Lies My Hardware Store Told Me

No, don’t worry, this isn’t another customer service rant.  Our stove is still here and functioning well, and for the record, the local Home Depot employees are awesome when it comes to in-store help (it just broke down for us once there was a special order involved…. sigh).

No, today I’m going to talk about stain.

I’ve been working on refinishing our upstairs doors and, well, let’s just say there’s a reason I haven’t shared more pictures yet.  Last time I mentioned that I got  a color I liked, but the finish was kinda splotchy.

Annoyingly splotching in fact.

Matt was fine with it, but it was steadily driving me crazy.  Ultimately I decided I couldn’t live with it and decided I needed to try a different technique to get the same dark color minus the streaky-blotchiness.

Easier said than done.

stainlies

I currently have 6–count them 6–cans of different stains that I have experimented with.  Gel stain + polyshades was my first attempt, but it completely hid the wood grain really just looked like a crappy paint job.  The problem was trying to duplicate that same rich color, but with a better finish because you know what?  All those little samples they have in the stain aisle showing the stain colors on little bits of oak and pine? LIES!  I’d see a beautiful, rich, dark espresso stain in the store, try and on my door and  whomp whomp, it would only be a shade or two darker than the honey oak I started with.  I went through 4 rounds of stripping, 3 brands of stain and 6 colors before I finally found something that worked (more to come on that–I promise).  This is also why you only do one door at a time…

I even had a mini-meltdown in Menards bemoaning my inability to find a properly DARK (but not black!) stain.  Let that be a lesson to all you helpful employees who come up to customers and ask if they need any help–you may find a lunatic (although mystery lady–you were the single most helpful Menards employee I’ve met–thank you for putting up with me!)

Do you have any DIY disasters you need to vent about?  Knock yourselves out.  I feel your pain, really.

3 thoughts on “Lies My Hardware Store Told Me

  1. Oir 1960’s home has flat panel doors that I’ve been dying to spruce up with molding and paint since we moved in back in April. The other day, I used some painter’s tape to mark off possible molding configurations. Seems like a solid idea, right? FALSE. The low-tack painter’s tape pulled tge finish right off the door.
    -D’Oh!

    1. Ugh… that sucks! I had painters tape peel off some of the varnish on our stairs when I was painting the trim and that was how I learned that the stair finish is probably original (good news/bad news right?). I know they make “delicate surface” (or something) painters tape, but I’ve never tried it.

      Good luck going forward with the doors! I’ve seen some awesome examples of people perking up flat-paneled doors with a bit of trim.

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