I started finishing a project and am having a minor problem with get stain.
The piece was sanded to 220 grit and then dyed. The dye was allowed to dry
for 24 hours. I then applied a coat of gel stain. After 10 minutes I rub
bed it off and left it for a day. It is toooo dark. Can I use something l
ike mineral spirits to rub it so that the color is a bit lighter? The dye
was water based. The gel stain is oil.
for 24 hours. I then applied a coat of gel stain. After 10 minutes I rubbed it
off and left it for a day. It is toooo dark. Can I use something like mineral
spirits to rub it so that the color is a bit lighter? The dye was water based.
The gel stain is oil.
In 24 hours, the oil has likely dried to the point that mineral spirits
won't touch it. Lacquer thinner might but could be hard to control (get
even). Sanding would work too.
Question: why dye AND stain? Why not multiple coats of one or the other?
If anyone could figure out how to lighten the color of a stained piece
and still have it look good, they could make a fortune.
Been doing this a while I have, and although I have seen a lot of
attempts to lighten or alter after application of stain and dye, never
have I ever seen one work. A nice project... ruined. Some of today's
stain can't even be sanded out because the penetrate so deeply.
Always, always, always.... test out colors and finishing protocols on
a scrap of your target wood. While I feel bad for Len, this is how
one learns to do that as part of the finishing process. Hopefully
this wasn't some huge project with a ton of time and material in it.
On Wednesday, May 29, 2013 9:22:43 AM UTC-5, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I did test it along with a number of different colors. The test pieces
were even made from a cutoff of the same piece of wood. I think I either left
the extra stain on too long or did not rub it off hard enough.
On Wednesday, May 29, 2013 8:57:45 AM UTC-7, Len wrote:
pposed to go into the grain and enhance it. A lot of furniture is done thi
Well, if you want to pop the grain with our without a dye background, you s
hould do a wash coat of shellac first(thinned a lot). Then a gel stain or a
grain filler or you can even use a traditional pigment stain but better to
just scrape the pigment from the bottom of an un-stirred can. Then you can
get color into the grain and not effect the background color. Works great
for grainy woods like white and red oak or mahogany. I consider it a must f
or oak and I do use gel stain for this as it is the easiest of the options.
On Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:58:47 AM UTC-7, Len wrote:
ry for 24 hours. I then applied a coat of gel stain. After 10 minutes I r
ubbed it off and left it for a day. It is toooo dark. Can I use something
like mineral spirits to rub it so that the color is a bit lighter? The dy
e was water based. The gel stain is oil.
On Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:58:47 AM UTC-7, Len wrote:
Gel stain is just stain mixed with thickened polyurethane. No need to leave
it on more than a few seconds. It really sits mostly on top of the wood an
d the thicker the film the darker the tone. Sanding is the only hope once i
t has dried and unless you want a distressed look you need to sand it down
to bare wood.
One good reason I suggest one ALWAYS does a complete finish on wood from th
e same boards, prepared in the same manner planed\sanded\etc. before touchi
ng your project. You should even wax it and look at it in the room where th
e piece will live to see how the light there works on it. I have about 20 b
oards with sample finishes I have tried over the years with descriptions on
the back of the prep and layers of color, etc. I can do 6 or 8 samples bef
ore choosing a finish and usually throw out most of the samples. I keep the
m if they are nice but not correct for the current project.
Well, I am always the guy willing to learn. In my finishing
experience, I have never heard that once. Not at the Sherwin Williams
training seminars I have been to, not at the Old Masters education and
application classes, nor anywhere else.
In fact, what they said had absolutely nothing to do with
polyurethane. Do you have a specific site, or cite from a gel stain
manufacturer detailing your description as their method of
On 5/30/2013 2:06 AM, email@example.com wrote:
A couple of comments that in some instances substantiate what you are
saying and what Sonoma is saying.
Pictured is a gel stain product that I used to use many years ago,
Bartley's gels stains and varnishes. Above is a stain.
