Ask a question

The Bunnings Workshop community can help with your home improvement projects.

How do I improve this stain finish?

Finding My Feet

How do I improve this stain finish?

Hi there, I have just completed 4 coats of Walnut bondall stain & varnish.

There are a lot of blotches and it looks rather drab. The colour looks great in sunlight. However the fish tank stand is to go indoors. Should I bother adding a 5th coat or just get some good indoor lighting?




Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How do I improve this stain finish?

Hello @muesli 


Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's marvellous to have you join us, and thanks for sharing your question about the stain finish on your cabinet.


At this particular stage, I suggest getting some good indoor lighting. I don't recommend adding another coat as it will make the blotches even more pronounced. The reason for the uneven finish is because the stain is no longer being absorbed by the timber and is drying on top of the former coat. 


But if this dark finish is what you were after then a fifth coat would make it even darker. Just keep in mind that it won't come out uniformly as some parts are fully saturated.


Should you decide to refinish the cabinet and sand it back down to timber, I suggest diluting the first coat of the stain and varnish. This will make it easier for the timber to absorb the stain and for you to achieve a uniform finish.


Here is a handy step-by-step guide: How to restore wooden furniture (the techniques used are applicable to your cabinet)


If you have any other questions we can help with, please let us know.   




See something interesting? Give it the thumbs up!

Re: How do I improve this stain finish?

Thank you for replying, 

yes, it makes sense Re the timber no longer absorbing the stain. I was more than a little surprised to see the patchiness. The fluorescent light coupled with the camera flash really brought out the imperfections.  Interestingly under natural light it looks good. The warm colour of an old piano on the edges with dark chocolate Cherry tones on the doors. Way too much work sanding down although I did originally experiment with removing some of the dark stain on the back. 

Re: How do I improve this stain finish?

Hi @muesli 


Another factor in staining is how did you  apply the stain?  My first staining effort was blotchy to as I used a  paint brush  and like  @EricL  says some  parts of the timber soaked up more stain than others.  I then  learnt to apply it using a rag dipped in stain and rubbing it on the timber gave a  more uniform controlled colour uniformity and thinner color layers as  desired.


I bring this up as  others reading this may be helped too


At great risk! to making patches more  patchy rub furnature down with turps soaked cloth wiping some stain out.  Try rubbing the dark patches more first up try it on the back like you have done before a good idea you had.


The worst that can happen is a complete sand back to bare timber.

But I would like to say there is nothing wrong  with your  final project looks as  is in my mind very good nice timber furniture.


We all should consume wood products  growing replacement trees stores carbon out of the environment

Why join the Bunnings Workshop community?

Workshop is a friendly place to learn, get ideas and find inspiration for your home improvement projects