Gel Stain Problem

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Forum topic by Cheyenne posted 08-03-2010 01:49 AM 4748 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Cheyenne's profile


110 posts in 2291 days

08-03-2010 01:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: maple stain finishing question

Hello All! I’m having a major problem with General Finishes Gel Stain (Java) and General Finishes Gel Topcoat.

I am finishing some soft maple and read all kinds of forums on tips for finishing maple since it is blotch prone. There were so many to choose from that I ended up adopting The Wood Whisperers method of a 1lb. cut of Seal Coat and GF Gel Stain. I figured since I was using the Gel Stain that I would use the GF Gel Topcoat. Well, I’ve done everything up until the stain and I’ve waited 6-8 hours, 24 hours (like the directions suggest) and then 48 hours before I apply the topcoat and when I apply the topcoat it’s like it reactivates the stain and wipes it off in spots. I thought this problem may be due to the Sealcoat so I tried other samples with just stain and topcoat and the same results.

I’ve been somewhat successful in staining, waiting 24 hours, 2 coats of SealCoat, then doing the wipe on poly but I wasn’t planning on those 2 additional coats of SealCoat.

I’m new to the LJ community and joined because of all of the other helpful advice I gathered from others forums. Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN

6 replies so far

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 2802 days

#1 posted 08-03-2010 03:22 AM

Hi Cheyenne, I have actually had the same issue before. It didn’t happen with my first set of cabinets, but it did with the last ones. It was like the gel stain just came completely off in spots when I wiped on the topcoat, and I never could figure out what was causing it. It sucked. I don’t know if it was batch related, or if it was because the weather turned colder and the stain was just not drying enough or what. I also suspected the gloves I was wearing was leaving some sort of residue. I ended up letting the stain dry longer and just was extra gentle with that first layer of topcoat. I’d also make sure to stir the color and topcoat well. Another thing I might try would be a light sanding after the shellac – maybe that would make the gel stain stick on better. Do some tests and see if that works. :)

-- Beth

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 2510 days

#2 posted 08-03-2010 03:58 AM

When I apply a oil stain, I then apply a coat of 1 1/2lb. dewaxed shellac over the oil stain as a sealer after the stain has dried or cured. I do not sand the shellac. Sanding the shellac may remove the barrier and expose the stain. I sand the first coat of top coat over the shellac and sand between additional coats with 300 grit paper. When I say sand, you only want to take off the wiskers and not the finish. Other then shellac and stain, I only use water base finishes. The finish you are using and the finishing technique should be done on scrap wood first and not the finished project.
The deficiencies if any will show up on the scrap material and you can adjust methods of application and material accordingly.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View Cheyenne's profile


110 posts in 2291 days

#3 posted 08-03-2010 04:17 PM

Thanks for the advice Beth. I didn’t even think about the gloves but now that you mention it it really does look like a bunch of big finger prints. It can’t be cold weather, it’s only been around 100 degrees here of late :) I’m going to give General Finishes a call to see if they have received any feedback about this issue before.

OldTimer, your advice is noted as well!

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN

View Cadena's profile


3 posts in 398 days

#4 posted 09-26-2015 06:39 PM

I have use java gel stain and I apply one coat of sealer and burnish but it got some bubbles on it i need some help please

View evilbadger's profile


8 posts in 402 days

#5 posted 09-26-2015 09:13 PM

The gel stain needs a full 24 to 48 hours to dry. Test drying time in your area on a piece of scrap wood. Temperature and humidity play a factor so drying time will vary.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3001 days

#6 posted 09-27-2015 02:08 AM

Having a good conditioner to help prevent blotching is very important. Using a water-based conditioner(not oil based) is safer than using some of the conditioners that will be possibly penetrated by having the same solvent . I like Charles Neils Blotch control(water-base), it really makes a big different with blotchy woods like maple,birch,poplar and others. People think by using a quality gel stain that it will prevent blotching,and it may to a degree ,but apply it with unconditioned woods or using too much force (rubbing it in)will make it penetrate into the wood more thus causing blotchy conditions. You are certainly taking the right approach by doing sample boards first .
I don’t if you have tried water based dyes with a conditioner ,but you can get good results that way too.

-- Custom furniture

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