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Blotching gel stain

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Forum topic by Toddym posted 02-03-2017 02:47 PM 620 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Toddym

3 posts in 313 days


02-03-2017 02:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing stain

I have stained some 2×4s with general finishes golden pine gel stain. I didn’t have mineral spirits so I wiped it down with a wet cloth before applying gel…. As you can see in photo below, the stain is very blotchy. Was this because of the water?

I drizzled stain directly from can across the surface spread with a paper tol, waited 1 min, then wiped off.

Ideas? What did i do wrong?

Could be the use of water, could be that my stain was applied to haphazard, could be lack of prestain process (thought that wasnt needed in gel).....

Would love some ideas, from those who have experience!

Also I sanded to 120, than 180, not sure if this patterning could be a spot i didnt sand as well? Would that create this kind of difference?

https://s3.amazonaws.com/vs-lumberjocks.com/okrpvxg.jpg!


11 replies so far

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Rich

1976 posts in 424 days


#1 posted 02-03-2017 03:10 PM

I don’t understand the need for mineral spirits or water. We have finished pine and alder with gel stain, and the surface preparation consisted of nothing more than sanding to 220, thoroughly wiping off the dust, and applying a pre-stain conditioner. We were using Minwax brand, but General Finishes has the same sort of product.

The water wouldn’t have helped with the consistency of the finish, and might have caused some unevenness, but those are pretty sharp edges between the darker and lighter areas. It makes me suspect something else is a factor.

I don’t know what to tell you at this point, but in the future, a pre-stain conditioner is mandatory before staining pine, and other woods that behave like pine, such as alder.

Finally, always work with test pieces to perfect your process before you do the final piece.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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pintodeluxe

5459 posts in 2648 days


#2 posted 02-03-2017 03:16 PM

Yes, it looks like the water prevented some areas from darkening properly.

Try to avoid dripping stain on the surface, I find wiping evenly is best.

Thoughts that might help with this issue next time…
Don’t wipe any liquid on prior to finishing. Just clean the project after sanding with cheese cloth and compressed air.
Try a pre-stain conditioner such as Zinssner’s Seal Coat thinned 50/50 with denatured alcohol. Brush it on and scuff sand once dry.

Then apply regular liquid oil based stain. Gel stain is prone to streaking and uneven coverage. I never liked the fact that if you wipe it off with slightly more pressure, it looks totally different. I reserve the use of gel stains to small projects that can be worked in a short amount of time, like boxes etc.

Good luck with it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Toddym

3 posts in 313 days


#3 posted 02-03-2017 03:20 PM

Thanks, could sanding irregularities also account for this kind of difference? Ie if one area is 120 and one 180? Also I thought gel stain didnt need prestain…. its hard because i live in south america and need to import each thing that I get, so $$$ was wondering if applying a layer of paint thinner before stainging could help. On the general finishes web site they apply mineral spirits, which as I understand is just more refined paint thinner….. since “prestain” isnt available off the shelf any ideas?

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Lazyman

1499 posts in 1222 days


#4 posted 02-03-2017 03:29 PM

That doesn’t look like the normal blotchiness of pine to me. Looks more like there was something on the wood that repeled the stain in the lighter areas. Either that or you just didn’t get as much stain on it there. If I remember correctly the GF gel stain is an oil based stain? Is it possible that it was still damp in the lighter areas when you applied the stain? Since oil and water don’t mix, that would be my guess.

For future reference, using water on bare wood raises the grain so you have to sand again to re-smooth it. This technique is actually used sometimes to achieve a smoother finish after the final sanding.

To fix, I would try sanding to try and even it out and apply another coat of the stain but wait to see if anyone else who has fixed the exact problem has another suggestion.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Rich

1976 posts in 424 days


#5 posted 02-03-2017 03:31 PM

Different grits are definitely a factor, since the stain contains solids. Coarser sanding will give you a darker result.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Toddym

3 posts in 313 days


#6 posted 02-03-2017 03:38 PM

Is applying mineral spirits a big helper for stain evenness if so, can I consider paint thinner as a decent sub? Thanks for your help!

View Rich's profile

Rich

1976 posts in 424 days


#7 posted 02-03-2017 03:43 PM



Is applying mineral spirits a big helper for stain evenness if so, can I consider paint thinner as a decent sub? Thanks for your help!

- Toddym

I honestly have no idea. We have never used either before staining. Hopefully someone with experience using that can help you.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5459 posts in 2648 days


#8 posted 02-03-2017 03:52 PM

I’ve never heard of using mineral spirits as a pre-stain conditioner. It dries pretty fast, so would likely be problematic.

Interestingly, gel stain was designed to mask wood grain and make inexpensive softwoods and softer hardwoods look like more traditional hardwoods. It is marketed as a blotch-free option, without need for pre-stain conditioner, but it’s simply not true for pine, fir, alder, cherry and other blotch-prone woods.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1499 posts in 1222 days


#9 posted 02-03-2017 03:52 PM


Is applying mineral spirits a big helper for stain evenness if so, can I consider paint thinner as a decent sub? Thanks for your help!

- Toddym

According to their own How to Apply Gel Stain and Gel Topcoat video mineral spirits can be helpful:

The first thing I am going to start with is a slip coat of mineral spirits. This will help the stain glide and reduce lap marks. The other thing you could do if you wanted to on a really large surface would be to thin out the material with 10% mineral spirits.

It looks to me like you got the lap marks they are trying to avoid wtih the mineral spirits. Using water and not sanding the raised grain, may have made that worse.

EDIT: Some paint thinners are Mineral Spirits but since they say mineral spirits I would not use other types of paint thinner. For best results, stick with their guidance.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

206 posts in 454 days


#10 posted 02-03-2017 04:41 PM

I had the same problem many years ago using a gel stain. The difference was that my area looked like a hand print. All I could figure was that someone had touched the area with excessive hand lotion on their hand. In my opinion, a good cleaning with mineral spirits before applying a gel stain is the way to go.

You could try an thorough rubdown with mineral spirits. I haven’t used your brand of gel stain, but since they are a surface treatment, you may be able to soften it enough to even out the color.

If that fails, you may be forced to sand off the old finish and start over.

-- Sawdust Maker

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OSU55

1423 posts in 1824 days


#11 posted 02-04-2017 05:18 AM

Blotch control. Never wet a surface with water and use an oil based stain before it dries. Clean off as much as possible with ms or naptha. Do a little sanding – you don’t have to remove all traces, use proper blotch control as described, restain.

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