Gel stain help - client's furniture

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Forum topic by Trans4mations posted 07-20-2015 02:22 PM 539 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Trans4mations's profile


2 posts in 461 days

07-20-2015 02:22 PM

Hi everyone. I am new here and hoping someone can help me with the disaster I’ve made. I’ve read other posts on this topic, but I am not familiar with all the products you mention, so I need specific help for dummies!

I am re-upholstering bar stools (framed back and seat) for a client. The upholstery part is easy for me. She asked that I touch up the wood where it was worn. Went online, looked for tips, thought I had the answer. WRONG. Here’s what I did.

1. I sanded the stools with 220 grit on an orbital sander. That dulled the gloss, but resulted in the worn spots getting larger.
2. I wiped everything down with TSP
3. I applied Varathane gel stain (soap and water clean up) on everything with a foam brush. The worn areas needed to be darker, so when the gel dried I applied another coat on the worn areas. Truth be told; I did this a few times til it looked pretty uniform, thinking I could lightly sand to smooth everything out.
4. Planned on using a wipe-on poly after that.

WELL, the stain is still tacky after 3 days. I even brought everything into the air-conditioned kitchen because it’s hot and humid here. Is there anything I can do to salvage this mess?

5 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2110 days

#1 posted 07-21-2015 12:35 AM

You can apply shellac over that sticky stain (use Seal Coat) and then apply any finish you want over the shellac. Shellac will cover a lot of sins!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Trans4mations's profile


2 posts in 461 days

#2 posted 07-21-2015 01:04 AM

Thank you. I will do that!

View barada83's profile


76 posts in 606 days

#3 posted 07-23-2015 02:51 PM

I wouldn’t do that. I would just wait for it to dry completely. It will but takes a long time. I used gel stain once and a week wasn’t enough time before topcoating!

-- Mike

View RogerM's profile


747 posts in 1819 days

#4 posted 07-23-2015 06:32 PM

Go with the Seal Coat noted by gfadvm, It works just fine!!!!

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View NDakota's profile


68 posts in 966 days

#5 posted 07-23-2015 07:23 PM

I am not a expert by any means, but same thing happened to me. It was a rocking horse for grandaughter and Very close to christmas! I took wifes hair drier to it, out of desperation, and it worked very well. I just checked it out the other day and it looks good, and she rides it hard and puts it up wet every day!

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