Beth's built-in, Entertainment Center, Stain and Finish
Comments 4

Beth’s built-in: stain completed

Curious spots. After drying for almost a week, I sanded the stain off all the drawer fronts. Then, stain began wicking up through the pores in the oak – very much unexpected (click the photo to enlarge).

I am at the point in this project where progress isn’t that noticeable. And, my work week was very hectic – some early morning travelling which eliminated before work shop time. And the same was true in the evenings for much of the week. I put up a message on Twitter (I refuse to call them “tweets”) about how my day job was really interfering with my woodworking. Oh well, I have to keep in mind that my day job is what enables us to pay the bills…

I spent some time Friday morning sanding the stain off the drawer faces. The stain was a little spotty and I was hoping that sanding it off and re-applying stain would eliminate some of this – and it did, but I discovered something surprising. After six days of drying time, stain wicked up to the surface of the oak (see the photo above). I have seen this happen with oak while the stain was still wet, but the surface had long dried. I sanded it off as best I could and then re-applied the stain.

A nice morning on the screen porch. After re-staining the drawer fronts, I set them out on the screen porch to dry. The cool sun light on the drawer faces kept the wicking problem to a minimum.

This built-in will reside in a cavity I found adjacent to my daughter’s small bathroom. This cavity is exposed to the attic above, so this built-in will undergo some significant changes in temperature through the year (one of the reasons I selected plywood for the case of this project). I am going to do everything I can think of to protect the parts of the built-in that face this area. This includes two coats of exterior paint. I am even thinking about attaching insulation to it somehow.

Primer. Here I apply a coat of primer to an area to be painted. All of the joints will be caulked prior to the final coat of paint.

Ready for polyurethane. The sides and back have been painted and I have fussed with the stain all I am going to. Next up: application of the polyurethane.

Since this built-in will reside in a bathroom, it will be subject to considerable moisture – specifically steam from hot showers on cold winter mornings. I will brush on two coats of gloss polyurethane followed by a final coat of wipe-on satin.

I have yet another project to tackle. Today, the wife and I bought a new high def TV. We are probably the last ones on our street to get one. Our old TV has been a good one, but thankfully, it is starting to mess up, so a new one is in order.

I will have to build a false back for my entertainment center in order to mount the TV to it. I have limited space (a 37″ TV was the largest size that would fit the opening) and I don’t want to use the desk-top stand which would just take up space. I need to have this figured out by next weekend, so I am not sure how much time I will have for the built-in this week.

And, the African mahogany for my Dad’s TV console should arrive towards the end of the week. A lot going on in my workshop right now!


Have a question or comment? Leave yours by clicking on the “Comments – post yours here” link below. Or jump over to Facebook and leave me a message. My email is And if you like this post or this project, you can subscribe to Wood Fever by clicking here.

My top three projects:


  1. I see it regularly with Minwax oil based stain. After a day of regular wiping down, the stain dries. But I did not know that under the surface it is still wet in the pores.

    I wonder if this happens with other oil based stains. I am going to experiment with dyes next time – not sure how dyes work with oak.

  2. Amy – while we will have a bigger screen TV, it won't be as big as your TV and of course, a game is so much fun at your house. We'll be back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s