Is gel stain the “in thing” now?

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Honestly, I don’t do much staining. Everything I make from scratch gets a BLO/varnish mix or flax seed oil for food surfaces. I never stain the things I make. But, in this case I’m trying to match an antique chair.

So when I went to my favorite wood supply store to get stain I was surprised, then frustrated, then disappointed.

I made a point of asking for the finishing expert. I guess the guy near the door thought he knew about as much as anybody else. He insisted on selling me gel stain. Wouldn’t listen to anything I said and finally stated that all finishes are polyurethane. “See here, this shellac, lacquer, Waterlox, they are all polyurethane.” This is where I gave up and bought the darned gel stain. I hope I don’t ruin two weeks work with the stuff.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Yes gel stain has been the thing for a bit. I used it more like paint when I wanted to turn poplar dark brown and was feeling too lazy to use a dye followed by seal coat and stain.

I don’t necessarily like it, but I don’t dislike it either. I still tend to use liquid, albeit usually natural, to warm up the wood, followed by a finish that is generally polyurethane. I also use waterlox sans stain.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
I wouldn't say that gel stain is the "in thing".

Is this antique chair the rocking chair that you made a new rocker for? What kind of wood did you use for the new rocker and what color gel stain did you get get? Minwax, General Finishes, etc.

I made a point of asking for the finishing expert. I guess the guy near the door thought he knew about as much as anybody else. He insisted on selling me gel stain. Wouldn’t listen to anything I said and finally stated that all finishes are polyurethane. “See here, this shellac, lacquer, Waterlox, they are all polyurethane.” This is where I gave up and bought the darned gel stain. I hope I don’t ruin two weeks work with the stuff.
You talked with a guy who didn't have the first idea about finishing and the products used.

Gel stain sits on the surface and won't penetrate very deeply into the wood like a dye or pigment stain. It's not bad either.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Now it looks too nice compared to the other!

Are you refinishing the whole chair or just repairing parts?
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Now it looks too nice compared to the other!

Are you refinishing the whole chair or just repairing parts?
Making new rockers to replace broken, and touching up some damaged finish.

The chair is upholstery so they don’t want to refinish the whole thing.
 

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