Uneven varnishing

26 Feb 2010
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United Kingdom
My builder has just finished installing a set of hardwood veneered french doors which I wanted finished in mahogany. The builder said that they must be wood dyed first instead of varnishing straight on so we wood dyed them mahogany and then later applied satin mahogany varnish. The first coat looked awful but the second coat now looks more like it, although its still got a few white/darker mahogany patches e.t.c.

There is also unavoidable drip marks and some varnish lumps here and there. If it was paint I would lightly sand it but not sure if this will make things worse. Giving the doors another coat of varnish should be the final coat so just want to get some advice on how to remove these before applying the final coat.
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You certainly should sand it before the final coat, and dust it and wipe it as well. Use a fine paper, and don't rub off the varnish on the corners.

Most natural wood irregularities will even out over time, with a little help from some UV light.

But glue or filler on the surface will almost always stain a different colour to just the wood, and probably won't fade over time.

Drips are a pain, you can only sand them down properly when they're fully dry, which might be several days.

But they aren't "unavoidable".
If the doors were already hardwood veneered, then they wouldnt need a stain to make them look like what they already were. Varnish would go straight over them and bring out their natural colour.
If however you were trying to make them a different colour than they were, you should have used a normal wood stain, then after that had dried a seperate satin varnish. A stain and varnish together never work very well as its trying to stain and varnish the wood at the same time. Applying more coats only makes things worse as your applying more stain each time, making it even darker.

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