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Gel Stain Not What I Thought it would be

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Forum topic by andy_P posted 1796 days ago 37440 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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andy_P

218 posts in 1806 days


1796 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question fiishing

I am looking for comments, tips, experiences regarding the use of Gel Stain. I have just tried my first finishing job using Gel Stain and am less than pleased with the experience if not the results. The piece I was finishing is the Toy Box shown in my gallery.

The project ended up looking fine but using the Gel Stain was a disappointmen. I found it was difficult to apply without having to heap it on. If I tried to use a cloth to apply it, the stain started to dry out too soon and was harder to wipe off and end up with a smooth looking finish job.

I was using Minwax Gel Stain. I would appreciate some feedback. Maybe I am doing something wrong?????

Andy

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.


32 replies so far

View woodnut's profile

woodnut

389 posts in 2650 days


#1 posted 1796 days ago

I by no means am expert, but I have used or tried to use gel-stains I had the same problem that you describe then I read a blog, ( I think it was on here) where they said to first apply a coat of shellac then the gel-stain and that did seem to help. I was applying it to pine so my biggest concern was splotches. I am sure someone else more qualified than myself well be along shortly to help out.

-- F.Little

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2175 days


#2 posted 1796 days ago

With gel stain it makes a big difference because some are much better than others. In using gel stains you want to make sure you don’t rub it in very much or you will negate the benefits concerning blotching. Gel stain is like thick paint so don’t expect the same look that oil stains give .

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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andy_P

218 posts in 1806 days


#3 posted 1796 days ago

This is Volador lumber that I am working with, so I don’t think there is a need for shellac….but I might test that.

Jim, you said a mouthful…..Gel Stain is different! I think I will stick to oil stains in the furture unless someone comes up with a real plus for it. I think I better go back and re-read the articles in woodworking magazines and find what I was missing and again why they are supposed to be so great.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2366 days


#4 posted 1796 days ago

dump the minwax and get some good gel stain… try the general finishes gell stain as well as the bartley gel stain… they are both superb products and the bartley is very thick while the general finishes is a little thinner and dries much slower than the bartley which dries very fast.

View Don46's profile

Don46

43 posts in 2200 days


#5 posted 1796 days ago

I’m about to finish (stain and varnish) an extensive amount of red oak cabinets and wine bins in a semi finished basement Is gel stain going to be easier or more complicated for this kind of project I wonder? I want to make it look nice and make the finish durable.

I have been reading on the finewoodworking site and there was an encouraging article on using gel stains, but they did not give high marks to the Minwax. Barleys was the one they touted the most, but it looks like that has to be ordered online; I want to be able to test out one or two colors before committing. I can buy General Finishes brand at a local wood working store and may go with that.

I welcome your suggestions.

-- --Don, Columbia, SC

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teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2366 days


#6 posted 1796 days ago

general finishes and bartley will both do great… read what i said above for a comparison…

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andy_P

218 posts in 1806 days


#7 posted 1795 days ago

That very well could be the problem. teenage…..from the mouth of babes, etc.

Don, I would go with the suggestion of using a better quality gel stain. I know Minwax will not like this but facts are facts. I definietely would not try Minwax Gel Stain again. I think I will “heap” it on my next project just to get rid of it. I do most of my ordering on line, so I think I will give Barley’s a try. Any suggestions on where to get it?

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View Steven Naslund's profile

Steven Naslund

12 posts in 2099 days


#8 posted 1795 days ago

II have used Bartley’s and did not have any issues with it. I put it on a lot like you would do shoe polish. I liked that fact that it did not overdarken the end grain. It seems to penetrate slower and be pretty easy to control. I am not sure about the problem you were seeing. Seems to me like something was making it dry way too fast. Could the surface have been real hot or anything like that?

-- Steven Naslund, Chicago IL

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Grampa

20 posts in 2033 days


#9 posted 1795 days ago

I have found the same problem. Went back to using oil stain or water based. But I do like gel varnish, it really seems to work well ( with no stain).

-- -- Doug H, MI

View andy_P's profile

andy_P

218 posts in 1806 days


#10 posted 1795 days ago

Steven, the temperture where I am is HOT. It is over 105 outside but I keep the shop at around 75 with a swamp cooler.

Grampa, I understand what you are saying. I have been using Minwax Wipe On Poly for a long time and really happy with the results. Takes a little longer but no worries about brush srokes. It gets easier with each succeeding coat. Is that what you have found? I am going to have to try some I am going to have to try some Gel Varnixh one of these days.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View Marc5's profile

Marc5

304 posts in 1940 days


#11 posted 1795 days ago

I used Gel Stain on a table I just made and ended up with a little blotching. I found it easy to apply with a rag but noted that I needed to watch how much pressure I used wiping off the stain to keep the finish even. I may try using a conditioner prior to applying the stain next time and see what happens.

-- Marc

View 747DRVR's profile

747DRVR

199 posts in 1955 days


#12 posted 1795 days ago

I agree with Teenagewoodworker.I have used Bartley many times and it works great.I have never used the General Finishes Gel stain but have used many of their other products so I am sure it is an excellent product.If you shellac it first it will help with the blotching but it will be hard to get much color on.

View andy_P's profile

andy_P

218 posts in 1806 days


#13 posted 1795 days ago

Marc,

Note the response from 747DRVR…..What wood was your table made from? If it is soft wood, you probably definitely want to use a prestain product.

747DRVR…..Can I assume a commercial pilot? Former DL employee here.

Andy

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View Marc5's profile

Marc5

304 posts in 1940 days


#14 posted 1795 days ago

Andy,

I see his response and will try. The table was made from ash.

-- Marc

View Ben Kahmann's profile

Ben Kahmann

231 posts in 1870 days


#15 posted 1795 days ago

Their is a great article in the Sept. issue of “American Woodworker” mag and a video on www.americanwoodworker.com/glazing about gel stains and glazing techniques. If you get a minute, check it out….....

-- Ben Kahmann Dayton, OH

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