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post #1 of 12 Old 08-19-2012, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Im in the process of trying to finish my LRC set that I just built. On the front baffle i used plywood that I wanted to stain black.

I am having these tiny inperfections with the stain. This is the third coat of ebony stain and its still a little wet, but as you can see from the picture there are these bubbles.

Im pretty sure its from the plywood as I veneered the sides and then applyed the same amount of stain to those and they came out looking great. The sides and top are ready for sealent.

Can i sand the impefections out? Would it be better to sand off the stain completely and start over?

Any advice?

TIA
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-19-2012, 06:40 PM
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Plywood is tough to finish when the goal is a uniform surface with no grain showing.

My solution has been to seal the surface and build up a nice thickness of water based poly varnish. Then paint that. Basically you end up with a smooth plastic coating over the entire surface that you then paint. Works on mdf and plywood.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-19-2012, 07:29 PM
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not sure what is causing the bubbling (perhaps some interaction between the solvents in the stain the ply glue?), but if you end up sanding it down and/or starting all over...don't feel alone, even some of the more advanced guys perform a complete redo from time to time...

if you don't mind sacrificing the grain look, sand and strip off all that badness, clean with undenatured alcohol, hit it with a high build primer a few times, sand it smooth then finish up with a matte black paint.

the only time that i can recall getting bubbles was when i was using shellac that was not sufficiently thinned. perhaps your material is too thick? but that wouldn't explain why your veneered panels took to just fine...i don't know.

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post #4 of 12 Old 08-19-2012, 07:49 PM
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I would try sanding out the imperfections with steel wool, and then applying the stain as smooth as possible. If youre still getting the bubbles then sand/prime/paint like everyone else is suggesting.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-19-2012, 09:27 PM
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There isn't enough info for me to tell you exactly the cause of this, but my initial diagnosis is out gassing. I say that because you say the stain is still "wet". Tell me how you are applying the stain, what brand, solvent base, time frame you're waiting for "dry" before wiping off, etc and I can steer you in the right direction. My advice would be to solvent wipe (with the appropriate thinner only) to remove the out gassing blisters. From there you should be able to reapply another coat of stain. You need to wipe your excess stain off after 5-20minutes. Otherwise you can create adhesion issues or out gassing problems when top coating with clears or multiple layers of stain.
It is very difficult to stain any wood black without first dying the wood, and then staining with a heavily tinted ebony stain. When I do kitchen cabinet work I always charge more for deep colors such as black, because it never comes out the way people want without the added step of dye staining.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-20-2012, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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There isn't enough info for me to tell you exactly the cause of this, but my initial diagnosis is out gassing. I say that because you say the stain is still "wet". Tell me how you are applying the stain, what brand, solvent base, time frame you're waiting for "dry" before wiping off, etc and I can steer you in the right direction. My advice would be to solvent wipe (with the appropriate thinner only) to remove the out gassing blisters. From there you should be able to reapply another coat of stain. You need to wipe your excess stain off after 5-20minutes. Otherwise you can create adhesion issues or out gassing problems when top coating with clears or multiple layers of stain.

I used minwax ebony stain (http://www.amazon.com/Minwax-70013-Quart-Finish-Interior/dp/B000SDRJFS/ref=pd_sim_hi_16.

Bare with me ive never stained before, so this was my process.

I applied a coat to all the boxes, but did not wipe away after a time period. I then waited about 8 hours or so to apply another coat and once again didnt wipe away excess. I did this yet again for the third and final coat. I used a staining pad for the first 2 coats and then a sponge brush for the last.

That image was taken after about 5 hours of drying on the third coat, but i started noticing the imperfections on the second coat.

Im assuming that the plywood needed more prep work than the veneer because the veneer turned out really well using the same process.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-20-2012, 04:58 PM
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You wouldn't be the first I've heard of who didn't wipe the excess stain. The nice thing is you can fix the problem fairly easily. Try lightly solvent wiping with mineral spirits on a rag. This should rewet the "dried" stain and remove the blisters. If not, you could do the same solvent wiping with lacquer thinner instead of mineral spirits. This will likely cause some unevenness to your stain, so make sure you do a small test spot in an inconspicuous place. You can likely remove all of the dried stain with the lacquer thinner rag, and then restain to even out the finish. This time be sure you wipe the unpenetrated stain from the surface after 10-30mins. Again Minwax ebony does not penetrate amazingly, and isn't heavily pigmented so don't expect to have a solid color black by using this product.
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-20-2012, 06:58 PM
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That min wax black isn't a good stain at all. I got the guys at sherwin Williams to do one up and they put way more lamp black in it. The other guy is right. Without using a wood dye first it won't be a really deep black. But you can get a deeper black stain from Sherwin Williams, and that should help quite a bit.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 01:04 PM
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I had some bubbles in my veneer when I was putting on a coat of pre-stain. I let it dry over night and they pretty much went away.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 01:18 PM
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Ive always had some small ones too, but once I have clearcoated, after a layer or two of that, they are covered up.

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post #11 of 12 Old 08-21-2012, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyng_fool View Post

That min wax black isn't a good stain at all. I got the guys at sherwin Williams to do one up and they put way more lamp black in it. The other guy is right. Without using a wood dye first it won't be a really deep black. But you can get a deeper black stain from Sherwin Williams, and that should help quite a bit.

Go this route and insist they make it in Sherwood BAC Wiping Stain (Sherwin's commercial wood finishing line). If you can find a better custom stain locally I'll personally stain and finish every speaker you ever make. biggrin.gif
There is also a dye system that goes with the Sherwood line. If you are fairly local I have some ebony dye I would be more than happy to lend or show you how to use.
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Ive always had some small ones too, but once I have clearcoated, after a layer or two of that, they are covered up.

They are likely being rewet by the solvents in the clear and allowed to then out gas.
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I had some bubbles in my veneer when I was putting on a coat of pre-stain. I let it dry over night and they pretty much went away.

Keep in mind prestain conditioners, stain, and dyes are all meant to be penetrating products not film building. Therefore you need to remove excess product rather than "let it dry" This is what causes outgassing blisters, adhesion issues, muddying of the stain (by rewetting and then dragging by brush/rag).

Hopefully this will help prevent any stain issues in the future
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post #12 of 12 Old 08-22-2012, 10:12 PM
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I actually did the same thing as you... but I also know that stains really are meant to be wiped off. I probably should have looked at dyeing first, but I just let it dry. I sanded it lightly with 220, did it again with no wipe, then used 0000 or 5 O and applied once more. It was super hot and so mine dried over night. I only used a brush. No wipe. This way I was able to get a nice coat on top with no imperfections.

I chose to do this because I like to see the wood grain. Paint will typically hide the grain, so I went this route. BTW, I used MInwax Ebony as well. For my final, I used a Varathane poly to seal it and make it shine. I also used 5 0 or 6 ) to smooth out before I applied the poly. Even though it gets a bit clouldy after "sanding" with the steel wool, the poly will take care of that. Looks awesome.

In my opinion, just sand them out, and apply another coat. Hopefully the bubbles do not continue to come back. If they do, then I would probably take it all off and try again.

Good Luck
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