Gel Stain problem - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-27-2011, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Gel Stain problem

Hey folks,

Ever have problem using gel stain? I used it on a test piece and it seemed so easy. Project is oak solid and plywood. I used wood stain conditioner, then I used Minwax gel stain. I put it on my project (a cabinet that's 74"X 30" X 24") and it before I finished on the top part it was like glue! the only way I could finish it was putting on some gel stain, and where it stuck, I had to re-apply in order to make it liquid again in order to make it wipe off. Is this how it's supposed to work? Would appreciate any advice.
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-27-2011, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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further to this

I went back to the place where I bought the gel stain and they said that it has alcohol in it. After I described how big the project was, the advice I got was to NOT use gel stain and use regular stain. So I think I'm back to sanding as much of it off and restarting.
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-27-2011, 06:03 PM
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I just read about stains. Gel stain does not work well with open pore wood like oak. I used it and it seemed to work OK. Another problem is that gel stain dries fast. Like real fast. Either get someone to help you wipe it off ASAP or work on a smaller section. Gel varnish I found out is the same way. Got to move fast or it will start to dry. You should be able to apply a little more stain to soften the sticky stuff up. You can use mineral spirits to wipe the dried stuff off. I leave my rage wet with stain to help keeping the stain from drying too fast. Conclusion: Do small areas and don't leave it set.

If it wasn't my idea it can't be a good one.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-27-2011, 06:51 PM
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I used gel stain and the largest areas I used were 18 inches by 36 inches, applied over the entire area quickly and rubbed off quickly. I think a benefit of gel stain is that you don't get brush marks etc and can move quickly without fear of sub-part results. Just glop it on with a rag or applicator pad and then rub off with an old T.


the splotchy areas in the back that you can see are pine and obscured by the fish tank - the "show" areas are Red Oak - General Finishes Georgian Cherry gel stain

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post #5 of 13 Old 08-28-2011, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jr.Woodchuck View Post
I just read about stains. Gel stain does not work well with open pore wood like oak. I used it and it seemed to work OK. Another problem is that gel stain dries fast. Like real fast. Either get someone to help you wipe it off ASAP or work on a smaller section. Gel varnish I found out is the same way. Got to move fast or it will start to dry. You should be able to apply a little more stain to soften the sticky stuff up. You can use mineral spirits to wipe the dried stuff off. I leave my rage wet with stain to help keeping the stain from drying too fast. Conclusion: Do small areas and don't leave it set.
not to be rude but thats a bunch of !@#$%$$^&. gel stain dont dry that fast, and work great with most woods. i use nothing but gels. they should be put on ( moped ) med to thick coat. gels are very good at re activating itself, so sections at a time can be done. gels are also grate for toning.
gels dont normaly need pre conditionrs, and usually i dont condition oak, with the exceptions of veneered oak ply.
the other thing to consider is minwax product are not that grate. i would recoment moving to a better product.
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-28-2011, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack warner View Post
not to be rude but thats a bunch of !@#$%$$^&. gel stain dont dry that fast, and work great with most woods. i use nothing but gels. they should be put on ( moped ) med to thick coat. gels are very good at re activating itself, so sections at a time can be done. gels are also grate for toning.
gels dont normaly need pre conditionrs, and usually i dont condition oak, with the exceptions of veneered oak ply.
the other thing to consider is minwax product are not that grate. i would recoment moving to a better product.
+1. Gel stains are fairly easy to use. Read your product label for application instructions. It's designed to go on thick, and the color density lessens as it's wiped off. It does work very well with Red Oak.








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post #7 of 13 Old 08-28-2011, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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@jack - unfortunately, I'm doing solids and ply. On the can it said to use the pre-conditioner... but maybe that's just for like pine.
Either it was too hot or the AC and ventilation system was generating too much wind, but the results were the same... it was really quick to set up and was very tough to get off one it started to dry. So is it a wipe on and wipe off quickly kind of product? You usually have a lot more time with regular stain.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-28-2011, 10:25 AM
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pre condition is more for soft wood that absorbs more, and uneven. hardwoods like oak usually dont need it. direct sun light and wind, natural or created from a fan will shorten your workability time. i never stain with a fan blowing on the subject. tough it out then when done turn on the fan.

yes you should wipe off a gel stain, but you dont have to. gels suspend the pigment in a binder that dries hard. they can also be used as a toner to add color.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-28-2011, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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I reapplied tonight. I think I lost 10 pounds without having the air conditioner on, but it bought me a little time. Results seem to be better, but I do believe that wood is wood and it's only going to soak up so much.
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-28-2011, 11:49 PM
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Gels don't penetrate like other stains you might be used to. General finishes gel stains seem to be more or less pigment added to their urethane topcoat. After a few passes, you're likely not going to see much of change unless you apply it with a fairly saturated rag and almost paint it on. If you've applied a heavy coat and plan on using their gel topcoat as well, I'd recommend mixing a little stain with the topcoat for your first pass. If your thick coats haven't dried enough, the wiping action may take off more than you're expecting otherwise.
Also I've found that ceiling fans and humid, hot days really affect the application process. It can be like wiping paste.
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post #11 of 13 Old 08-29-2011, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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I tried to go back and put on a second coat but that turned out to be a bad decision. In short, I had to put enough gel stain on to get it back to the first coat. That being said, can you use regular stain over gel stain?
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-29-2011, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romes_32 View Post
I tried to go back and put on a second coat but that turned out to be a bad decision. In short, I had to put enough gel stain on to get it back to the first coat. That being said, can you use regular stain over gel stain?
no. you shouldnt.
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-04-2011, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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I managed to get the stain the color and coverage I needed. However, I'm wondering what finish to use. In the past I've used polyurethane. In my experience, poly takes a while to dry but is very durable. I have a two piece project. A 68"X60"X14" shelving system that's sitting on a 74X30X24 base. Is it best to go with poly or should I try to go with lacquer or another type of finish?
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