Gel Stain Instructions

buehlJanuary 3, 2011

How to Gel Stain Your Cabinets

From CelticMoon...

You just need time, maybe $50 in supplies, and patience. No skill.

Here's more than you need to know:

My cabinets are frameless, good condition and good layout. But the finish had gone orange and ugly, with the oak graining too busy for me. Cabinets are 18 years old, very poorly finished oak veneered slab doors. Plain with no crevices. They didn't even take the doors off to finish them!!! No stain or finish on the hinge side edges. Cheezey, huh?

I looked into changing out cabinets, but that was way too much money, since my layout was OK. Painting didn't seem right because the doors were plain slabs. I considered new doors but that still meant a lot of money. For a few years I tried to figure a way to add molding toward a mission look, but the rounded door edges made that impossible. Then trolling in a kitchen emporium showroom this last year I noticed dark wood slab doors, kind like mine, but darker. That was the answer.

First I tried Minwax Polyshades. Dicey product. Hard to brush on neatly, then gummy, then seemed to leave a sticky tacky residue. I did a thread on the Woodworking Forum "Evil Polyshades to the Rescue" which elicited a lot of conflicting "expert" opinions and arguments that one must strip to bare wood.

(Thread may still be around as that Forum moves slow.) I properly stripped acres of woodwork in an old Victorian when I was young and stupid. Never again! Jennifer-in-clyde (in the same boat) and I stumbled around on that woodworking thread to get to this method.

Shopping List:

electric screwdriver or screw drill bits

mineral spirits to clean the years of gunk off the cabinet

miracle cloths (optional)

fine sandpaper

box-o-disposable gloves from Walgreens or the like

old socks or rags for wiping on coats

disposable small plastic bowls or plates, and plastic spoons or forks for stirring/dipping (optional)

General Finishes water base Expresso stain (pretty thick, but not quite a gel) This one may not even be a needed step if the Java gets it dark enough.

General Finishes Java gel stain (poly based)

General Finishes clear top coat (poly based)

old sheets or plastic sheeting or newspaper

Rockler woodworking stores are a good place to find the General Finish products. Or some larger hardware stores. Quart of each was more than enough for my 60 doors and drawer fronts and goes for $12-14 at Rockler. There are smaller sizes if your project is small.

Setup and Planning:

You will need a place to work and leave wet doors to dry overnight - I set up 2 spaces, garage for sanding/cleaning and basement for staining/sealing. Use newspaper or plastic to protect the surface and floor. Figure out how you will prop doors to dry.

Plan blocks of 20-30-minutes for sanding/cleaning bundles of, say, 6 doors at a time. Then just 10 minute sessions to wipe on coats. The coats will need to dry for about 24 hours, so figure that each section of the kitchen will be...

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[Please, do not bump this thread!]

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 5:32AM
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Gorgeous cabinets - you give us ol' orange Oakies hope for redemption!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 4:37PM
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I'm gonna try this on my bathroom vanity. We're remodeling and going to re-use our oak vanity. No General Finishes are sold in my area, so I ordered online. Can't wait to try!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 1:41AM
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P.S. I see it says "please don't respond to thread", meaning that if you respond, it will go to Buehl, and she was just doing a favor reposting the instructions. She won't be able to answer any questions and celticmoon won't see it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 11:57PM
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Sorry, Buehl, I meant to put this in the current thread!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 12:00AM
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Sorry, Buehl, I meant to put this in the current thread!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 12:02AM
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Celtic Moon, do I put all coats of Java on before I put any coats of clear coat?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 4:49PM
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