I'm thinking our only solution is a nice coat of paint...
>Boy, I hope YOU brought the paddles cause I'm in the same
>boat with a piece of mahogany. Try as I might, I couldn't
>get it to look right.
>I keep cuttin' it and it's still too short!
You might be right on the paint :)
Since that fiasco anything I choose to stain gets a wash coat of shellac first, nail it with some 220 then use the stain and top coat. Iíve grown fond of the gel stains but Iím still a rookie when it comes to a finish. More often than not these days I let the wood go al-natural or with a slight tint to the shellac followed by the top coat.
I keep cuttin' it and it's still too short!
Depending on the type of stain applied, you may be able to salvage the piece by sanding lightly to remove the excess. Otherwise, you may have to sand through the stain to bare wood. Another option you might try is to attempt to bleach it out with Clorox or other good laundry bleach, although I'd try that on scrap before I used it on the project.
Shellac is a good idea beforehand, but I have an aversion to using those "sealers" or "conditioners". Most are nothing more than a thinned down varnish (poly or otherwise) with stearates added to help with sanding. The stearates soften whatever finish they're added to, and poly etc are generally pretty soft finishes to begin with. One benefit of shellac is that it is fairly universal as a go-between and, being alcohol soluable, it can be applied after the piece is stained without concern of it dissolving the oil based stain as can happen with an oil based finish.
>Alcohol soluable... so how does it hold up to say, a spilled
>glass of whiskey? Would that leave a mark or disolve the
What you'll probably want to do is use a wash coat of shellac, then the stain, and then some protective clear coat (like poly) over the stain. Then the shellac isn't exposed to such incidents. I've had really good results using one or two 1# coats of shellac over an application of 100% tung oil or boiled linseed oil as a sealer prior to applying wipe-on polyurethane (no stain step between the shellac and poly).