LumberJocks

Any experience with Gel stains out there

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by , posted 02-14-2010 06:01 AM 1623 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 3010 days


02-14-2010 06:01 AM

Well, another maple project. This time a kitchen. And I tried to be more grain selective in my doors. This kitchen will feature flat panels which is nice for me because flat panel is always easier to finish. My issue is the styles and rails that at this time is turning out much lighter then the panel. The panel will stain darker because it is just 1/4” ply where the styles and rails will stain but just not as dark. I have experimented with some different techniques on sample boards. I am sanding to 180 grit right now. One problem I have is that the customer has a wood sample (some flooring sample from lowes) that they want me to get as dark or almost as dark. Well, so far I am coming somewhat close but the color I am getting to me seems to have more red then the sample they gave me, which actually seems mostly brown. I am considering buying some gel stains to top coat my current sample pieces. I think if I can find a good brown gel stain I can come even closer to the sample. So what about gel stains, do they work well. I am trying to get a little darker and more to the brown side at the same time.

Thanks, Jerry

-- .


12 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#1 posted 02-14-2010 06:11 AM

Hi Jerry
Gel stains are good to use when you want you stain to stay on the surface in such cases were you could have problems with blotching. One of the negative things is that it tends to build up in corners and details and can be time consuming to clean out. If you want to sneak up on the color you want I would try some water base dye and thin it down so you can keep adding another coat to go darker and darker. If your get to dark you can use some household bleach and water to remove it. As with any staining always use sample boards first.
I would suggest getting a set of Charles Neils finishing A-Z it has endless information about all finishes.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 3010 days


#2 posted 02-14-2010 06:16 AM

I think an investment in the Charles Neils finishing A-Z would be wise investment for a fella like myself. We are excellent builders and hope to catch our finishing skills up with our building skills. Thanks

-- .

View fredf's profile

fredf

495 posts in 3173 days


#3 posted 02-14-2010 06:25 AM

I cant remember who posted the tip, but one of our members recommended using Zinsser Seal Coat as a sealer under gel stain. It prevents the blotchies, and would even the color between the plywood and the rails. Note that you need a DEWAXED shellac to use under a finish. Seal coat is dewaxed, their other finishes are not.
I wipe both the shellac and the stain on with a cotton rag. the shellac first, let it dry a bit and wipe on the stain, then wipe off the excess.

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#4 posted 02-14-2010 06:38 AM

That’s right Fred except you want to thin it to a 1lb cut and put two seperate coats on.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Dez's profile

Dez

1162 posts in 3540 days


#5 posted 02-14-2010 07:26 AM

Because of the difference in the way the veneer was cut and the solid wood there will be a difference in the way it stains – usually the veneer will be darker.
A few things can be done prior to the stain application to help even out the color;
Sand the ply with a finer grit – ie. 400 grit on the ply and 280 on the solid wood,
Seal the ply with a conditioner before staining,
A toner can be applied beforehand on the solid wood.
I always use a staining “story stick” using samples of both ply and solid with all the steps clearly marked on the final sample.
Things can also be done after staining depending on the type of stain;
Additional stain coats can be added,
Toner can be added to the stain to darken the color or separately applied as well,
Toner can be added to the topcoat and used as a tinted clear coat to modify the tone/color.
I really like ML Campbell products and have had excellent luck with TransTint dyes.
I have used a coat of their pre-cat Lacquer or vinyl sealer as a pre-stain sealer.
I really think the toughest job I ever had was making Douglas Fir look like ribbon Mahogany.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View barryvabeach's profile

barryvabeach

159 posts in 2506 days


#6 posted 02-14-2010 03:15 PM

Jerry, you may end up making a lot of samples, but if the stain is getting you a little too red, you will want to add a toner of green to make it more brown. A toner is whatever clear finish you are using with a little dye thrown in. As Dez says, I use Transtint Dyes – they are pretty expensive, but you only need a few and they go a long way. The goal is to make the toner so that you need 2 coats to get the shade you want. If you are trying to match a factory finish, it is quite likely they used a stain as a base, then added a couple of coats of toner to even the color.

View mtkate's profile

mtkate

2049 posts in 2788 days


#7 posted 02-14-2010 03:21 PM

Did you say maple? Did you say stains? You have to read through this thread. It might save you agony….

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/8721

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 3010 days


#8 posted 02-14-2010 03:48 PM

Thanks for the information.

-- .

View rhett's profile

rhett

734 posts in 3130 days


#9 posted 02-14-2010 06:24 PM

Sanding to high grits and multiple steps prior to finishing are great ideas, if time does not equal money. When dealing with blotchy woods, your best bet is as stated above. Base stain and then spray with a toner to get an even color. I find when customers ask for maple to be stained any color, they are less concerned with seeing the wood grain and more concerned with seeing an even color. You need to get intouch with your local ML Campbell’s rep, they have far superior products to what you will find at the BORG.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 3010 days


#10 posted 02-14-2010 07:42 PM

Thank you very much Rhett. Sounds like the toner is the way to go. I will say this much though, about using a toner. I used a toner in the past and I think my technique was flawed. I could see stripes in my verticle spray path where the toner made things look “light, dark, light, dark, etc…”. I am just saying I am still “green” in the finish area and probably have a long ways to go. I just fear that “striped” look to happen again. I do know the proper technique to spraying by overlapping the last pattern by 1/2 and so forth and maybe some of my issue pertains to my equipment not quite being up to “snuff”. I am going to attempt to utilize the toner affect and just hope I do not end up with a mess on my hands. Thanks for the input.

-- .

View barryvabeach's profile

barryvabeach

159 posts in 2506 days


#11 posted 02-14-2010 09:24 PM

Jerry, I have run into tiger striping problems in the past, to see if it is your gun make a fairly dark toner, you can even use water and food dye, and practice on large sheets of cardboard to get an even effect. When you go to spray your project, it also helps to do one coat vertically, and one horizontally to minimize striping

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 3010 days


#12 posted 02-14-2010 10:25 PM

I don’t know if this is proper or not but it seems to work and is getting my sample fairly dark and almost a match to the flooring sample they gave me. My sample board, what I did is this:

1. Sand up to 180 grit
2. Using some “dark Walnut” dye, I mixed it in distilled water. I applied a coat of this and left it to dry. This just barely tinted the board.
3. I applied another coat of the dy, this made it just a little darker.
4. I then applied three separate coats of the Sherwood stain with allowing ample time for dry in between coats.

When I just go to the stain without using the water/dye mix first the board does not get as dark. I wonder if that is because the mix is providing a good “brown base” color and the water might be raising the grain some allowing for better stain penetration. Any thoughts on this is welcome.

This process allowed the board to darken slowly to the point where it is maybe just one shade lighter then the sample floor board my customer gave me. I hope they approve this and I am sure they will because it does look really nice. If I have to go any darker I am confident I will be using the toner coat method as I know that works really well. I just need to do whatever it takes to avoid the “tiger striping affect”. I hope the customer is happy with what I am able to achieve without the toner step.

I will let everyone know how it goes, maybe pics will come in the next 3 to 4 weeks after installation.

-- .

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com