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Question DetailsAsked on 9/22/2016

do you have to sand to bare wood to restain

i bought a table and i want it a different color i sanded it but not all the way down to bare wood can i put stain on over the lighter stain

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Voted Best Answer

You can sand enough to roughen the surface fully (to provide "tooth" for the new finish to bond to) and then prime and paint it with paint - or restain it.

Generally with stain (which does not give a full coating), to avoid the dark and light streaking that occurs due to the previous finish having penetrated more in the softer grain, you want to use a sanding sealer after the sanding you did (which should have removed the "gloss" and made a fairly uniform surface - either roughened up stain or basically all bare wood with some residual stain showing, but not a mixture of the two conditions) - the sealer keeps the new stain from soaking into the open grain more than that which is still closed from the original stain. Make sure you use a STAINING sanding sealer, not paint pre-sealer, if staining. IF painting you can seal, but generally a good primer will handle the prep, followed by the paint itself in two coats at least.

And of course bear in mind there was most likely a clear finish over the stain - urethane or varnish or such - if you do not TOTALLY remove that (usually with a chemical stripper but can be scraped and sanded) then a penetrating stain will "take" not at all or only where you scratched through the clear coat - a get stain can bond (not as well) to a sanded clear coat of compatible material, but is then basically a smeared on color with the "grain" being due to the brush or raqg streaking rather than a "staining" - more like a faux finish, in that case.

IF you stain without a clear sanding sealer you will get darker color in the more open, porous grain and much less penetration in the hard, fine grain - can be quite dramatic in many hardwoods, generally less so in softwoods. Generally more dramatic with more penetration time before wiping down.

Then for the finish coat (and two light coats should work better than one heavy) use a gel type stain like from Varathane over the sealer. Unless you know the prior stain was oil based, you should use a water based gel (soap and water cleanup rather than paint thinner/mineral spirits) to avoid risk of lifting and blistering the original coat in case it was water based. The gel finish is heavy-body - will actually "cover" in two coats if you want, though you can also leave a fair amount of the grain showing if you want - depends on how long you let it soak in before rubbing it out (a minute or two or 5 minutes or so), and how much you rub it out. Remember - you can darken with another coat but you can't lighten without starting over. Usually rag works better than brush for rubbing it out (can be used for application too) - I use inside-out tube socks over rubber or latex (depending on thype of solvent in stain) gloves over my hands.

Of course, for professional looking results, especially if looking to leave some of the grain showing pretty clearly so using a "light" or penetrating stain rather than gel, then more sanding (always with the grain at least for final sanding passes) would be advised - down to basically no stain color showing, even though some of the pores will still be partly filled at that point from the prior staining. Just be aware of what you are sanding into - if a very thin veneer you cannot risk going through that (can be as thin as 1/32 and most commonly 1/16 to 1/8" thick on veneered furniture).

Professional refinishing, if you end up wanting to go that way, falls under the Search the List category of Furniture - Repair and Refinishing.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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