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Staining Technique

One part science, five parts experimentation. Every wood boat veteran has their secret recipe for a showy finish. Share your trials and triumphs.

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George Emmanuel
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Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:14 pm

I've searched the forums and have not found the answer to my question: What technique do you use to stain when using filler stains? My hull has been faired, bleached and neutralized. I did a light sanding with 400 grit to remove raised grain without getting into the bleached areas. I'm using Pettit's Brown Mahogany filler stain. I thinned it with the 333 brushing thinner as recommended and I worked small areas using a terrycloth for rubbing. I can't get a consistent appearance. I'd apply the stain then quickly rub it across the grain to fill the pores then lightly rub it in the direction of the grain to remove streaks. No matter what I do I get blotchy areas. Should I try a different approach? Should I wait until it is dry and feather with bronze wool? Did I make a mistake in using some 400 grit prior to staining?

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by kleiner » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:09 pm

I don't know exactly, but 400 grit might burnish the wood, depending how hard you sanded, which could affect staining (resulting in lighter areas). I go up to 150, hand sanding with the grain, and it is ready for staining.

- Kevin

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Captain Nemo
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by Captain Nemo » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:20 pm

Kevin,
The 400 grit is too fine, I go to 150 also. Thin the stain to the consistency of a thin pancake batter, brush it on an area small enough that you can rub it out cross grain b/4 it gets too dry. You want to start rubbing when the stain loses any sheen it might have had after brushing it on. The time frame has a lot to do w/ existing conditions (relative humidity, phase of the moon etc. :lol: ). It is not an exact science but a lot of what works for you.
Boats are to be made of wood, otherwise, God would have grown fiberglass trees.

George Emmanuel
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:09 pm

Both of you indicate the same thing,---that I have the surface too smooth. The other question I have had to do with rubbing. If you rub across the grain, which I did, you will have streaks. So how do you prevent the streaks? If the stain tacks out, it is difficult to remove the excess.

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by drrot » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:27 am

George,
Try using burlap to rub the excess stain off.
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by maritimeclassics » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:01 am

I have had this problem to many times and now do not use filler stains anymore. There is a product called Wood Kote, it's a jell stain that comes in many correct colors for Chris Crafts. My last sand is at 100 grit then I start my staining. This stuff is so forgiving you can stain half the hull side come back an hour later and stain the rest with out seeing the line. Don't be worried about filling the grain with filler unless you are only putting 4 coats of varnish on like the factory. Stain the boat, let it dry a couple days then apply 3 coats of clear sealer by pettit (which can all be done in one day) then go to varnish thinned at first. If you are interested in the product call Dave Jerome 503-282-8562 and he will send you what ever color you need.

I have had to strip a boat to many times because of the stain did not look right. The factory had a team of guys and they could do it fast so it looked right but by yourself you going to have problems with filler stain.
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:42 am

Thanks for that information. I've done 2 boats with filler stain and achieved beautiful results, but both were small and were plywood. With the Sportsman I'm working on I was concerned about the bleaching having an effect on the staining but I had to bleach because someone replaced 3 planks with Honduras and I'm trying to make the differences as slight as possible. Plus they did all the topsides with Honduras!

I'll give the gel a try!

George

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:49 pm

I ordered the gel stain and it arrived. I started stripping off the recently applied filler stain and removing it is difficult. Stripper rejuvenates the filler stain and it continues to stay in the pores. So I've been washing the planking with liquid stripper and trying to wash it downward to the bottom planks and then off the edge.

I'm wondering if it might have been better for me to have applied a sealer, let it cure and then strip it off. My thinking is the sealer would bond to the filler and then the stripper would pull it out of the grain.

Can't wait to try the application of the gel stain!

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by charlesquimby » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:29 pm

At this point you may have to bleach everything out and start fresh. Sounds like using stripper is only compounding the problem by smearing the stain around. I would stay away from sealer until the stain is to your satisfaction, then seal. CQ

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:24 pm

Charles, will the bleach remove the remaining stain?? If so, that would be a much simpler procedure.

