I'm pretty much a total amateur when it comes to staining. My husband hung unfinished pine doors in all our rooms about 8 years ago but never got around to staining (he really is a busy guy so no shaming intended). Now that I'm retired and have the time I took on the project. Every door I did came out outstanding (if I say so myself) except of course the last which is the only door visible from the living area. As I was sanding it outside, a sun shower started and although the door did not get soaked, only sprinkled on, I dried it over a couple of days and then pulled it outside again and gave it a good sanding. Now I have a freckled door. I am using Old Masters Gel in Walnut. Is there anything I can do saving me from having to buy a new door? Appreciate any input! enter image description here

  • I'm afraid your only option at this point on this door is to strip back to bare wood and start again. It's a horrible job on something with lots of moulding details so quite frankly you'd probably want to buy a new door. Other than the spots that's a very nice finish BTW, congrats. – Graphus Nov 16 '17 at 8:39
  • Just as I thought but a girl can dream... Thanks so much for your help. Much appreciated! – Mary Tielve Nov 17 '17 at 15:04
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    I have a crazy idea that you may or may not like... go super dark with additional coats of stain in the spots that are going to be terrible to sand (side bands of the raised panel). If you hate the look, you're not much further behind than you were. If that suits, sand the flat parts to bare wood, per Graphus. Refinish the bare wood. – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 17 '17 at 15:45
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    You could attach a little bit of red yarn to the top of the door. When anyone asks, tell them this door turned out to be a red-head, complete with freckles! :D – FreeMan Nov 17 '17 at 19:05
  • Aloysius Defenestrate thank you I did go a couple of shades darker and the spots are a bit lighter. Going for Jacobean next so wish me luck! – Mary Tielve Nov 19 '17 at 3:00

Before buying a new door I would try to wipe the stain with its intended solvent and try to even out the door.

The thinking here is that by rubbing the area door with mineral spirits (Old Masters is an oil based stain) you can soften and spread out the stain. I would be pretty generous with the mineral spirits: you might need two small cans of it.

You want your cloth to be pretty saturated, and to cover an area, and then re-work it as the stain will take some time to soften. Obviously, wear gloves, and do this in a well ventilated area.

I bet you can work out a uniform appearance, and it won't be an insane amount of work.

There is some risk that this door could be slightly different in appearance (possibly both color and darkness) than the other door. If that is a major concern a new door is the most likely way to get it to match the other doors exactly.

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    Two things, this Q is from 2017 so I imagine they've sorted this out by now one way or another. Second, the OP says they're using "gel stain" which are typically coloured varnishes and not stain in the conventional sense, so become insoluble in MS when dry. – Graphus Jun 28 '19 at 7:01
  • @Graphus, does posting an answer to an old question violate the guidelines for this Exchange? If not, your comment isn't constructive. Also, lucky for us the OP specified the exact gel stain, and Mineral Spirits are specifically listed as a solvent for cleanup by the manufacturer, meaning that it will still dissolve the dry gel. myoldmasters.com/product/gel-stain – Paul Davis Jul 1 '19 at 15:35
  • Late Answer are perfectly fine Paul, especially on Questions that haven't received any Answers yet. About your other point, the OP had this problem late in 2017 and therefore the stain will long ago have ceased being soluble in its original solvent so there's no way this could work now. – Graphus Jul 1 '19 at 16:05
  • @Graphus, on what information are you basing that claim? Solvents continue to soften a finish indefinitely, I have not experienced a clear limit to this. It can take longer to soften a very well cured finish, but a solvent will still soften the finish. I respect that you may disagree with this point, but if I were asked to fix a door that looked like this, redistributing the stain with a solvent will definitely be something I would try on a section of the piece before taking on more extreme approaches. – Paul Davis Jul 1 '19 at 17:47
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    This is universally true of drying oils. You can easily dissolve fresh and fresh-ish linseed oil and other drying oils with any solvent initially used to dilute, but as curing progresses they become increasingly insoluble. And once fully cured they're basically insoluble in spirits (they will soften, if you use enough and wait a bit, but not dissolve). With varnishes, and "gel stain" is typically varnish as I say above, the resin component makes them completely insoluble in the original solvent — this is why you can clean enamel-painted and varnished surfaces with MS. – Graphus Jul 2 '19 at 7:02

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