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Terrible staining situation

Help! Help!

I recently built part of an entertainment center out of cherry wood. I was so edgy about getting started on the finish I devoted hours trying to do sample stains and top coats. I mean this is what I jokingly referred to as my "Magnum Opus", the most ambitious furniture project I have ever attempted.

And now, I have some problems that are way beyond my field of expertise and the expertise of the locals in this small town of Loma Rica California.

I used some filler on a couple of corners of the top because of some imperfections caused by my glue setting up so fast in 100 degree heat I could not get to them fast enough to make them match the way I had set them up. So it was a little touch up, and it was a high quality filler that said "Stainable". Well, the stain did not penetrate the filler. It looks like someone filled the edges with toothpaste. Now I need to probably sand all the topcoat off and sand down the filler, hopefully without disfiguring the area. I am at a loss. I think everyone who has ever worked with their hands can tell of circumstances where the more you tinker the more you mess it up. If someone can help me with a decent method of attacking this problem, I would be eternally grateful. Wouldn't you know, my attempt at a very fine piece of furniture is turning sour.

Re: Terrible staining situation


Can you please supply more information.

What product did you use for filling the voids?
What type of stain are you using (oil or gel)?
Did you apply any polyurethane or lacquer?

here are a few tips that may help -

Unfortunately, some fillers do not accept stain as well as wood. The first step would be to sand the filler smooth by hand. If you use a motorized sander be careful not to over heat the wood, causing it to become less forgiving when staining. If you can find a gel stain that matches, with a little patience and a couple coats you will be able to cover the filler. You can always feather in the gel stain. If you apply too much gel stain, you can easily remove access with thinner and a lint free rag.


Measure once, cut twice.

A. Spruce
Re: Terrible staining situation
BuilderPete wrote:

j What product did you use for filling the voids?
What type of stain are you using (oil or gel)?
Did you apply any polyurethane or lacquer?

I agree, what products have you used thus far?

The best stainable filler I've used is Dap Wood Dough. I use the "natural" and when staining it generally looks more like a small knot rather than a filled nail or other boo-boo. It uses acetone as the solvent which is highly volatile when exposed to air, so only pull a small amount out at a time to use and toss it when it starts hardening. By small amount I mean a bead about the size of a pea. Another route is to leave the nails and flaws raw until after staining and then use Color Putty and custom mix a color that closely matches the stained project. Once the areas are filled and wiped clean, apply the sealer. The nice thing about color putty is that by mixing the various stock colors you can make your own custom colors and modify the mix as the grain and shading changes across your work area.

Re: Terrible staining situation response to help

All good questions. Here is what I used:

Famowood #1 Professional wood filler in a cherry color
General Finishes Antique Cherry water based semi gel
Aqua Zar clear gloss top coat, water based

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