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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building a nice stand for my 75G tank and I need some advices. I made the inside white and the wife wanted for me to stain the exterior. So I covered all the holes and started the staining process.

Here is the stand after the first coat of paint:



and here is the problem: the wood putty (stainable) look ugly.



Bear in mind this is the first coat only and I am using the Minwax Wood Finisher (English chestnut color). No Polyurethane yet.

Any idea how to make this look good? Will it improve once I apply a second coat?
 

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Offishul GTAA Lolcat
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The problem is the type of wood you used. Rotary cut SPF plywood is cheap, but not designed to look awesome when it is stained. That said, there IS a way to make is still look nice, but it will be a bit involved.

Wood filler rarely stains out nicely, that's why you try to minimize its use...

First of all, the Minwax stain is cheap and full of wax (as the name suggests) which makes it easier for the average Joe to work with, but also negatively affects its performance in colour consistency and penetration.

A better product would be anything from Goudey Stains. Remember this for next time :)

To fix it you want to do 2 things: get deeper penetration of the stain, and then layer colour on top, which you're only going to get in 2 ways: layering with Polyshades (meh), or spraying with a tinted clear sealer or topcoat.

If it were in my shop, this is how I would proceed:

1. Wipe the entire surface with mineral spirits or methyl hydrate to clean off any oil/wax residue, then give the entire surface a light sanding.

2. Recoat the wood with a proper penetrating sealer from Goudey, let dry 1-2 hours.

3. Make a mixture of clear sealer with about 10% stain mixed in. This would be a lacquer-based spray, which would be applied in thin coats, slowly filling in the colour of the wood.

4. Once it dries, top coat it with whatever you want, lacquer, oil or latex. Just give the lacquer 24 hours to cure.

If you have the tools, it's not as hard as it sounds. I say this all so that you have an idea of how it would properly be done (apart from re-skinning it in a true stain-grade wood)

How you could simplify the process:

The problem with oil-based stains and urethanes is that they take so long to dry, making layering difficult at best. You'll need to lay the stand flat so each side can dry level, without any drips or runs, else you'll be upset at the results.

You can use Polyshades, or mix a bit of stain with a bit of clear polyurethane, and by putting it down in layers, you will darken it up evenly. But without being able to spray the layers, I don't know if you'll be happy with the results.

If you did it all with with latex stain, it would be easier, as it dries faster. But you'd still want to be able to spray it on.

Sorry it's not going to be easy....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since I have no way to spray the plywood, can I clean the area with Varsol, resand it so I can remove most of the putty, and use some of the leftover Varathane Diamond Wood Finish combined with the stain?

If so, put 10% stain into the varathane and start putting layers of it?

I cant tell my wife I need to buy more plywood and more stain. The weather is not so forgiving this time of the year.
 

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If this is a stand that is going to be in a nice display area, you might want to really consider buying new plywood and getting the good stuff and starting over. Might end up being less work.

Also, if it is not part of the structure, just for looks, you can get thinner plywood and save a little money. Also, if it is not part of the structure, you could go a different way, tongue and groove and cover it, I did this using cedar on a stand recently. But I wouldn't use cedar again if I plan to have doors, wood is too soft for screws and holding hinges well unless you use a stronger wood backing for support or something.

I also recommend doing something different on the corners. maybe some type of corner trim or maybe 45 the ends if you have a table saw to do it just right, would be very hard with just a skill saw to get it perfect unless you are really good.

The big thing with wood working is having the right tools, but the right tools cost a fortune and require lots of space. I have a little skill with wood working but have never had the money or space for the right tools and work area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am with you on tools point of view. The stand was built using a mitre saw for 2x4 and handsaw for plywood. I have bought some nice moulding for corners (ply cap) and doors (will put it over plywood for looks). I need to cut the plycap lenght wise and since no table saw i will use my handsaw. I works great with a lot of patience.
 

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Offishul GTAA Lolcat
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Then just sand the putty spots out so there are not patches of filler, only small spots of it where the nail holes are.

Then put on your trim.

