I'm currently working on staining a 10' walnut butcher block counter:
I have done a lot to get everything together:
- Surface prep: sand at 320 grit using orbital, wipe using rubbing alcohol to remove wood dust, repeat until smooth.
- Pre-stain wood conditioner: stir well, apply using foam brush, wipe using dry rag to remove excess, wait a few minutes, wipe with wet rag, wipe with dry rag.
- Sand after pre-stain at 320 grit using orbital
Unfortunately, something really awful happened when I started sanding after conditioning:
Apparently some of the wood conditioner was left over, and turned into this tough syrupy residue, and sanding it simply spread it out and hardened it, leaving chunks of it all over the counter. To remove it, I had to sand and wipe with rubbing alcohol many, many times.
When I did the pre-stain on the other side, I was careful to wipe away all the excess and really make sure that nothing remained on the surface. I also hand-sanded with a 240 hand sanding sponge, wiped with rubbing alcohol, and then went to sand with my orbital at 320.
The hand sanding did not reveal any gunk, so I felt that I could proceed with the orbital. Unfortunately, yet again, gunk was left over, and I found this stuff on my sanding pad and on the counter surface again.
I'm going to work on removing this stuff using the sand/rub loop again today, and then the next goal is to actually apply the stain. I fear that I might run into the same issue with the stain.
What did I do wrong here? And what can I do better to avoid this while applying the actual stain?
This is the pre-stain, stain, and seal (not in order pictured) that I was planning on using:
It seems that:
- I didn't need to spend a couple days using pre-stain because I'm working with walnut.
- The high speed of the sander caused the conditioner to heat up and build residue.
Between applying the pre-stain to the bottom of the counter and sanding, I waited 48 hours. Between the pre-stain application to the top and sanding, I waited 20 minutes as per the instructions on the can.
I have made an Imgur album with pictures of the labels on the various items.
Since I appear to have gotten a lot wrong here, I'm not sure how to proceed. I can clean up the rest of the wood conditioner with alcohol and sanding, and I am not sure what to do next.
- If I should use a lower grit sandpaper, what grit should I use? I have everything from 40 to 320.
- Should I use the lower grit to prepare the surface for staining?
- Should I obtain and use mineral spirits instead of rubbing alcohol for clean-up?
I'm feeling a bit shaken as I did a fair bit of research on this, and this project in particular has taken a very long time to realize. Surface prep on one side to 320 was accomplished with three passes; surface prep on the other side took around 10 passes; cleaning up the residue took probably around 5 passes; hopefully cleaning the top will be easier.
My goal is a dark walnut shade and a satin finish, definitely not glossy.
Thank you for being such a welcoming community!