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Old 10-09-2019, 12:51 PM   #1
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Staining and Painting Wood projects


I have been building wood games for a little while now and I have changed the way I do things but I am still not satisfied. I switched over to a dye stain because tape would not pull up the stain. I usually tape off a picture area, then I paint a detailed picture or emblem using acrylic interior paints on top of that. I finish by applying a few layers Poly acrylic top coat on top of that. Recently, I am noticing the lighter shade of paints are showing the stain coming through. How do I fix this? Do I put a sanding sealer on top of the stain? Will tape pull up the sanding sealer? Any advise would reduce my stress level!
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:32 PM   #2
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


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Originally Posted by KW346 View Post
I have been building wood games for a little while now and I have changed the way I do things but I am still not satisfied. I switched over to a dye stain because tape would not pull up the stain. I usually tape off a picture area, then I paint a detailed picture or emblem using acrylic interior paints on top of that. I finish by applying a few layers Poly acrylic top coat on top of that. Recently, I am noticing the lighter shade of paints are showing the stain coming through. How do I fix this? Do I put a sanding sealer on top of the stain? Will tape pull up the sanding sealer? Any advise would reduce my stress level!

Sealing with shellac will probably stop most of the bleed through. You can buy it as Zinsser Sealcoat...
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:05 PM   #3
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


Thank you for the info. Do you know if paint will pull up this sealer? I know frog tape will pull up Polyacrylic? I am trying to prepare for the worst.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:27 AM   #4
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


Solvent based primers/paints dry to a harder film than their latex counterpart and are less likely to be pulled off by tape - still need to give it time to cure.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:52 AM   #5
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


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Thank you for the info. Do you know if paint will pull up this sealer? I know frog tape will pull up Polyacrylic? I am trying to prepare for the worst.

Its important to sand to proper grit when top coating to ensure proper adheasion to the wood fibers. Sealer should be no finer than 150 grit typically. Polyacrylic is garbage anyway, toss that stuff and use polyurethane.

Last edited by cocomonkeynuts; 10-10-2019 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:32 AM   #6
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


As of now, here is my routine for cornhole boards and I have attached a sample. I use a birch plywood, I route it, sand them to smooth up until a 320 paper. I then apply a water based GF Dye Stain. I let it cure for 3 to 4 days minimum. I then use frog tape to tape off the area that I paint (currently using Valspar Interior latex paints for matching). I try to sand the large areas where I am going to paint but it is harder to sand the smaller areas. I do a large area with a roller and a brush and then I do any area where I have to hand paint which causes the paint to be slightly thinner. I then apply several coats of Poly Acrylic, sanding between each coat. The stain doesn't come through until I start applying the Poly Acrylic. Now, here are my questions:

As for the Zinsser Sealcoat, I have never used this so can I get away with 1 coat or 2? Do I sand it? Or do I tape right over it and then paint?

As for a solvent based paint, what do you recommend? Can it be mixed to match color since every project is different?

As for the Poly Acrylic, I may start experimenting with the Polyurethane but how bad does it yellow over time? I have had my original set for 5 years and they still look really good.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:41 AM   #7
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


320 grit is too smooth, you are effectively closing off the wood grain.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:52 AM   #8
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


Ok. So that I get it straight, I sand with the 320 paper and then apply the dye stain and then the sealer?
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:46 AM   #9
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


Normally 220 grit is fine enough for sanding painted or poly'd wood. 320 grit is more for sanding sprayed steel.


150 grit should be fine enough prior to stain then 220 for the sealer coats.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:25 PM   #10
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


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Ok. So that I get it straight, I sand with the 320 paper and then apply the dye stain and then the sealer?

Sand 120 grit, then 150 grit. 220 is too fine IMO. 320 grit is way too fine for raw wood, but is ok between coats of poly.

Apply Dye stain.

Consult data sheet for dry times, then apply waterborne finish.


I would wager sanding too fine is the main reason for the finish pulling up with tape.



Its important the wood grain to be open so the finish can adhere to the wood fibers. Sanding too fine you won't get proper adhesion and can be pulled off with tape. I saw a massive failure recently with a waterborne sprayed finish. Alder sanded to 220, staining then the top coat not adhering properly where as the sample I had made was sanded to 150 grit, stained then top coat.

BTW Frog yellow tape is better for masking artwork, its a thinner crepe paper and lower adhesion than green frog tape.

Last edited by cocomonkeynuts; 10-10-2019 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:07 AM   #11
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


The GF water dye stain, although probably having a touch of acrylic resin binder in it, does have a tendency to re-wet and rise through water based coatings. Although the dye is designed to be finished with water based clears, you’ll always get bleeding when coating with water based paint. The rule of thumb to lock in a water dye and to prevent bleeding is to use a solvent borne sealer. Sealcoat is a good option, but not always guaranteed to prevent a water dye from bleeding. Although not alcohol soluble, I’ve had water dyes bleed through several coats of shellac.

As far as sanding and adhesion, a lot of the clear waterborne finishes I use specify water popping and sanding raw wood surfaces up to #400 grit, without experiencing the finish pulling off. I’ve gone up to #320 on bare wood floors to receive water dyes, followed by Zinsser Sealcoat and water based clears and never experienced lifting, even when the floors were covered with paper and blue-taped to the finish, the clear coats “never” pulling off when the tape is yanked off. They will however pull off with pigmented stains when using higher grits.

