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I am working on staining some new, unfinished maple shelves. Unfortunately, I got careless and applied a layer of oil-based polyurethane instead of the pre-stain wood conditioner. Is there something I can do to salvage this project? Thanks.

  • First off know that what's sold variously as wood conditioner, pre-stain conditioner and blotch controller is usually nothing more than some kind of clear finish thinned more heavily.... so the "conditioner" you were planning on using could basically be polyurethane, albeit more dilute. What were you planning on staining the maple with (exact product) and what colour? – Graphus Dec 27 '18 at 0:22
  • We were going to use Varathane dark oak. – Bill L Dec 28 '18 at 1:06
  • Apologies Bill but I said exact product. Varathane is a brand name, and they make a wide range of wood-colouring products under that banner, including Premium Wood Stain, Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Premium Gel Stain, One Step Stain & Polyurethane Water-Based... these are all quite different from each other so it makes a big difference which one you chose. – Graphus Dec 28 '18 at 6:37
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If you have the ability to spray on a finish you could use something like PolyShades. I have not had any luck brushing it on, but I am extremely picky. I sprayed it on a maple cabinet that was primed with clear poly, it has held up will over 15 years.

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