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Today I learned that staining when its really hot out is a really bad idea. My stain dried almost as soon as i applied it and started to look like shit. I panicked, brought the thing i was working on into my cold basement and used a brush soaked in mineral spirits to remove the stain and then wiped most of it off with paper towels.


  1. Can I let the thing dry outside, and apply stain (inside this time) without first sanding the areas affected?
  2. Was it indeed the temperature that caused my failure? My stain is also pretty old and I plan on buying new stuff asap
  3. I used a "pre-stain" product before i stained, do i need to re-apply that?
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

1) As far as Mineral Spirits are concerned, you can apply stain as soon as the wood appears to be "dry" again (it will look "wet" until the mineral spirits have evaporated). However, see #3.

2) Most likely -- stain typically contains a thinner as a carrier, which dries more quickly in warmer temperatures. The age of the stain should not be a factor, unless it has lost the thinning agent due to the container not being sealed well -- this would make the stain appear darker. You can add back thinner to counter-act that. Thinner, in this case, is most likely mineral spirits -- you can use a retarder to slow the drying process if necessary.

3) The pre-stain more than likely has dried, curing the resins. A light sanding and a re-application within 15 minutes or so of staining should give you better results -- trying to re-stain after the drying and without sanding may cause the pre-stain to reject more of the stain than you'd like.

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