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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Default Finishing with gel or oil

I made a little computer desk for my youngest son and when it come down to the color and finish, having always used an oil stain, I thought it would be great to try a gel stain this time. What a night mare!! I think I tried and retried 5 times trying to get the finish not to look like a painted on finish... What was I doing wrong???
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 05:55 PM
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Sorry I do not see the problem looks likes you Have done a fine job
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 06:08 PM
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Nice piece, Thomas.

You may not be doing anything wrong. I understand gel stains require a different technique to other stains.

Practice makes perfect.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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I was so scared of ruining the whole project that I went back and scraped n sanded all the gel back off and refinished it with oil-stain. One other issue I encountered was that the gel made the red oak's wood-grain swell, that's what freaked me out most of all!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 08:45 AM
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Gel stain for the most part doesn't soak into the wood as much, you got to work it in at least that was my experience. I liked it for pine because it doesn't bloch so much cause it basically lays on the surface. It made the grain swell, Wonder what caused that?
Looks Beautiful!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 04:06 PM
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I don't see the problem from your photos (nice build by the way).

I prefer using gel stains when I stain. I sand to 220. Seal the wood with a 'spit' coat of blond shellac. Light sanding to smooth the surface again. I wipe the stain on with a small clean rag and immediately wipe off all excess with a clean rag. Not dark enough? I give it another coat the same way. If it's really not getting enough color I may let it sit for 10 minutes, but as mentioned in an earlier post, they don't absorb. I nearly always practise on a cut-off piece of the stock I'm working to ensure the color and intesity is what I'm after.

May the grain be ever in your favor.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 07:09 PM
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Thomas it looks like you did a good job with the oil stain.

I don't know why the gel stain caused the grain to raise on the oak but pine and similar soft woods will sometimes raise when you apply the stain on the raw wood. You might want to raise the grain with a little water first then resand with fine sand paper and then stain after the water dries.

If this happens to me I usually use a synthetic sanding pad with more stain and go over the entire piece then follow that with a clean rag. Let this dry and and buff with a clean cloth. If the color is not deep enough then stain again to get the color you want. Then apply the finish.

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