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New to Lumberjocks- Need help with General Finishes Gel Top Coat

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Forum topic by SJMaye posted 11-20-2017 04:40 PM 2721 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SJMaye

4 posts in 20 days


11-20-2017 04:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finish

Hello,

Novice woodworker here. I am looking for advice on top coats. I am finishing out some stair treads with General Finishes Gel Stain. I have been happy with that. My question concerns the top coat. The instructions for the General Finishes Gel Top Coat is show it is between 21 and 30 days to be fully cured. That is a long time to keep my wife and her cat off the steps. My prior experience has been with Minwax poly. I don’t recall that requiring so much time.

If Minwax cures faster could that be safely used over the gel stain?

Thanks in advance for any help.


11 replies so far

View DTSquared's profile

DTSquared

5 posts in 20 days


#1 posted 11-20-2017 05:22 PM

I am new to this forum as well but have used the GF Gel stain twice. Are you using the HPTC over the Gel or the oil based? With the HPTC, GF recommends a three day wait after the Gel but I found you need more time (a week or so) before a water-based topcoat otherwise it streaks, in my opinion. The water based topcoat will dry fast and from my experience can take light use after a few days. So you would be out of commission for a few weeks. But I never used it on a floor—only cabinets and furniture. I think walking in socks only and the pitter-patter of tiny cat feet won’t do harm. I would not let kids, dogs on it or move heavy things.

Now if you are strictly only using the Gel Stain without a topcoat, I think you will find the durability on the stairs problematic in the long run.

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SJMaye

4 posts in 20 days


#2 posted 11-20-2017 08:00 PM

The top coat is the gel top coat that is oil based. From their website:
DRY TIME
Dry Time to Touch: 8 hrs.
Dry Time to Re-coat: 24 hrs.
Dry Time Before Light Use: 7-10 days
Dry Time Until Cured: 30 days

7-10 days? for even light use? 30 days? Just seems like a long time.

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zzzzDave

5 posts in 901 days


#3 posted 11-22-2017 09:58 PM

I’m a novice also. Reading, reading, reading. You folks are awesome and I thank you for your willingness to help us come along. Can anyone tell me where buffing fits in to finishing? I’m confused about that.

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Lazyman

1493 posts in 1220 days


#4 posted 11-23-2017 04:55 AM

SJMaye,
General finishes makes some products specifically for floors (Pro Image Flooring Topcoat). It would probably be a better choice for stairs because it is designed to be less slippery, therefore safer. It only has a 10 day cure time and can be walked on in socks in 12-18 hours. The FAQ for gel stains says you can use any of their topcoats over it but I am not sure if they are only talking about their consumer grade products or that includes the pro line products too?

zzzzDave, You may need to be more specific with your question to provide some context about what you are trying to do and it might be a good idea to create your own forum topic to ask the question. I can think of 2 areas where buffing a finish is common. First if you apply an oil finish such as Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) or Danish Oil as well as Tung Oil, you usually buff the finish after about a day or when the finish cures to bring up the shine a little. The other time is after applying a wax finish, usually on top of another finish. You usually let the wax dry for a bit and the buff it to bring out the shine. There are other times when buffing helps but I need some context to be of more help.

-- 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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SJMaye

4 posts in 20 days


#5 posted 11-23-2017 01:42 PM

Lazyman- All I have is two stair treads to do. I would like to try to use the Gel Top Coat I already have. My only real concern is the cat. I THINK I can convince my wife to stay off of them. Although it shows full cure in 30 days, my experience is it seems pretty dry in a couple days. In fact I doubt the cat could step on it a leave a mark at 2 days.

Do you think I need a full 30 days?

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

116554 posts in 3410 days


#6 posted 11-23-2017 02:05 PM

Welcome To Ljs ,SJ
Many finishes particularly Oil finishes have long total cure times but if you can get past the recoat time it should be fine to use, although I think general finishes Arm R Seal is a more durable product for use on stair treads.

https://generalfinishes.com/retail-products/oil-based-top-coats/arm-r-seal-urethane-topcoat

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Sparks500

94 posts in 163 days


#7 posted 11-23-2017 02:49 PM

I tried gel coat once. It’s easy to work with, but it didn’t seem to penetrate like oil stain. A light scratch would expose bare wood underneath.
Maybe I didn’t apply it correctly, but, I haven’t used it since.

-- Rockhound: You realize we're sitting on 45,000 pounds of fuel, one nuclear warhead and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder? Makes you feel good doesn't it?

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1493 posts in 1220 days


#8 posted 11-23-2017 03:28 PM



Lazyman- All I have is two stair treads to do. I would like to try to use the Gel Top Coat I already have. My only real concern is the cat. I THINK I can convince my wife to stay off of them. Although it shows full cure in 30 days, my experience is it seems pretty dry in a couple days. In fact I doubt the cat could step on it a leave a mark at 2 days.

Do you think I need a full 30 days?

- SJMaye

I can’t imagine a cat would have any affect on it after a couple days either, Just create a cardboard bridge to keep the cat off until you feel it is ready for sock traffic. But Jim is right—the Arm-R-Seal would be a more durable solution than the gel topcoat on stair treads. Just be aware that it might be more slick than a finishes designed for floors. Can’t really comment on the impact of walking on it before 30 days are up since I’ve never used it on a floor but sock traffic would probably qualify as 7-10 days light use.

-- 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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SJMaye

4 posts in 20 days


#9 posted 11-23-2017 07:31 PM

Got it. Thanks

Can t really comment on the impact of walking on it before 30 days are up since I ve never used it on a floor but sock traffic would probably qualify as 7-10 days light use.

- Lazyman

Got it. Thanks

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zzzzDave

5 posts in 901 days


#10 posted 11-24-2017 01:48 PM

Thanks Lazyman. That pretty much answers my question. I wasn’t sure when when to use buffing and when to just use higher and higher grit of sandpaper and then poly or lacquer.

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