I am refinishing a 1940's pine miracle door and am having issues with splotching of the dark stain on the inner panel. I am using minwax dark walnut for stain. Applying the stain with a stain sponge and immediately following up with a t-shirt to remove any excess stain and also blend. I also used a stain conditioner prior to staining, but even with all of this I am still having issues. Any suggestions to remedy this? The image is after one coat of stain. Thank you for any advice you might have!
First, Minwax wiping stains are inferior...so is there conditioner...in fact the only thing they do well is marketing. Step up to Sherwin Williams BAC or Old Masters and you'll never look back. Having said that, in this case you need a gel stain. Second, conditioner although indispensable when working with soft woods, will only get you so far. With a quality piece like your door you really need to start with a sprayed alcohol based dye stain, then conditioner, then gel stain (not wiping or penetrating). Once you're satisfied with the color, seal it with a good sanding sealer that's compatible with your ultimate finish. At this point if you choose you can add a glaze, but make sure it too is compatible. In particular if you plan to use a Sikkens varnish you'll want to avoid glazing. Now it's time for finish. I personally like a pre-cat lacquer but occasionally we spray conversion varnish too. If you don't have a booth you'll probably want to stick to varnish or poly-urethane which can be brushed on easily. If its for exterior use, use a spar varnish or Sikkens (bearing in mind the compatibility issues). Cheers!