Why isn't the stain on my butcher block island drying?

by Nancy

I have a butcher block island in my kitchen, the bottom part has drawers and cupboards which I painted white. I wanted to redo the butcher block because it looks like the previous owner used furniture polish on it and it's gummy. I sanded the entire block with an electric sander but whatever is on it didn't come off, so I got some stripper and stripped it to the bare wood (it's blond) and I wanted something a bit darker to match my China cabinet and table and chairs (which are a darker oak). I used TSP to clean the butcher block (twice). Then I sanded. I then applied the stripper and had to strip it several times to get all the guck off. Then I washed it again and applied a Min-wax wood perseverer. Then I stained it the color I chose a couple times and then added the polyethylene. The problem... that was three days ago and it isn't dry yet... it's sticky and doesn't seem to want to dry. Does anyone know what I did wrong?Suggestions appreciatedNancy

  5 answers
  • Natalie Natalie on Jun 29, 2019

    Hey Nancy! When you stained did you wipe the stain off or let it sit on the wood to dry? Also how long did you let it dry before you put on the poly?

    Unfortunately I don't know that it will dry at this point. It will be best to strip it back down and start over. Sorry!

  • William William on Jun 30, 2019

    Doesn't seem like you did anything wrong. Was it Minwax Wood Conditioner that you used or Minwax Wood Preservative. Wood Conditioner is for pre staining. Wood Preservative is a wood hardener. Seems that the years of furniture polish absorbed into the wood preventing the stain to soak in all the way. Some of the poly is suppose to soak into the grain and float on the surface. What you can try is to use A lint free cloth and some acetone nail polish remover to remove the stickiness.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jun 30, 2019

    At this point, the only solution will be to strip and sand again has some kind of product reaction has taken place.. Then wash with a good lemon ammonia if you think that was wax. then I would follow up with a degreaser as it could have been oiled previously too. I would use some fine steel wool to make sure you're getting the wax/oil out of the wood pores and joints. Then sand with fine grit sandpaper, tack cloth off, and add wood conditioner lightly, and a good stain (NOT gel stain) Wipe off after staining and let dry, until you reach the depth of color is achieved you want. Let dry 72 hours. Then I would simple apply food grade mineral oil which is recommended. I would not poly it..... several wipings with mineral oil monthly will keep it nice. I've had oiled butcher block counters in several homes over 50 years and only oiled them which will give them a nice patina and water resistance. I just renewed my clients 25 feet of butcher block with 2 applications and they look like new..... as they were all dried out, I used a bit of bleach water on some dark spots.

  • Janice Fisher Janice Fisher on Jun 30, 2019

    I dont know have not used butchter block materials

  • Nancy Nancy on Jun 30, 2019

    Thank you kindly for your answers, I appreciate it. I have taken to sanding it again which of course is taking off the poly and the stain.

    William, it is the Minwax Pre-Stain wood conditioner.

    Sharon, thank you for the tips, I'll see what I can accomplish by re-stripping and sanding it again.

    Thank you everyone