Calling my Fellow Gel Stainers....

beekeeperswifeAugust 8, 2011

Regarding the ends of the cabinets that have the "fake" wood. Probably just a piece of faux woodgrain on essentially paper/plastic.....Can I gel stain that? Did you? How?

Do I need to prime it first? And then just accept the fact that you don't see grain (real or fake) on the ends.

I just did the vanity in my hall bath and we were able to put cut a piece of oak plywood to go over top and then stain that. However in my master bathroom, there is a tall cabinet at the end with way too many cuts, corners, etc that fitting a piece of plywood isn't a great option.

So, anybody? I need advice because this last piece of orangey oak has got to go!

(you can see my bathroom vanity success on the Home Decor Forum under "Bathroom Reveal-Finally"



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I used gel stain with ceiling fan blades. They actually turned out really well. I am guessing it is the same as what you are talking about, faux wood. I got a nice espresso color too but had to go to a local lumber store for it.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 5:23PM
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Google gel stain , I just read yesterday how you can use gel stain on steal doors. You need to use a special tool to make it look like real wood. I will look for the site, I was just at various site to start a project.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 5:32PM
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I think you would need to make sure you went over it with steel wool and make sure not to miss any spots. Once you do that, I believe gel stain will adhere. I did my fiberglass door with gel stain- no problem sticking initially and no problem with finish long-term.

I am in the process of refinishing my oak cabs also. I bought wood veneer from Rockler Woodworking. It has 3M adhesive already applied. I finished wilth gel stain and 3 coats of pre-cat lacquer spray. I then cut it with scixors, removed the non-stick paper and pressed against the cabinet ends. IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL! I think it actually looks better than the regular factory finish and the veneer is very high quality wood (no knots or ugly imperfections in the graining).

I finished the wood veneer to match my natural oak cabinets. In a couple of months I plan to clean all cabinet surfaces, rough them with steel wool, apply gel stain in a medium-dark finish mix of walnut and cherry stain, and then coat with lacquer. You would not believe how easy it is to apply the lacquer spray I bought!!! I read many woodworking forums before I selected the method and materials and it is turning out very nicely so far.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Is it one of those ends that is like a photo of wood stuck on some partical board. Or is it just a low end laminate?

I have never gel stained the sticker fake wood, but I have done some super cheap laminate.

The only thing I would caution is it raising up from the liquid. That can happen with either the super cheap laminate or the "sticker wood".

Under my breakfast counter was some really cheap laminate wood. There was one tiny spot on an edge that you could see started to raise up (if you were really looking, it was pretty hidden) after a few coats of gel stain and top coat. But for me, I went in knowing if it didn't turn out nice, I would just purchase some beadboard and stain it and cover the area (under my breakfast bar). Most of my orange oak stained perfectly though.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 3:15AM
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I forgot to add that I also used "sanding spray". This will help seal the stain on the particle board so that it does not lift off when you apply the top coat. I used a vinyl sealer which was specifically recommended for kitchen cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 7:27AM
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thanks for the ideas. I think I will prime it (I think it is the "sticker wood" [love that]) and then stain it and maybe try the faux wood grain tool too.

I might just use the spray primer for plastic like I did when painting my kitchen cabinets. It dried quickly. I have to tape off the area for the overspray. or maybe I'll use the Bin Zinsser primer......

decisions decisions.

(currently gel staining on a huge dresser out in my garage, and with the humidity it is taking so long to dry. Might get this done by September. maybe.)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 8:41AM
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what did you end up doing with the side of your cabinet? I'm ready to attack my bathroom vanity (oak and fake 'oak').

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:23AM
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For my hallway bath my dh cut a piece of thin luaun (?) plywood, glued & nailed it to the end. Then I gel stained over it. Worked great.

But, when we did our master bath (while prepping for selling the house) we just used a primer on the end and it took the gel stain very nicely.

So, either way works.

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:33AM
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I just gel stained my cabinets with the fake wood grain laminate on the ends. I cleaned it, lightly sanded it with 220 grit and then stained it. Came out looking great. Took two thin coats on that whereas the real wood took 3 thin coats.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:35PM
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