Ammonia-Based Stripper Darkening Wood

Don't use strippers that contain ammonia for wood you don't plan to paint: the dark staining from the stripper will not come out. June 30, 2007

I have stripped a doorway using Peel-Away #1. Despite the directions, the paint store said if I were staining and sanding the door, it would be fine, but when I tried to sand out the black contaminants, they wouldn't budge. I tried oxalic acid and bleach, and nothing would touch it. I tested an area with a water based stain and you can still see the profound contrast. Is there a faux I can do with toners? Or will I have to convince the customer to paint it?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
A little more info is needed. What type of finish were you stripping? Were these dark spots the reason you decided to strip the finish? What, in your best guess, are the dark spots from? Metal bleed, mineral streaking? What species of wood?

From the original questioner:
It was a mahogany exterior. It had no previous stain, just a natural patina (amber) to it, with 5 dry mils of polyurethane. The directions on the stripper said, "will dry hardwood" but when I called the paint store, they said as long as I sanded and were planning to stain it, it would come out. On the test spot, I applied the dye waterbased stain, and it is resulting in vast contrast between the stripper contamination and where it was not applied. Oxalic acid and bleach do not make a difference!

From contributor B:
Peel-away has ammonia in it. Ammonia will burn wood. That's the dark area you see. No way to get them out, so forget the bleach. The only thing you can do is touch up all the burned areas, or paint the door. It's been my experience that the people who work in the paint stores rarely know anything about furniture finishing.