Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Unstaining

Q: My stepson recently purchased stain from the cabinet supplier of his kitchen. The plan was to match the color to his unfinished crown molding. The color is wrong. Since the molding has contours, it can’t be easily sanded off. Is there a solution for stripping down to bare wood?
A: Most stains can be scrubbed at least part way off with lacquer thinner on nylon abrasive pads. It won’t remove all the stain, but you may get enough off that you can restain with something that adjusts for the problems while bringing you up to the color you want. That can be done either with a second stain operation on raw wood, or with a toner, which is stain mixed in coating. Either way you will need to mix a custom color stain to compensate for what you could not remove, and add whatever colors are missing from what you want to end up with. This is not necessarily a job for a neophyte as it does take some skill with color matching and compensating.