Then reapply stain to all the bare spots and let dry overnight; then give the entire thing a second coat of stain.

Let that dry overnight and then hit it with the first coat of polyurethane. See how that looks, and then decide whether you want to layer it or not. Try on a scrap of wood first if you can.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

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Just asking because I am curious, but why not paint it ? The filler won't show, under paint, assuming it is smoothly sanded. There are some truly gorgeous fantasy and fancy paint finishes available now, that don't need any very special application techniques.

I used a paint that produces a Hammered Metal effect, and it turned out extremely nice looking. Can be had in spray cans, or in regular cans you put on with brush or roller. Several colours too.

There also stone effect paint and some metallic ones too. Just thinking they might look a lot nicer at the end, than trying to stain plywood. Unless you get it with a layer of stainable wood, ply doesn't look great stained no matter what you do with it, if the grain still shows. If you like the grain, great.. but paint might give you a very attractive finish with less work, and you might not need to clear coat. That hammer effect sure does not need a top coat, it really does look like hammered, polished metal.
 

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Wow, 50seven, that's pretty amazing. Don't think I've seen a faux finish as good as that one before.

Just wondering, don't you have to get one of those faux wood grain tools to get that effect ? Not that it is so big an expense, and once you get the hang of it, not hard to use. Beats the heck out of the old 'wobbling feather' wood grain technique, that really took time and effort to master.

The plastic wood grain device makes it pretty simple to get a nice grain effect, over a paint base that hides everything untoward beneath it.

There is, as well, though it is not all that cheap, anaglypta paper too. It's a very thick, heavy weight sort of wall paper, comes in rolls, that is meant to go on walls that are just so damaged painting would take too much effort or wouldn't even be possible.

Once it's applied, you paint it. Anaglypta comes with many different embossed designs, there's one I've seen that looks so much like leather grain, it's really cool once coloured. You probably would only need one roll, so not so costly. Doing a whole wall can cost quite a bit, sadly. I've thought of putting in the kitchen for the backsplash, if they ever repair the drywall. But I digress.. then paint whatever colour you want, with a deep pile roller to get into the texture, and that's done. Pretty much any good latex paint will do, and dry quickly. Could even swipe a second colour on the surface of the embossed areas, if you wished.

I would topcoat paint with a varnish, since you need to be able to wipe the surfaces clean now and then. Water base varnish dries in about a half hour, quick sand & you can get three coats on in one day in warm dry room. Shouldn't ever get water damage from splashes or drips with 3 coats on. Just another thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok so went my Benjamin Moore today, got primer and a can of Advance paint, found a nice color (Bittersweet Chocolate), dropped by HD and picked up a Martha Stewart faux wood tool and a can of glaze.

Now its time to sand it down and prime it. When it comes to the paint, since I need to put two coats, first coat goes just paint and second I presume I combine the glaze and paint and create the fake wood design. Am I right in the step to follow?
 

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Offishul GTAA Lolcat
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Ok so went my Benjamin Moore today, got primer and a can of Advance paint, found a nice color (Bittersweet Chocolate), dropped by HD and picked up a Martha Stewart faux wood tool and a can of glaze.

Now its time to sand it down and prime it. When it comes to the paint, since I need to put two coats, first coat goes just paint and second I presume I combine the glaze and paint and create the fake wood design. Am I right in the step to follow?
You need 2 different colours to get the wood grain look.

1st coat: you lay a good coat of the lighter colour; coat twice if necessary for full coverage.

2nd coat: mix the darker colour with the glaze. I use about a 25% paint to 75% glaze ratio. This is applied in small sections with a brush and then textured with the faux grain tool.

3rd coat (if desired): clear coat of acrylic polyeurethane

(For the example that I showed, I used BM #2106-10 "Java" for the light colour and BM #2143-10 "Night Horizon" for the dark colour.)
 

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Interested on how this worked out. Another option could have been to veneer the piece and then apply a new stain. Veneer is available at most Home renovation stores and you just coat each side with contact cement let it dry and it sticks together, (you only get one shot at it but with a little practice its not too dificult. Trim up the edges with a good utility knife.
 
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