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Sorry if this turns out a little long winded... I'm not a professional painter, just looking for some assistance. We just moved into our new home with hard wood stairs. The stairs were stained using Minwax Performance Series. However, I'm not sure what technique they used because it looks so pigmented it seems like its just been painted while maintaining the wood grain, could just be two coats of stain. You can see for yourself with the image to the left.

We had a step with a chip in it so it was replaced. When the painter came to re-stain it, she left the second coat of stain on there, she left without wiping the excess off, so it became sticky and tacky. Everyone else who seems to have had a similar issue solved it by reapplying another layer of stain to re-wet the tacky stain and then wiping the excess away. The problem is when I did that, it wiped all the stain away, down to the bare wood. I've seen tried three more times to just start from the beginning and re-stain those bare parts. Each time I end up with the result you see to the right,
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with the stain being wiped away when I try to get rid of the excess.

I've tried mineral spirits, wiping, letting it dry, you name it. This is the only step that seems to have this issue, the others are all fine. Does anyone have any tips on how to get the stain to dry non-tacky, and keep all the stain on there in this super-pigmented way?

Thanks in advance.
 

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