How to correct blotchy wood stains

Written by wade shaddy
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How to correct blotchy wood stains
Fix blotchy stain jobs by sanding properly. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Blotchy wood stains are caused by poor wood preparation. Stain is absorbed at an even rate, and it penetrates evenly when wood is prepared property. This results in consistent colour. When the surface of the wood is sanded unevenly, the stain absorption rate varies, causing blotches. Sandpaper can cause uneven sanding results as well. To repair a blotchy sanding job, you will have to remove the old stain and re-sand with heavy grit sandpaper to obtain even stain penetration.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Sanding block
  • Sandpaper, 100 grit
  • Stain
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Aerosol lacquer
  • Sandpaper, 180 grit

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  1. 1

    Sand the blotchy surface of the wood with 100 grit sandpaper on a hand block. Sand with the grain. Use short strokes to remove any lacquer top coat. Sand down to the bare wood. Examine the wood. If you can still see colour differences, keep sanding until the wood is consistent and evenly coloured.

  2. 2

    Apply the stain to the wood with a soft sponge. Dip the sponge into the stain, and apply it directly to the wood. Work fast to wet the surface of the wood consistently. When the wood is wet with stain, immediately wipe it off with a soft cloth. Examine the wood. If you can see any blotches, stain again. Let the stain dry for 30 minutes.

  3. 3

    Spray the wood with a light coat of lacquer. Let it dry for 30 minutes, and sand the wood with 180 grit sandpaper in the palm of your hand. Finish by spraying the wood with one more coat of lacquer.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use oil based stain. Oil stain can penetrate deeper and is harder to control. Oil based stain often results in blotchy colours.
  • Always wear breathing and eye protection when working with finishing products.

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