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What To Do When Stain Dries Too Fast

Added/Modified on January 8, 2017
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Unlike oil stains, water-based stains and lacquer stains dry very fast. On large or complex surfaces you may have trouble getting the excess stain wiped off before it dries. If this happens, you’ll be left with streaks.

Streaks from dried stain

If you have this situation, try to correct it by quickly wiping the surface with more of the same stain. The fresh stain will reliquify the streaks unless the stain has dried too much. Then work faster to remove the excess or work on smaller areas at a time.

If the stain dries hard, you may have to use paint stripper to get the streaks removed. Then sand lightly and restain. You don’t need to sand all the color out of the wood before restaining.

To avoid the problem to begin with, divide your project into smaller sections and work on each of these separately, or get a second person to help—one applying the stain, the other wiping off.

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