Frustrating staining problem.!!Please Help!!
I am restaining my 4 yr old kitchen cabinets. We originally purchased them unfinished at Lowes. The are oak. When we finished them new we sanded lightly, used a wood conditioner, stained with a waterstain and completed with 2 coats of polyurethane, also water based. To be honest they didn't turn out that great. Some spots did not take in much color and appeared kind of blond? Got very uneven results. Now they were not wearing well especially around handles and across tops of base cabinets. I am finally trying to redo them now. I did some research and seems like the General Finish gel stain is a good product to use. Found a lot of info that said I only needed to sand off old lightly. Just too scuff. I cleaned and sanded with a 220 sandpaper. Now as you see in the picture they are still coming out uneven. some parts are way darker, especially right where the raised trim begins. Also just blotchy all around. The cabinets themselves look great. The doors not so much. Couple of them look okay. I followed instructions from General Finishes and also what a lot of people had posted they had done- Cleaned, light sand, wipe on with lint free rag, wipe off. So does anybody know why they look so terrible? I'm no pro but I don't understand whats happening. frustrating. Still the same problem we initially had but darker. Also some are not staining well where they were worn around handles and tops. I cleaned with dawn and hot water. Also wiped with mineral spirits. I used GF candlelight gel stain. I wiped on and off evenly it seemed but the cabinets look like i just wiped all over..
If anyone has any ideas for me please help!! Did I do something wrong?
Thank you for any advice.