There has been a bit of a problem with the finish on my boomerang tables. I don’t know what happened. The stain went on just fine, but when I tried to apply the polyurethane finish, the stain began to come off in places:
The picture to the left shows an area on the wood where the stain did not penetrate the surfaces. I met a gentleman at the Elks Lodge where I swing dance who is a carpenter, and asked him what he thought might be going on. He said that a lot of composite wood for home woodworking is glued together. What I likely am seeing is an area where the glue got wiped off. The thin film of glue left over is undetectable and the surface of the wood looked beautiful to me. But experienced woodworkers know to sand their wood before embarking on any staining or finishing steps.
I asked if I could sand and refinish the few areas that were flawed. He said I could try, but he did not hold a lot of hope for the results. It turns out I had a lot of work ahead of me. Taking the polyurethane and the stain back down to the wood and then patching the stain and refinishing the patched areas made a total mess.
The stain over-lapped the pre-finished areas and did not come off with buffing or with refinishing. Ugh. I had to take the whole project down to the grain of the wood and start over again. All that careful application, days of drying time, and reapplication was for naught. Except, of course, for the education.
I’m philosophical. Woodworking teaches patience. There is a reason Christ was a carpenter! Wood keeps you humble. And being new at any project teaches presence. The smell and look and texture of the wood is so earthy and sensual. The flow of the stain is so different than paint. How the stain interacts with the thirsty wood requires diligent and proper handling. This table is full of flaws and has my clumsy hands all over it, despite my best efforts to be careful or cover it.