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I used MinWax Polyshades on new paneled pine doors resulting in a blotchy finish. Would it be better to apply a second coat, try a gel stain or a regular stain to improve looks? I have seen suggestions for all of those. Also, some say sand first and some say apply the conditioner that I should have used in the first place. Which is the better solution?

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  • Pine is notorious for blotching, and is among the worst woods for this. And although Polyshades probably won't be worst for this it certainly won't be the best. "Would it be better to apply a second coat, try a gel stain or a regular stain to improve looks?" This is a bit of an open-ended Question, which isn't a good fit for the StackExchange format (where the goal is to provide a definitive or canonical Answer, where possible). So in short, we can't answer the heart of this query since it depends on what colour you want the doors to be, and what level of blotching you're happy to live with. – Graphus Mar 29 at 5:53
  • Re. some of the alternate fixes though, there's likely to be zero benefit to applying 'conditioner' now. My guess is nobody who suggests this has ever actually done it after a first coat of Polyshades. Now "regular stain" can mean a number of things so that's the first negative point, but all stains require access to basically bare wood to work properly (and some MUST have this) and you no longer have that. So this is another stupid suggestion. The only viable options now are to continue to apply Polyshades or switch to 'gel stain'.... [contd] – Graphus Mar 29 at 6:00
  • ....both products are in essence coloured varnish, just different thicknesses. "and some say apply the conditioner that I should have used in the first place" Actually there's no "should have" here, there are a number of ways of approaching this and the majority don't rely on using a commercial 'conditioner' product! Arguably THE way to do this, to colour any pine in fact, is to use 'gel stain' — as one finishing guru puts it, it's so well suited to the purpose that it might as well be called 'pine stain' :-) – Graphus Mar 29 at 6:03
  • No input on the above Janice? If you want to withdraw the Q then please self-delete it. If you don't then months (or years!) down the line we have to make the call that this was abandoned when this bobs back up to the top, as all Qs without upvoted Answers do periodically unless locked. – Graphus Mar 31 at 10:29

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