This product did have a finish mixed in with the stain. This particular
fruitwood stain sable states the beauty of a varnish with the protection
of a poly.
Bartely's gel stains did leave a sheen although the sheen was blotchy
and IMHO was never enough to be the final coat.
Further with this particular product in another color stain I did have n
occasion on a project where the stain was unsatisfactory. Within the
day as a desperate effort to undo the problem I wiped the entire surface
down with paint thinner to remove the unwanted layer, resanded and
reapplied the same product again with results shown below.
I will say I was lucky and that I would never want to try this again.
This was not a new product form me when I built this chest nor was the
color. For some reason the oak plywood panels simply did not stain
properly the first time. Second time was a charm.
Note, the chest also had an additional 3 coats of Bartley's gel varnish.
Because both Bartley's and Lawrence Mcfaddens products are mostly
unobtainable anymore I have had to search for a replacement, in
particular gel varnishes.
About 18 months ago I again tried General Finishes Gel stains and was
shocked that they could be so easily removed. Basically if you went
back over a previous spot to perhaps remove excess build up at a corner
the wet stain rag would actually remove 50% the previously applied
stain. I found the product almost impossible to work with. That was an
Espresso color. This was on the interior of the pantry cabinet in my
house. I resorted to a dark brown dye.
hane. Do you have a specific site, or cite from a gel stain
Hey, I've been wrong before. I've been told this several times by pro finishers
I trust and from the performance I've seen I had no reason to doubt it. All the
mfr's do say to top coat after so I suppose it is a pretty soft or thin mix.
General is the only one I can see quickly that comes right out and says it.
But that fact that Varathane also offers a Gel Stain kind of indicates there
must be some association, I mean what else does Varathane brand make besides
Anyway, I know it makes some people sick to think they have put poly on their
projects but I use it where it is the right thing and I have left gel stain
coated items with no other top coat finish to long lasting good results.
I mean there is surely some pretty strong chain binder on there because they all
tout their ability to be used on fiberglass and that takes some adhesion I
So not proof positive other than the General brand I guess.
I didn't know that General finishes was marketing their "all in one"
finishes as gel finish. Checking your link, it indeed falls under the
"oil based wood stain SEALER" category, not stain.
General used to make a gel stain, that was indeed just a stain. I
have used it, and it wasn't that good. It didn't have the body to
make it a good gel product as it was too watery and the percentage of
solids was too low.
I see now they are marketing the on Minwax style colored poly. To me
this isn't stain, although it stains what you put it on. Of course
they can call it caviar if they want since it is their product, but
stain or dye is a colorant, not a finish. The stuff they show is
indeed probably some kind of lightweight poly, with enough colorant to
leave something behind including a small amount of protection, but not
enough that they feel the need to recommend a top coat. I wouldn't
trust the pros that you are consulting on this if they actually think
this is a true gel stain.
ere must be some association, I mean what else does Varathane brand make be
Varnish, spar varnish, sealers, wood prep products (commercial only),
specialty coating (commercial only), paint, commercial grade finishes
for wood floors, and Rustoleum products.
They also make real, true stains, not just gel finishes:
heir projects but I use it where it is the right thing and I have left gel
stain coated items with no other top coat finish to long lasting good resul
If they are "gel stains" as referenced above, that should work.
Personally, having been to enough training and education seminars to
fill a school year, I don't have any problems with poly. What folks
don't understand is there is no magic involved, no special formulas,
no unusual formulas. Just about any finish can be considered
polyurethane. Polyurethane only means multiple types of urethane
resins are in the mix. The types of solvents and carriers differ, but
they are almost all polyesters. And according to Sherwin Williams lab
guys the difference between poly and varnish in today's formulations
is almost nothing for the better brands.
hey all tout their ability to be used on fiberglass and that takes some adh
esion I suppose.
