Hello everyone, I posted this on another website as well, but I was hoping to bounce these thoughts off of you guys as well.
I've been helping a buddy refinish his hardwood floor and we've run into a problem. The floor is maple, over a hundred years old. It's been sanded down and refinished at least 3 times before, but there's still lots of thickness left (that old wood you know!). We sanded the snot out of that floor, and thought it was all good and down to bare wood, but when I put a coat of light stain (minwax cherry) on today the result was very splotchy, with lighter patches all over the place, like you sometimes get with pine! Needless to say we're very disappointed. We can only assume that with all the different finishes and chemicals that have been applied to this floor over the last century there is simply more build up and residue in some places than in others, causes uneven acceptance of the stain, right? And yet when we sanded we could have sworn that it was all right down and perfectly clean - in other words, "just sand harder" can't be the answer, because it really was all sanded good, and there's no way to tell when sanded what will end up a light part and what will end up a dark.
So my thought now is to sand off the stain I put on today and then put a coat of that pre-stain wood conditioner that you often use for splotchy woods like pine. I've never used that stuff before, but I hear it is basically a really thinned-down varnish that makes a light, uniform seal over the entire wood, thereby giving an even surface to accept stain without splotchiness, do I have that right?
So what do you think of that, does it sound like we're barking up the right tree?