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I built a cedar screen door, stained with the wrong stain, (Old Masters wiping indoor cedar stain), then sealed with Varathane Spar Urethane. The stain quickly faded on the outdoor side of the door. What do I need to do to be able to re-stain with the proper stain? Many thanks.

Hey Curt, even with the "right" stain, Cedar will change color fairly rapidly, and your issue is now the Spar, as you've sealed in the stain and the wood from accepting any new stain. Stripping off the Spar is really the only way to allow re-staining, but you might be able to get satisfactory results with a Gel stain over the spar,after a light scuff sanding, and then seal that in with another coat or two. That's assuming the spar is still in good condition.And this finish will also fail with exposure fairly quickly...but typically Cedar shouldn't be varnished as a rule, as it has a natural oil that can impede adhesion over the long run, and it's typically very soft wood that will oxidize and change color with exposure. And  with a varnish, as most surface finishes, when it fails, and it will, it'll have to be removed...a messy and difficult job on Cedar.Because it's so soft, it tends to soak up anything like a sponge, which can be a problem. You would have been better off using a penetrating oil or modified oil finish, one that does not apply a film to the surface of the Flood or Cabot or a deck product.But going backwards has it's issues....wish I had better back if need be- regards- Greg


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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects,Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings,wood species recognition,usage,etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Sold, built, serviced, setup Home,Industrial and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools, and offered instruction on use and care as well.I even have some Trade show Demo experience.

none at this time.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002)-("27 year compilation of expert know-how"),Multiple times in Family Handyman Magazine, local newspapers as well.

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars by Major tool manufacturers, Delta, Powermatic, Performax, Porter Cable, Skil/Bosch to name a few.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT.(the Antiques capital of CT.)
Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies.For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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