Thanks for the info. The gel stains I've used in the past have still had a translucent quality to them, but I haven't applied them to a shellac base layer, and generally no more than 2 applications. How many applications of gel stain on top of shellac do you think would be necessary?It's possible the oil used in the stain or the finish on it has aged and darkened. This especially happens with shellac. You can achieve the color but not the dry look of the entire finish. Then how you go about duplicating the color would depend on the kind of wood you are finishing. With some species of wood which has very pronounced soft and hard grain if you just apply a dark stain it will end up with a very stripped look. You may need to put a thin sealer on the wood and use a gel stain to subdue this. A gel stain is closer to being paint than stain and will tend to cover up the grain of the wood.