Gel stain or regular stain?
This is cross-posted in Woodworking. This forum gets so much more traffic AND many of you have gel stain experience. This little desk isn't technically in my kitchen, but it could be. :)
I have a little oak desk that I use for extra storage and as a makeup station. So, it's functional but needs to be refinished. It's got some black marks on the surface (probably Sharpie from its time as a middle-schooler's desk) so it needs to be sanded down somewhat and probably have its original finish removed. The lighter area of the top is where I sanded a bit already.
I'm wondering whether I should use gel stain or a regular wood stain. My understanding of gel stain is that it's like a paint and sits on the surface of the wood, whereas a regular wood stain penetrates the wood more. Is that correct? Since a desk surface is more likely to be scratched than a vertical one, and this won't have a stone counter, is gel stain practical? Or will the poly finish provide enough protection? I want to go somewhat darker; I've seen a 50-50 mix of Candlelight and Java that I like. I don't really care if the grain shows.