Sunday, January 12, 2014

On the job training - Problems with a wood grained top

Happy New Year!  It’s be awhile since I’ve added a post here.  The holidays kept me busy with family and painting….but I couldn’t squeeze in writing blog posts.  There are only so many hours in the day, and writing a post or two was what I chose to give up.  I’ve seen a lot of New Year’s Resolution from folks vowing to find balance in their lives.  It’s a hard thing to find, but as you get older, your priorities become clearer and that helps you to find your balance.  Being overwhelmed is what creates the ‘fog’, so when you’re feeling  that way, perhaps that is a clue to step back, re-evaluate, re-prioritize, and then take the necessary actions to ‘clear the fog’ which will help find the balance.  I’ve also found it is okay for the priorities to fluctuate.  Perhaps missing a soccer practice is okay, but not the match.  Or how many nights a week do I spend on the computer or in the shop, instead of reading a good night story to my little one or connecting with my significant other?  These are questions we can only answer for ourselves.  What works for me may not be the right thing for you and your family.  But when you realize you may have lost your balance, let that be your signal to look for it…

Enough of my two cents about life…Let’s talk about OJT.  Oh yea…I learn something new with every project.  Rarely do I start and complete a project that is completely smooth sailing.  This lovely French dresser was no exception.

It had an unusual finish…looked like a colored stain.  I could see the grain of the wood, but the color was a wash of a yellowish, grayish, speckled, something!  Ha!  There were some very faint gold hightlights on the high ridges of her curvy parts. 

I got busy stripping her top…As I always say, “Let’s see what’s under the hood”.  Oh my goodness….pure as the driven snow!  

Is that the most gorgeous wood grain you’ve ever seen!  Yea baby!  I hit the jackpot!  My vision is clear…French Linen, Dark Walnut Stained Top.  Very French Country look!

I generally stop working on the top, flip the piece over and start painting.  But for some unknown reason (and thank heavens!) I decided to stain the top first.  I applied the Minwax wood conditioner (as I always do) and then the Dark Walnut Stain. 

Panic starts to set in!

What are those cloudy spots??  Oh no!  I reached out to a few sources and received some wonderful input from my FB page (please feel free to follow me along on FB at RPKInteriors).  I also found The Wood Whisperer who was kind enough to respond to a flustered note.  His thoughts were "If it's still noticeable after stripping and sanding, the outlook isn't great.  That's an indicator that the oil stain is quite deep.  Only thing you can really do is sand/plane/scrape the surface until you get below the discoloration."

Yea...that's not happening.  I have already devoted a lot of energy to this top.  It is now time for me to "know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em" (singing along with Kenny Rogers!).  

I painted her in ASCP Old White.  A little light distressing and lots of waxing.  

If you have ever run into this issue before and have some thoughts on how to overcome the cloudiness in the finish, I would be most appreciative of your input.  My guess is I will see this again one of these days.  There was no way for me to foresee it after I stripped it, but unless I have some new ideas on how to overcome it, I'll move to Plan B and paint it.  My first option is generally to 'save the top', but sometimes we have to know when to move along!  :)

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  1. Oooh! How frustrating! That top coulda/woulda have been 'O so Beautiful' if it had of worked out! Still a beautiful end result though!

    1. Yes it would have been beautiful! Oh well...Maybe time I'll be able to conquer the 'cloudiness'!

  2. How disappointing! I have never come across this before. I wonder if you had applied hemp oil or Howard's wax to the top, instead of the stain, that it would have remained hidden? Not sure. However, it looks amazing in Old White! What a great find, too!

    1. Suzanne,
      The problem was I didn't see a problem coming...Ha! The stripped wood was so beautiful...almost flawless. I expected it to absolutely thought it would absorb the stain evenly. But the Hemp Oil is a good thought for future reference...Thanks for the tip!

  3. Look. I disagree with all the experts. Particularly those who haven't tried any new products for stripping in years. I'm doing 15 antique 5-panel doors. Now, you can imagine the layers of paint and deep, dark, sometimes reddish stain I get, right?

    Citristrip. Hear the angels sing?
    ONE thick coat, left on overnight cuts through the paint layers, which come off in sheets. Truly. It's so easy you need to be careful not to scrape too hard, because you're already down to wood.

    Now, getting back to YOU. A 2nd layer of Citristrip sucks the stain right out of the wood. No joke. I'm down to gorgeous bare wood on these doors. Incredible, that without sanding yet, they look like they've never been touched with a finish.