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by charlesquimby » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:53 pm

You may find that more than one application of bleach will be necessary; I use "Super Wood" from the Burton L Norton Co. Neutralize with white vinegar after the bleach dries, and give the vinegar application ample time to dry completely. When you are satisfied that the job is dry, the result should be almost white. Look carefully for splotching and/or waterlines. You will need bright lighting with no shadowing to aid in the examination. If you find spots bleach again. Once you obtain a splotch-free surface, palm-sand lightly 100/120/150 with the grain. Illumination of the work surface is critical. Natural outside lighting, of course, is best but hard to obtain this time of year. Try to avoid flourescent lighting. I use several halogens and "bounce" the light off of a white ceiling to eliminate shadows. Remember that bleaching will remove stain, but not varnish or sealers. Be sure to allow full drying following bleach and neutralizing operations. Depending on drying times, topsides bleaching may take up to a week on an 18-footer. Just as painting cars, it is all in the prepwork. When you get the wood prepwork right, laying on the varnish is a pleasure. I have always used pigment stain and cannot speak for jells...Charley Q

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mbigpops
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by mbigpops » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:55 am

I just finished staining my first boat ever with filler stain. I did the entire boat myself (all 17 feet) and I had no issues whatsoever.

I even ran out of stain halfway through the deck, replenished, and applied the next day. You cannot tell where I stopped and re-started.

To me the key is in the preparation of the wood leading up to staining. If you throroughly sand through the grits and keep inspecting your work then the staining process will go smoothly. It is very time consuming and hard work - especially if you hand sand everything like I did - but well worth it in th end.

Mark
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George Emmanuel
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:23 pm

It looks like you have all new planking??--If so, that does ease the application. In my case the planks have been bleached 4 times and neutralized. So I'm not sure you would have experienced the same thing I did.

To clarify my hull issues, the shop that did my bottom suggested that I re-do the sides. The reasoning being a new bottom will put more stress on the side planking since things will move differently (TIGHT BOTTOM, LOOSER SIDE PLANKING), which I totally agree with. The problem was that I assumed he was going to "replace" the side planking,--he didn't. He skinned the sides with Okume, ran the old planks through a planer to adjust for the thickness of the skin, and reapplied the old planks bedding them in epoxy to the skin, which was bedded in 5200. Three of the original planks had been replaced with Honduras prior to my purchase and the grain did not come close to the Phillipine. Honduras is also darker. When I picked up, the boat I was disappointed to say the least, but my boat is a user boat and I thought I could make it work. Had the shop replaced the Honduras with Phillipine, I'd have no problem. So to get a color blend, I had to bleach---a bunch. Now I'm thinking the bleaching may cause different staining issues than I've dealt with in the past.

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mbigpops
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by mbigpops » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:38 pm

One of the planks in my photo is original. Can you tell ?

I did not bleach so I cannot comment on that.

Mark
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:19 pm

All I can see is a grain difference! Nice job.

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by charlesquimby » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:39 am

Unfortunately, in most cases, Philippine and Honduras will not stain equally even if the prep of both woods is identical regarding bleaching and staining. From your description of the work performed by the "restorer" you are probably looking at a permanent problem... CQ

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by George Emmanuel » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:56 am

Charles,

Oh, I know that, but the goal was to try to blend as best as possible. It is more of a grain difference than color at this point.

You mentioned in an earlier post that bleaching will remove the remaining filler stain,---is that correct? So far it has been a pain trying to get it all off. Strippers won't stay wet long enough to "float" the filler stain out. If bleaching will remove the stain, I'd be extremely happy!

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by charlesquimby » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:07 pm

It has been my experience (certainly not vast) that bleach removes stain color from woods. Aside from the possibility that the stain is "locked" in chemically by vehicles such as sealers, etc., bleach should remove it. At this point I am as flummoxed as you are.... Charley Q

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John DeVries
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by John DeVries » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:41 am

Try lacquer thinner and a 3M "scrubby pad". Scrub hard and keep the surface wet with thinner. This will lift the stain into a slurry which can be wiped up with a towel. This may take two or three applications to get all of the stain out.

John

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Re: Staining Technique

Post by tkhersom » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:55 pm

That white sided Sportsman I have been drooling over is sounding better all the time. :)

Sorry, I don't mean to make light of your troubles, but I have no experience with this so that is all I can think right now.
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Captain Nemo
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Re: Staining Technique

Post by Captain Nemo » Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:57 pm

As John said I would try the lacquer thinner and the scrubby pad. That should get the gooey part of the stain. You might have to bleach again to get the last of it.
If you are getting cross grain streaks when rubbing the stain on you can go w/ the grain lightly the last few rubs that should eliminate the streaking.
Boats are to be made of wood, otherwise, God would have grown fiberglass trees.

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