On the recommendation of someone here, I bought some Rockler Mission
Oak Gel stain for a bookcase project. Previously I had used
tradtional solvent based stains. My woodworking experience is fairly
limited. The stain is darker than I would have picked out, but I am
listening to SWMBO to keep things happy on the homefront.
The project is a bookcase, oak plywood and oak trim. I live in
Houston where its hot and humid. I sanded through 220.
I stirred the gel stain before applywith an old cotton sheet scrap.
When I applied the gel stain to a test board, it seemed easy to do.
On the large parts, like the sides, it was difficult to use in my
opinion. The Gel did not spread very much, and had to be worked a
lot. When I attempted to do large surfaces, it dried quickly and
became a thick blob sort of texture, and this made the plywood
blotchy. It also left white un-stained parts in the deep grain, you'd
have to really work it get those stained completely as the gel is
pretty thick and doesn't flow like the solvent based stains.
It got so bad I needed to "cut" the thickening gel stain so I used
some thinner on a new rag to get it to spread out evenly and remove
the dark spots from what would normally be the highlight section of
the wood. The thinner worked, but when you step back and look at the
project now, it looks horrible with a big light spot where I used the
thinner and other screwups.
I have four of these bookcases assembled, this was the first one. I
plan on using the thinner and sanding out some of the problem spots
and re-staining, taking care not to go through the plywood venier.
Does anyone have any suggestions on working this gel stain when it
seems to dry so fast? What sort of rag is best? Maybe a squegee or
brush to get the stuff spread out faster? I've got a lot of SF to
cover on these bookcases.