Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 141, May 2017 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Gel Stains Finishing Tip
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

It's not often that an entirely new product that works very well comes to market. Designed specifically for home owner use, General Finishes Gel Stains, available at Highland Woodworking , can be used on prepped new wood surfaces or over existing finishes as well. Although it's been on the market for a while, it never really caught my attention until friends used this to "re-stain" their kitchen cabinets. The cabinets were finished in a light oak stain and they wanted the more trendy look of "espresso" or more simply a very dark brown. The results were really great so I decided to give it a try and was very pleased with my results.

Because of the viscosity of gel stains, they will not penetrate the wood so when you apply the stain with a brush or rag, start the wiping off process immediately. After wiping off the excess stain check your results to see if more coats are needed to get to where you want to be. Each application should dry for at least 24-48 hours with good air movement/ventilation. To recoat, sand very lightly with 400 grit paper, wipe off dust and proceed as before. Unlike thinner wipe-on stains, gel stains are great for evening out the color when blotching occurs. Simply blend in the areas that need more color and let dry. If you want a top coat use a water or oil based poly in the desired sheen.

For previously finished projects, clean all of the surfaces with mineral spirits (I like waterless hand cleaners) to remove any dirt or wax if topcoating with an oil-based poly/varnish. If you are using soap and water, topcoat with a water-based poly. When applying gel stain over an existing finish, the first coat should be a little heavy but not so heavy that the stain sags or begins to run on vertical surfaces. Be sure to let each coat of stain dry completely with very good ventilation/air movement for at least 24-48 hours. Lightly sand with 400 grit sandpaper between coats, removing the dust to achieve the desired results.

As always, practice on scrap to get used to using this type of stain.

Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net . You can also visit Alan's website by CLICKING HERE .

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

May 20, 2017  Finishing 101
June 14, 2017  Finishing the Finish
June 24-25, 2017  Antique Restoration
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