /><br /> thanks,<br /><br />Gary Meyer<br /><br />

blotchy/figured look in cherry Q# 772 / Submitted 11/9/2000

Sure<br /><br />JB Jewitt Co<br />1935 W 96th St Unit Q<br />Cleveland, OH 44102<br /><br />ATTN -- Jeff Jewitt

How do you finish open grain wood?

Open grain wood Q# 771 / Submitted 10/17/2000

One of two ways ---- <br /><br />1. If you want a glass-smooth finish, a paste wood filler is typically used, which bulks up the pore cavities, so finishing products build up smoothly, without the pore outline telegraphing through. This is sometimes called a filled pore finish. On walnut and mahogany, this lends elegance and refinement<br /><br />2. A more natural appearance is achieved by not using a paste wood filler. The pores are still visible, and this look is traditional for oaks and ash, though it's really an aesthetic decision<br /><br />Jeff

What is the best undercoat for both dye stains and lacquer finishes?

Glue Sizing Q# 770 / Submitted 10/23/2000

Glu-sizing is a polular way to deal with splotching, when using alcohol stains. It's applied to the wood, allowed to dry then sanded. The sizing seals the more porous areas, preventing the dye from darkening these areas too much.

What is the easiest finish to apply to a stripped and sanded oak hardwood floor that is durable and finsihes clear? I bought polyurethane and was disappointed when it turned my floors amber/yellow. This is why I stripped them of the Varathane in the first place!

Finishing Hardwood Floors Q# 769 / Submitted 10/27/2000

The best product for non-yellowing and clarity, no color, is a water base polyurethane. Pro's have pretty much switched over to these products for the reasons you mention, as well as the faster dry time and low odor. Most can be put over an oil-based stain, but check with the manufacturer. <br /><br />Jeff

My daughter-in-law spilled nail polish remover on her oak dining table. I haven't seen the damage yet, but I'm told it took the finish off down to bare wood. Should I try to touch up the damaged area or strip and re-finish the whole table top? It appears to be stained with a natural color, so I don't think that is an issue. Also, what is the best type of product to finish it with? Poly? Lacquer? Thanks.

Repairing Acetone Damage Q# 768 / Submitted 6/6/2001

Although I consider myself pretty good as far as touch up skills are considered, this is next to impossible to repair. There are other chemicals in nail polish remover aside from acetone that can cause all sorts of problems with a spot repair. Take it off and refinish it. <br />If there is any saving grace in all of this, the nail polish damage tells you it's lacquer, and probably Nitrocellulose, which you should be able to get at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.<br /><br />Jeff Jewitt

What is the best stain to use on red oak plywood?

Red Oak Plywood Q# 767 / Submitted 10/23/2000

To accentuate the grain and keep the flat grain lighter, use a pigment or gel stain. To downplay the grain and color the wood evenely use a dye base stain like a water dye or solvent NGR. Some stains like Minwax Red Mahogany contain both and give you the best of both worlds. The only way to see how the stain acts is to create samples<br /><br /><br />Jeff

Do you know of any way to quickly duplicate the weathered aging finish on white eastern cedar?

Reproducing Weathered Cedar Apperance Q# 766 / Submitted 1/15/2001

There is a company that produces a two part chemical treatment that is designed to do exactly what you want. It's called Old Growth and its available through Woodworker's Supply (800-645-9292). Its a two step process that works by a chemical reaction to produce a deep and lighfast color change. As with all chemical stains, its very important to practice on samples.<br /><br />Jeff

Can TransTint be added to Watco oil? If so how should it be mixed? Thank you for your time and have a good day. Bob

TransTint dye Q# 765 / Submitted 10/18/2000

TransTint will not mix with Watco Oil. It will mix with<br />oil based varnishes if you cut it into acetone first (1 part TT to 4 parts acetone)If you use straight linseed oil with out mineral spirits, the TT/acetone will work.<br /><br />Jeff<br />

How do you finish open grain wood?

Open Grain Wood Q# 764 / Submitted 10/23/2000

One of two ways<br /><br />1. For a glass smooth finish, start with paste wood filler<br />which fills up the pores so finish flows smoothly without telegraphing<br />the pore outline. You can also spray several thick coats of a conversion lacquer or varnish and sand back. <br /><br />2. For a more natural look, don't use a paste wood filler.<br /><br /><br />Woods like walnut and mahogany ``generally`` look good with a paste wood filler if you're after a refined, elegant look. Today's fashion is more towards matte, light and more natural, so paste wood fillers wouldn't be recommended. <br /><br />Please note that paste wood filler does not provide any extra protection or durability. It's an aesthetic decision based upon what you want the wood to look like.

What if anything can be done to reduce the appearance of splice lines in maple?

Maple Splice Lines Q# 763 / Submitted 10/17/2000

I know of nothing, other than to hand paint them out using a fine artists brush and touch up pigments. This works best if the stain is dark. Mohawk has technical and field reps that can assist shops in the correct products and their use. <br /><br />Jeff