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alongslowdrift 06-30-2013 04:16 PM

Bulkhead refinishing question
Well, I've been redoing all the bulkheads from my Balboa 26. Cut new ones out of 1/2" marine grade ply, Mahagony veeners, and then 3 coats of a Min-Wax Bombay mahagony stain.

The problem is, after 3 coats of stain the wood grain has all but disappeared. There is a deep lustre and great reflection coming off the finish, but it just doesn't have that mahagony look anymore. My dad's ever-helpful and critical comment was that it "looks like a chinese restaurant." I can't unhear that...

What would you guys recommend? Accept it and move forward with the boat? Should I sand off the finish and start over? Can I use my rotary sander to do that or will that destroy the veneers? What other options are there for removing the finish?

I feel like i just need to hear some opinions.


minnow1193 06-30-2013 04:48 PM

Is the minwax product the stain and poly together in one can? Polyshades I believe is what it's called.

Siamese 06-30-2013 05:45 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
Bad product for what you wanted to do. Those veneers tend to be pretty thin, so getting it off is unlikely. Better choice would have been satin varnish or a light oil base stain followed by varnish. Darn.

Sabreman 06-30-2013 06:16 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
Why did you put mahogany stain on mahogany? As Siamese said, a satin finish like Minwax Helsman or Minwax wipe-on poly is all that you need. The interior of Victoria is done in satin and gloss (high wear areas) Minwax.

Only use stains to make one type of wool look like another. You may want to do it over or paint white. Don't even think about trying to sand or take it off, it won't work. Bummer, but that's how we learn.

deltaten 06-30-2013 06:20 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
If its not poly shades..... copious amts of paint thinner and lots a towelihng. Then scrub alla that pigment off till ya see grain....then finish w/choice of oils.

Ulladh 06-30-2013 06:23 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
It is possible to lift minwax Polyshades in the first few days maybe a week with mineral spirits on a cotton cloth. It will not get all the stain off but may lighten the tone enough to show grain.

bobmcgov 06-30-2013 06:41 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
Pigmented stains are, not to put too fine a point on it, ground up dirt. They are semi-opaque & will obscure the wood beneath. One reason I don't use them in my business.:) You may be able to peel the finish, sand out most of the pigment, and try again. If you must color decent wood, try a transparent dye like Homestead's TransTints or Transfasts. Those I go thru by the gallon. Btw, the historical colorant for mahogany to achieve that 'oxblood' red was potassium dichromate, aka bichromate of potash. Very nasty -- you don't want it.;)

alongslowdrift 06-30-2013 06:44 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
Alas, I guess I will live with my too-dark bulkheads to my ever-lasting shame. Learning things the hard way, but still learning none-the-less. I'm ready to get all these projects done so I can actually do some sailing this year.

alongslowdrift 06-30-2013 06:50 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
Well, with the whirlwind of misinformation flying around my head, I guess I will run this question by you guys as well. With this Minwax polyshades product, should I bother going through with adding a couple coats of a spar varnish on top of it? Is that unnecessary because the Minwax already has the polyurethane? Getting the bulkheads back in a few days sooner would be a positive outcome of this situtation.

bobmcgov 06-30-2013 08:48 PM

Re: Bulkhead refinishing question
Oh dear ... it was Polyshades? I do loathe that stuff. At least a separate stain & varnish puts the pigment at the surface of the wood, where it lies flat. Polyshades is what you call a toner coating -- it suspends pigment like chaff in the film, so it scatters light in all directions. That's why it's so horribly mud-like. Minwax should be ashamed of that product. It makes many customers sad.

I'd try a gel stripper on one face of one bulkhead. Nice thing about Polyshades is the color IS in the coating. So if you can remove the varnish, you should take most of the color off with it. Follow up with a light brass-brushing parallel to the grain, sand 150 + 180 grit, and try again.

Yeah, wood finishing has a learning curve. Doesn't help that so many manufactureres are so dishonest about their products. (FWIW, we did use Polyshades on our ceiling beams. I wanted a one-and-done process & figured, at 14 feet, who is gonna see em?)

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