I’d recommend water popping first, maybe dropping your #320 grit a bit, use the GF dye stain, apply a coat of Sealcoat, and “don’t” sand the Sealcoat if only doing one coat, maybe opt for a second coat and then you can sand both. Then do you’re colored painted effects, coat it with a couple WB polyurethane clear coats, Polyacrylic being okay but not the best option, intercoat sand with #400, and you should be good. If you are producing a lot of the board games it might be best to sample your techniques and finishes out first, letting them dry a week, and perform a cross-hatch tape adhesion test. Best to test before wrecking your well thought out and beautiful work.

One thing to note with shellac is to not build it too heavily. It is alkaline sensitive having a tendency to sometimes craze when coating with high pH waterborne clears. Thin coats of shellac are better, reducing the risk.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:28 AM   #12
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


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The GF water dye stain, although probably having a touch of acrylic resin binder in it, does have a tendency to re-wet and rise through water based coatings. Although the dye is designed to be finished with water based clears, you’ll always get bleeding when coating with water based paint. The rule of thumb to lock in a water dye and to prevent bleeding is to use a solvent borne sealer. Sealcoat is a good option, but not always guaranteed to prevent a water dye from bleeding. Although not alcohol soluble, I’ve had water dyes bleed through several coats of shellac.

As far as sanding and adhesion, a lot of the clear waterborne finishes I use specify water popping and sanding raw wood surfaces up to #400 grit, without experiencing the finish pulling off. I’ve gone up to #320 on bare wood floors to receive water dyes, followed by Zinsser Sealcoat and water based clears and never experienced lifting, even when the floors were covered with paper and blue-taped to the finish, the clear coats “never” pulling off when the tape is yanked off. They will however pull off with pigmented stains when using higher grits.

I’d recommend water popping first, maybe dropping your #320 grit a bit, use the GF dye stain, apply a coat of Sealcoat, and “don’t” sand the Sealcoat if only doing one coat, maybe opt for a second coat and then you can sand both. Then do you’re colored painted effects, coat it with a couple WB polyurethane clear coats, Polyacrylic being okay but not the best option, intercoat sand with #400, and you should be good. If you are producing a lot of the board games it might be best to sample your techniques and finishes out first, letting them dry a week, and perform a cross-hatch tape adhesion test. Best to test before wrecking your well thought out and beautiful work.

One thing to note with shellac is to not build it too heavily. It is alkaline sensitive having a tendency to sometimes craze when coating with high pH waterborne clears. Thin coats of shellac are better, reducing the risk.

You may not have experienced an issue so far but I have seen issues even on raw wood. Its a surface tension issue and can cause loss of adhesion!



There is no reason to sand wood to 220+ grit prior to top coating, it doesn't achieve any finer finish with high solids film forming coatings. First coat should generally be applied at 150-180 grit, subsequent coats can be sanded to 320+.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:57 AM   #13
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


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You may not have experienced an issue so far but I have seen issues even on raw wood. Its a surface tension issue and can cause loss of adhesion!



There is no reason to sand wood to 220+ grit prior to top coating, it doesn't achieve any finer finish with high solids film forming coatings. First coat should generally be applied at 150-180 grit, subsequent coats can be sanded to 320+.
Not in the past 30 + yrs of doing it day-in day-out. I’ve been putting out upwards 50,000 sq ft of finished wood surfaces annually over that time span, never experienced lifting on raw wood surfaces, sanding up to #400 on wear surfaces such as tabletops, flooring, and wood countertops. I’d be willing to put any of the clear finishes up to the duct tape challenge sanded with #320, pretty much assuring that the coatings won’t release. You’d be more apt to pull wood fibers before pulling the clear coats.

I use a lot of Target Coating’s WB clear finishes, the data sheets specifying #220-400 for initial wood prep for most of their WB clears, depending upon species. Can’t say that holds true for all WB clears, but have never had an issue.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:12 AM   #14
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


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Not in the past 30 + yrs of doing it day-in day-out. I’ve been putting out upwards 50,000 sq ft of finished wood surfaces annually over that time span, never experienced lifting on raw wood surfaces, sanding up to #400 on wear surfaces such as tabletops, flooring, and wood countertops. I’d be willing to put any of the clear finishes up to the duct tape challenge sanded with #320, pretty much assuring that the coatings won’t release. You’d be more apt to pull wood fibers before pulling the clear coats.

I use a lot of Target Coating’s WB clear finishes, the data sheets specifying #220-400 for initial wood prep for most of their WB clears, depending upon species. Can’t say that holds true for all WB clears, but have never had an issue.

In fact I would say that's pretty specific to Target coatings clears. Glad its working for you but I know someone it cost them thousands to refinish miles of trim on a recent job.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:56 AM   #15
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Re: Staining and Painting Wood projects


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In fact I would say that's pretty specific to Target coatings clears. Glad its working for you but I know someone it cost them thousands to refinish miles of trim on a recent job.
Yeah, #400 is a bit high. I actually had to do a double take when first implementing their finishes after seeing the spec on their tech sheets.
I’ve always performed adhesion tests before putting finishes into production, water popping and sanding to #320 being standard for our testing, having yet to test a clear WB PU that failed, although many of the solvent borne clear finishes did fail. There’s always a first though.

Unfortunate to hear of your associate’s finish failure. That sounds pretty horrible!
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