|I've see many posts here recommending gel stain for furniture. I'm ready to take the plunge and change my blonde desk set to something darker and richer. Is there a particular brand of stain that I should get?|
|General Finishes. Hands down million times better than min-wax. |
Got some last week to redo the bathroom vanity. Oh my oh my. I'm addicted and looking for more projects. I've got my radar on the kitchen table base, the dresser in my bedroom, the vanity in my master bath and the vanity in the powder room. Easy peasy, does take some time because you have to let it dry between steps.
I painted on the stain, did not wipe it off, just let it dry. you read that right.
practice on the back of something first.
Over on Kitchen Forum there are directions from celticmoon, you can just google for the directions.
and use the General Finishes top coat too.
|Thanks. Can I get that at Lowe's or HD, or would it come from a paint store...? What color did you use? Do you have pics of your vanity?|
|General Finishes gets another vote here. I had to order mine from Rockler. Great stuff.|
|I would look them up online and see where you can buy it. Not at Lowes or HD. I used the darkest one they had. The Gel STain is oil based, they also have water based but...it's not gel stain it's regular stain. |
I just put a top coat on the doors, they are drying in the dining room....ok, i'll snap a photo for you. and show you what the wood looked like before with photo of the vanity in the powder room. The pictures of the doors are not really doing this justice...sorry. but you get the idea.
When reading celticmoon's directions, note that I did not do the step of using the first stain. Didn't need to do that.
and some rotten during photos:
|I snapped a quick photo of the cabinet while I was up there taking a pic of my master bath for prill.... |
so here you go!
|Your vanity looks great! It is darker than I was hoping for, plus my desk set is much lighter than your original finish. I'll see what I can find! Thanks for all your help!|
|amj, I did what BKW is doing now. I found the gel stain easy to work with and I especially loved how it settles over the grain more, making it a little less noticeable. Don't forget to give it plenty of time before you put the doors back on. |
Bee, what a great job. Can't wait to see the new hardware on it.
|I have this huge entertainment center that is golden oak (wood or composite) and I would like it to be much darker. It cannot be moved to another location, so my question is, can it be done where it stands, in the living room, without making too much of a mess? |
If there are fumes, I can open all windows and have a couple of fans.
I'm just in the thinking stage right now, but am going to try a little on the inside of one of the small doors.
Here is a link that might be useful: entertainment center
|wantoretire (me too, btw): |
Yes, you can do it in place, just use lots of drop cloths, open a window. I am staining the shell of the vanity in place, the doors I moved just so I could do them horizontally.
Your entertainment center seems to be an excellent candidtate!
The first gel stain on the scene was Bartley's, and I have used it since the 90's. They also have the best gel varnish. General is generally more available. Minwax I concur should be avoided as the color is less intense.
All of them set up fast, I think Bartley sets fastest of all.
|BKW - I just went to the General Finishes website to see their products and find a local retailer. There were several oil based products. Can you tell me if you used "GF Oil Base Liquid Wipe-on Penetrating Wood Stains" or "GF Oil Base Gel Wood Stains" (or something else)? Your cabinets look so nice that I want to follow your lead on this one! :)|
|the Gel. |
thanks, and good luck!
|I know I could look this up, but do you have to sand off the old varnish, etc. before using the gel stain? Are you using the GS over the old finish?|
|BKW - after I read your response, I just though duh - GEL! I got hung up on oil-based vs. water, yadda, yadda, yadda. |
Grandmaof3 - I found celticmoon's directions on google. They must be hidden on this forum because I could not find them here. Anyway, she suggests a light sanding.
Following celticmoon's instructions (which I plan to follow):
I have posted a way long 'how to' a bunch of times here. Search engine isn't pulling it up, so with apologies for the repetition here's more than you need to know:
It is a very doable project. You just need time, $50 in supplies, and patience. No skill.
My cabinets were frameless, good condition and good layout. But the finish had gone orange and ugly, with the oak graining too busy for me. Cabinet were 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 was even put on the hinge side edges. Bad workmanship.
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 of 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 slowly.) Long ago when I was young and stupid I properly stripped acres of woodwork in an old Victorian. Never again! Jennifer-in-Clyde (in the same boat) and I stumbled around on that woodworking thread to get to this method.
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:
Open and stir up the Espresso stain, then spoon some into a plastic bowl. Close the tin so it doesn't get contaminated. Slide a sock over your hand, grab a gob of Espresso and smear it on. Wipe off the excess. Let it dry well - overnight is good. It will lighten as it dries, but then darken again with any other coat or sealer. A second coat might result in a deeper tone at the end - though it seemed like the second coat was just dissolving the first. YMMV.
FINISHING AND REASSEMBLY:
This is a pretty easy project to do. Hard to screw it up. The worst is the prep - relative to that, smearing on the coats is cake. I had over 60 pieces (big kitchen) AND island sides and book shelves, etc and I admit I lost steam partway through. Had to push myself through the last of it. But it was worth it. Folks think I got all new cabinets - it looks that good.
Now the finish will not be as durable as factory finish - go at it with a Brillo pad and you WILL abrade it. But it has held up pretty well. And after a year of pretty heavy use, I had just a few nicks, easily repaired.
(6/08 Add: I'm now (18 months later) seeing some wear near the pulls on the most used cabinets. Will add color with Java if it bugs me.)
(9/09 Add: Never did bother to touch up those couple spots. Bugging me a bit more, and I will get to it soon. It is the drinking glass cabinet and the snack cabinet, LOL. And the garbage pull-out. The rest still looks perfect. Lesson: Use an extra coat or 2 of gel on the way frequently used cabinets.)
(12/09 Add: I did finally touch up the spots that were worn. Used just Java to get the color right, then a bunch of top coats. Looks perfect again.)
I added smashing hardware, raised my pass-through, resurfaced the Corian (also simple but messy and tedious) and replaced the DW and sink. It looks gorgeous to me and I really enjoy the space - how it sits all quiet, clean and serene, then gets all crazy with the food and folks du jour. I couldn't be happier, especially that I didn't have to work another year just to pay for the update!!
Good luck with your project!! And let me know if you try it and how it turns out.
Here is a link that might be useful: more before during and after pix
|celticmoon suggests not to sand between coats, which I did not do. However, if I had the opportunity to play around, I might try it and see what happens with a light sanding. I noticed that the doors seemed a little "rough", so I wonder if a light steel wool would work. It could however, pull off the gel stain. So, it would all be an experiment. |
Mine do feel smooth now with the top coat on them.
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