Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Problems you run into when finishing a wood project!

An update on what seems to be the longest project ever, finishing our basement bar. We were going along so well, I filled the holes and cracks and my husband and I both sanded and prepped for the finishing process. It looked so nice.....until I started staining it, then all these flaws started showing up. Some couldn't be avoided, like, the condition of the plywood that you buy. The first two pictures that you see we're problems that do not show up on unfinished plywood. You would think that, when buying "finished" plywood, it would be finish ready. Well, if the  stores don't take precautionary measures to make sure their inventory doesn't get wet etc. this is what you end up with. It is very disappointing when this happens, and there is nothing you can do to fix it. 

This was the first problem I noticed, someone set a wet container or something on this piece, you can clearly see the rings that showed up after I applied the stain. You can't sand it out so it is here to stay. Thank goodness it is on the stretch of bar that is against the wall that no one will see.

This photo shows a huge drip that happened before we bought it. Not visible to the naked eye when you purchase the wood. We won't even go buy plywood when it's snowing or raining just for this reason. Thankfully for us, we used this piece on the base at the end of the bar where the refrigerator will go.

This was my fault, the "polka dots" that you see happened when I filled the nail holes. The putty took the stain really well, I just think I over sanded these areas and closed up the wood grain so it couldn't take the stain and/or there was still some putty residue that never got completely sanded off.

Soooo, I sanded it all down, again, using 100 grit sandpaper to open up the grain and sand off any putty residue that I may have missed. Then I went and bought a wood conditioner, a sanding sealer, that is suppose to even out the color. I think that did help, I had never used it before so I don't know, but whatever the problem was, I fixed it! Thank goodness, we really wanted a nice wooden bar, because if this didn't work I would have painted the base and soffit. Then my next dilemma would have been, "What color looks good with Greenbay Gold & Green?!"

So this is where I'm at now, I am using an oil based stain so I can only do a few sections a day before the fumes start getting to me. There are still a few imperfections but Rick did want the bar to look a little rustic so any imperfections now are just that....rustic looking!

The top turned out beautifully and I am so thankful for that, this is what people are going to see.

So tomorrow I will finish the staining and then I can start the varnishing process after it has dried for a few days. I really want to use an oil based poly, but it stinks so bad I may cave and use water-base. I just think that oil based products give a much richer looking finish.

I don't know what the moral of this story is, maybe go to a reputable "lumber store" for your wood instead of a big box store. Maybe they take better care to keep their wood in perfect shape. And, I have been told to fill holes AFTER you stain.


  1. We ran into the same situation with our project and the nail hole filler. I learned sometime ago from Harold Pelz that when wood won't accept stain you need to open the pores with a sandpaper that is a little more coarse. We cleaned the area with a little denatured alcohol and roughed it up slightly feathering it as we went. We then re-stained and it blended very well. Randy wanted to stain the bar himself and I knew his patience level would get the best of him!!!!! Sooo it was Deb to the rescue. We still have s few minor issues on the door and the closet door, but like you that was oak plywood too. Our bar turned out BEAUTIFUL. Just have the spar varnish to coat it with and plan to start that tonight!!! I will be doing that so Randy doesn't stress out over it! LOL I will send pics when we get it done. Good luck with the rest of your project.

    1. Thanks Deb! I will be so anxious to get this project done and I am so happy that it turned out as well as it did (as far as my nail hole problem!) Rick did an awesome job building it, now it's my job to make it look pretty! I can't wait to see yours! Can't wait to have a few glasses of vino at OUR bars!

  2. Anonymous2:51:00 PM

    It looks awesome and can't wait for our visit next year to have a few at the bar. we can crawl to bed from there this year. Glad it turned out ok for you

  3. Anonymous2:52:00 PM

    Yah!!!!!!!!!!!! I did it. I figured out my problem.

  4. Lol! Please tell what the problem was, maybe others are having the same problem

  5. Anonymous10:22:00 AM

    You do have to create the Google account. It was pretty easy but I didn't have that before so I didn't think I needed it. I have a different Google account that I thought would work but it didn't


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