I bought a Jarvis/Fully bamboo desktop and am trying to darken the finish.
To do this, I started on the bottom of the desktop and tried out the steps on a small portion by:
- first sanding away the previous finish
- applying two coats of Varathane Gel Stain (picture attached), waiting a day or so before applying the 2nd coat.
- putting on 5 layers of Varathane water-based interior polyurethane, waiting 2-6 hours between coats.
I noticed the grain is a bit raised. This could be because I did not sand enough before putting on the gel stain or because the poly raised the grain. I don't remember how much I sanded to begin with, so I cannot say for sure. Regardless, I tried lightly sanding a spot with 220 grit sandpaper, against the grain (it was just a test, I know I shouldn't do this for the real thing), and I lightly sanded another spot with 400 grit sandpaper. In both cases, the sandpaper just about immediately took off some of the gel stain.
Is this likely due to the stain being a gel stain, which sits more on top of the surface than a traditional/real stain? Or do you suspect there is a different issue?
Note: my thought is that, for the real project, I will make sure to sand the surface up to a very high grit so the surface is very smooth. But this will not prevent the grain raise, if that was the issue in the first place. If there is grain raise, I'd like to be able to smooth it out.
lightly sanding with 400 grit with the grain (notice that some stain has been removed):
lightly sanding with 220 grit against the grain (notice that some stain has been removed):