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I'm making butcher-block style counter tops from reclaimed hardwood flooring (oak, I think). I plan to finish it with Waterlox sealer, but my wife is concerned that the sealer will color the wood too orange, and following some advice from pinterest, wanted me to stain it white with a pickling stain to counteract the color from the sealer.

I have had a horrible time with this stain. I applied it once and it was pretty blotchy, so I re-sanded the surface and used a wood conditioner, but when the second attempt was only slightly better, it's still pretty blotchy. I've never had so many problems with a stain, I'm guessing it's because the stain has to be partially opaque to give such a white color.

I'm running out of time on this project, it needs to be finished soon. My wife hopes that the sealer will even out some of the streaks, but I kind of doubt it will do much. Is there something I could do to fix the stain?

Further information: both the stain and the conditioner I used were water-based, Minwax brand.

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I would say that you need to follow the directions on both the conditioner and the stain very carefully. It says to sand in the direction of the grain with sand paper and not with steel wool, and it needs to be applied with a synthetic bristle brush and not a natural bristle brush because it is water based.

If that doesn't help, then I would experiment with a new product. I might first apply a sealer coat and then carefully apply a coat of white rustoleum enamel thinned very heavily with paint thinner (mineral spirits). I did this to some old douglas fur and it looked really cool. However, I don't have a recommendation for a durable top coat. Epoxy would surly work if you want to go that route but it gets pricey and messy and there's a problem with bubbles that form after it's applied. The rustoleum enamel is oil based so an oil based poly would be ok on top of it I think but I wouldn't try any other oils like tung oil, tru oil, etc.

Another thing you might want to look into is wood dye, not a stain but a dye! Usually water based, I believe, they're used to lighten or darken the color of wood and change the way the grain looks.

Get creative!

  • Yep try the dye. Or explore alcohol or lawyer based stains. – Kris Jan 31 '18 at 12:28

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