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restaining cedar moldings

I need to finish what someone started. They installed trim on doors and around windows. They used 4" cedar. It looks like stain and varnish done prior to install. When filling the nail holes there seems to be a wood filler of a very light color that was not sanded. I have sanded them and tried to stain the sanded area. It has come out blotchy. Do I need to sand the whole piece of wood or are there other products that can be used to remove the stain? This is on the interior of a lived in home and I would like to keep down the dust from sanding.:confused:

Re: restaining cedar moldings

If you just spot sand areas to bare wood, it will stain unevenly. If you sand at all, it should be the entire area and to bare wood.

If the woodwork was stained and sealed prior to hanging, the nail holes should have been filled with colored putty, rather than wood filler. If it is putty, you could drill it out and replace it with closer matching putty. Any paint store has such colored putties.

If you are trying to even out the finish of the general woodwork, you might consider using a colored urethane varnish such as Minwax "Polyshades". This will add addtional color without having to sand the woodwork to bare wood.

I would test a small area to assure that the Polyshades is compatible with the existing finish. Urethanes do not like to stick to lacquer, shellac or even old urethane finishes. Varnish a small area and wait 24 hours to see if you can scratch it off with your fingernails. If it does scratch off, use a coat of de-waxed shellac, such as Zinsser's "SealCoat", as a bonding coat before varnishing with the urethane based Polyshades.

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