After testing out my sample piece, I decided to go for it with the table. This is a learning experience after all, isn’t it? :) Sanded out the second coat of conditioner this morning before work, and when I got home I started applying the stain. Here’s the result:
Overall, the process was easy – wipe on, wipe off – just kept trying to work in small sections so the gel stain didn’t dry too much. One minute max, and I went back and started wiping excess off. The only thing I’d change is the application method – cloth rags were way too messy for the application (and difficult to get into some corners). I’m going to get some foam brushes tomorrow, to make application of the second coat a bit easier. I also need more light… after the fact I noticed a spot or two where I didn’t get all the stain off, so I just took a few light swipes with some thinner to get the thick spots off – I figure it’s easier to add color than remove it once it’s on and dried completely.
So, now I just need to wait 24 hours or so, then I can start the second coat.
-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"