Woodstain won't dry

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I removed and painted a stair handrail with Sadolin mahogany woodstain a week ago and its still not dry but just tacky. Any idea what would have caused this?
 
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I rubbed it down with sandpaper and then just wiped it with a cloth.
 
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was the finish an old varnish, or oil?

I think you need to clean off the (not yet dried) Sadolin with white spirit, and then clean the bare wood with more white sprit. My guess is that something in the old coating is interfering with the new.

If it is a tropical hardwood such as teak, it may be quite an oily wood, but this would be unusual in a modern house.

Also, if you apply thick coats, or one on top of the other too quick, the paint will form a skin but be soft underneath, but it doesn't sound like that is the same as the problem you have.

How old is the house and the rail?
 
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The house and I assume the rail is about 30 years old. I rubbed it right down to the wood last night and cleaned with white spirit ready for applying a new coat tonight.
 
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that should do the trick. Be sure to stir the Sadolin very well.

You might like to try treating just a small section first, as a test, just in case it goes wrong again, which would be very tiresome.
 
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