    What I find is that the Citristrip sucks the stain out in the form of a BBQ-like goo.
    I turn the doors on their side and scrape it off.
    Then I take WATER and a scrubbie (as per a tiny paragraph on their web site) and scrub it down. If you see areas where the stain might be stubborn, you can put more on, but do the ENTIRE section because it'll continue to suck the stain out and lighten the wood wherever you leave it and make lighter spots. It is Amazing.

    Water. I have had HORRIBLE experience following the experts' advice to use mineral spirits. Even this horrified support guy at Citristrip said the website was wrong. (BUZZ of WRONG ANSWER!)
    This isn't your mama's stripper. The mineral spirits reliquified the stain and it sunk right back into the wood -- in a neon magenta color. I had to start all over removing the stain. But I got it out and am currently hanging this heavy oak door in my bathroom. I'm making 15 pocket doors and this one is my favorite.

    So.. My thought is that if you are patient, leaving it literally overnight or while you're at work, try Citristrip or Soygel next time. The longer you leave it, the deeper it will lift, even down into the stain. Resist the urge to start picking, even though it says "20 minutes or up to 24 hours."
    I do this in my kitchen, (in place cabinets) and right now in my master bedroom, (doors and cabinets) without a space suit. No flesh-eating chemicals and fumes. If it's windy outside, take plastic bags and press them into the Citristrip to keep it in contact with the wood. It'll keep eating through the layers. Oh - and scrape your goo into a plastic bag. It doesn't eat plastic nor take the color out of your jeans. You can get stuff off your hands by rubbing it on, waiting a minute and washing your hands.

    Ok. Enough raving. I've had this cloudiness happen with other strippers, simply because they don't remove deep stain. I hate to sand away wood! And detail? What'cha gonna do then? (Citristrip? a toothpick.)

    I realize this is more info than you probably wanted, but I actually have pictures if you want me to send them to you. I wish they'd pay me, but as much as I rave, I guess they sure don't need to!

    A door every 24 hours. YEAH! Plus, your dresser, wood top or not? It's absolutely beautiful. I think you do a lovely job distressing. No leopard look for your pieces!

    1. OMG. I'm so sorry about the novel!

    2. Christine,
      For starters, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I've seen a lot of folks mention Citistrip, but you have made an excellent case for giving it a try (soaking up the stain). I don't mind sanding, but if a second coat of Citistrip will do the trick, I'm game for trying.
      Next, I really appreciate that you shared so much of your own experience and opinions. I hope my blog will be a place for information sharing. We all bump into challenges while 'reloving' a project, so I'm hopeful sharing my 'bumps along the way' can help someone else avoid it!

      I'll be writing a post about another challenge while stripping a top. I wish I had known about Citistrip before that project, but I sure will be using it in some upcoming 'reloves'!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to share. It is greatly appreciated!

    3. That's very kind of you. Didn't know I wrote so much. I talk a lot (imagine!) and evidently tend to write a lot. That Citristrip actually makes stripping fun. No joke. I found myself looking forward to the result.

      Next time you do a bare wood piece? LMK. Got a secret for keeping it looking like nothing at all is on it. And... a craqueleur that cost pennies, vs. someone's tiny jars for millions of $$.

      You do great work so I've been Bloglovin' you. I'm glad to be able to give you something useful.

  4. Oh, I so know how you feel about balance. This year I'm trying so hard to balance my passion for the blog and painting and writing with my passion for my family and also a healthy lifestyle. The dresser came out beautiful in all white. I've never seen that cloudy issue. But good to know. Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

  5. I have never had that problem, but I rarely find pieces in good enough condition to stain. But you totally saved it and the outcome is beautiful!

  6. You made it look beautiful without the stain!! I tried Citristrip once and hated it because I'm so impatient and I don't like the smell for some reason, but after reading Christine's reply I might have to try it again. :)

  7. If you ever run into that issue again, try using hemp oil. The wood will absorb wherever it can and you wipe off excess. Might take a few applications, but it will give you a more even coverage. Also, think about trying MMSMP curio as a stain before you use hemp oil. It won't chip or flake or peel off it will bond with the wood and hemp oil will provide a very durable finish with a few coats once it's cured. And touch ups are a breeze, because you just spot apply or recoat in hemp oil and you won't see the touch ups!! LOL- I love these products!!! (Full disclosure: I sell the line, but this isn't trolling for sales! I truly love these products!!