Gel stain not really working...

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Old 12-03-20, 01:31 PM
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Gel stain not really working...

Hi all

Hoping someone can figure out where I've gone wrong. I'm trying to gel stain my oak cabinets almost black and its not really working out. They are solid oak 80's style honey color. I've cleaned and lightly sanded then gel stained using various amounts of sanding, cleaning, gel stains, leaving it on for minutes or hours before wiping off and I never seem to be able to get darker than a brown. Ive used two different black gel stains (varathane and saman)

I'm starting to wonder if there is some kind of clear coat on top of these that won't take the gel stain properly.... Should I try some kind of chemical stripper first and give the gel stain another shot after that?

So far I've only been testing on cabinets that are going to be taken out of my kitchen during the reno so I'm not sunk yet anyways.

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-03-20, 02:25 PM
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i've never been fond of gel stains although they can be applied over a sanded existing finish. have you tried a little of the stain over raw wood to make sure it's the color you want?
 
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Old 12-03-20, 04:54 PM
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I'm starting to wonder if there is some kind of clear coat on top
Most cabinets have a top coat, you cant stain a top coat!
 
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Old 12-04-20, 09:20 AM
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Marksr

Yes I've tried and it looks right. I'm using black in both types of gel. If I got even close to a black that would be good enough but its nowhere near. My hope was to use gel to make my job easier. My mother in law did her cabinets this way about ten years ago and the finish still look great. Same 80's honey oak cabinets same stain etc but my results are not the same... sigh....

I'm gonna pickup some stripper to get through the top coat. Any recommendations on something to take that off and leave me with a good surface to gel stain on?



Marq1

Yes in fact you can and that is what makes gel stain different from regular stain. You are supposed to be able to go right over top of existing finish.
 
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Old 12-04-20, 10:18 AM
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IMO the more caustic the stripper is the better.
I'd be tempted to try adding some oil base black paint to oil base poly and see how that does. Basically a homemade version of tinted poly.
 
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Old 12-05-20, 09:30 PM
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Good idea Mark. I've got supplies on hand for a similar attempt. I mixed black aniline dye with minwax polycrylic and put that down. It looks like its going to work but I'll have to wait a few hours and do at least a second coat.

Cheers!
 
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Old 12-06-20, 06:52 AM
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Yup that worked perfect! 2 coats of polycrylic with the aniline dye and they are nice and black with all the wood grain still showing! It looks like a regular stain job. I'll probably still do a third coat of clear on top.

This will save me a ton of time!
Thanks!
 
 

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