I have been working on my first dollhouse (The Beacon Hill) for a few months, and have run into an issue that I can't seem to fix. I was unsure how I wanted to decorate, so I began building according to the instructions without staining/painting any of the pieces. After building the first floor staircase, I thought that it would be difficult to stain the stairs after they were glued into the house, and decided to stain them ahead of time. I tested numerous stain colors on the scrap plywood before finding a mixture I was happy with. When I applied the stain to the stairs, the color came out much darker and more red than any of my test samples. In an attempt to lighten the color, I used fine steel wool and mineral spirits. I was able to lighten the stain, however, this has led to a new issue. The day after I applied the mineral spirits, one piece of wood had small black spots all over. I began to worry that it could be mold. My husband suggested sanding that piece down until there were no longer black spots (which I did). I read that white vinegar kills mold on wood, and applied some just to be on the safe side. About 20 minutes after applying the vinegar, the black spots that I had sanded off the night before appeared again (I have attached a photo link). Do you think that this is mold, and if so, is there anything else I should try? Would Greenleaf allow me to order more pieces if this cannot be salvaged? Unfortunately I made the mistake of gluing the stairs together before staining, so I would need quite a few pieces. Has anyone else had issues with stain color looking inconsistent on different pieces of the plywood?
I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this and offer advice!