I don't know what a chain binder is in this case... but I can tell you
that the thing that makes the gel stains work is the heavy concentrate
of solids and the medium VOC of the carriers. Check out the MSDS
sheet pdf for Old Masters below. The huge amount of solids is the
reason they are so expensive. There are also other factors. When
Bartley's used to make a true gel stain (no or very little added
resins) this was on their literature:
"Our gel products start
art life much the same as their liquid counter-
parts. A powdery thickening agent is added to the
liquid mix of resins, pigments and mineral spirits.
In a process known as thixotropy, 100-gal. batches
are put in a machine resembling a large milk-
shake maker. As the ingredients are stirred for at
least an hour, the chemicals react together and
heat up to around 150°F. Once this temperature
has been reached, the mixture must be canned
quickly before it cools and becomes the thick mix-
ture known as a gel stain.
Proof positive for >>their<< all in one product labeled as a gel
As far as Leon's example goes, at least Bartley's is honest. They
don't claim it be a stain. A quick look at the can and it is labeled
correctly as a "gel finish". So it is like using colored Waterlox or
their brothers and sisters, just a different consistency.
I have used Old Masters stain so much and so long I don't look at
other brands. It is a true stain, with no finish in it. It is made
as described above by the old Bartley's recipe before they Minwaxed
into an all in one.
You can see their product here:
And by reading the MSDS sheet you can see there are NO urethanes added
to the mix. It is a thixotropic stain formulation (again, SW guy said
that just means thickened with solids and heat), with no finishing
properties. Top coat of your choice is a must.
Personally, have dyed some poly and used it using Behlen's SolaLux.
That's it. I can't see a time when I would use and all in one product
as I have never seen any finisher (certainly myself included) that can
maintain complete control over the color and finish over anything more
than a small project. That's just my preference. The paint guy at
Home Depot tells me the same thing my Woodcraft buddy does, and that
is they sell the daylights out of that all in one stuff.
esin. So they don't say poly but it is.
I am glad to know that you are sure that you know the exact resins in
their mix! I didn't. So if you are <sure> that the resins referenced
there are air curing polyester resins, formulated for abrasion and
water resistance, and <not> included to ease application or to ensure
segregation of the solids, then you are right!
I didn't see that, but since there are many, many kinds of resins, I
will leave it to you to define their specific formula and type or
resin used for that exact product.
On Fri, 31 May 2013 19:32:28 -0700 (PDT), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
Thank you for another series of informative posts. I've saved much of
what you have posted as it is very informative to me who doesn't do
much finishing. Most of my projects get oil or a wipe on finish. The
exception is my deck where the top railing gets spar varnish, and
every thing else gets teak oil. I live in the NW so everything gets
pressure washed every year. The teak oil isn't cheap, but I get the
real stuff and my cedar deck has held up for over a decade. Your
right it does pay to read the entire label. Watco teak oil says not
for deck use. Its about $12 a gallon cheaper.
I ran into the same problem, letting the gel stain stay on a bit to long an
d my piece was darker than I wanted. I took a brush cleaner ( I used sunny
side brush cleaner) specifically made for cleaning shellac and varnish from
brushes. I dip a clean cloth in it with my finger,and tested it on a spot
that won't be seen, and it worked great,but I wouldn't go and soak your r
ag in it, I did it in small areas at a time.
I too had a problem with java gel stain. Ive see furniture stained already
so I bought it for my bare wood dresser. I watched general finishes videos
on how to apply. I've stained before so I didn't think I needed a test.Boy
don't trust what you see or read! I applied a 8 inch section on a drawer,it
was dark almost black so immediately wiped away but it did not lighten. It
was like the wood sucked it in. It looks solid black, so dissapointed, now
I have to resand to remove. Guess I'll go back to Minwax products don't kn
ow what I did wrong.
On 10/13/2016 2:37 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Before you go to sanding too much see if some minerals spirits on a rag
will lighten it up.
But, you gotta be quick IME, as it is the devil/study in frustration to
get it blended in with what was wiped just a few minutes before.
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