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Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

Posted by bcnebunch (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 10, 09 at 9:35

We don't have $ in our budget to do a complete kitchen remodel, so we're looking at trying to gel stain our '90s oak cabinets a darker color, putting on new hardware and replacing the laminate countertops with silestone or starone. Have you gel stained your existing oak cabinets and have pictures? How intense was the gel stain application? Did you have to sand everything down, or just apply to clean surface? What kind of countertops are best for existing oak cabinets? I've heard that placing granite on top is not a good idea, because it so heavy.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

You heard that oak cabinets can't support granite? Glad I didn't hear that before I replaced mine! The silestone estimmate came within $200 of the granite and to me there was no comparison. Good luck with your remodel, you'll get all kinds of advice here.


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

add some trim at the top?

i've also found silestone to be in the price range of granite. there are some very nice looking laminates these days. check websites for Formica and Wilsonart...some you can get in different finishes like etched, matt, etc They will send you free samples if you call them. Wilsonart charged 1.00 for the larger pieces. no big deal - worth seeing it in real - and a decent size.

hardware, new counter top and trim (also on backside of peninsula) will make a huge change. so would different paint color. the stain also.

is there a place somewhere on cabs (inside?) where you could test out stain on it?

add some color into the area?


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

There was a member here years ago who did this. The results were absolutely AMAZING. I had bookmarked her photos and managed to dig up an old thread via google. The thread details the steps she took and links to before and after photos.

I think your kichen would look spectacular with the darker cabs and granite!

Here is a link that might be useful: CelticMoon's stained kitchen


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

I did! This is what we started with...
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After gel stain:

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very difficult to get good photos:
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We've made additional changes to our kitchen so I should get some newer photos. The gel stained cabs have held up extremely well. The process was pretty easy. Just cleaned well, lightly sanded and used general finishes java gel stain. Let me see if I can find a link to my 'directions'...


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Have you gel stained your oak cabinets - Yes

I pretty much followed celticmoon's steps... (THANK YOU celticmoon!! :)

My process:
Remove doors. Remove hardware. We did leave hinges on and taped them off. (DH was afraid he'd never get them back on and didn't want to mess with getting new -- I picked my battles and went with it! ;)

I lightly sanded mostly using sanding sponges which allowed me to get into the cut-outs better. My doors were VERY shiny so I sanded enough to get the shine off. Then tack clothed them, then mineral spirits.

I put on a thick layer of General Finishes Gel Stain - JAVA. This stuff is so awesome. Then I wiped off. I left it on pretty thick... too thick. If I was to do it over I would definitely wipe off more because it took a loooong time to dry. I was trying to skip steps but I think 2 or 3 thin coats would have been better. It was a rainy weekend, too, so drying was tough in the first place.

DH had rigged up a way for me to hang the doors by the hinges so I hung them to dry which enabled me to do fronts and backs. When they were finally dry I did a thin layer of General Finishes Gel Clear Coat. I spread it on until it all looked wet but wiped away any drips. Once dry I very lightly sanded, then tack clothed, then we put the doors back on. I did another clear coat with the doors up and left the doors open to dry.
I've done a few touch ups here and there with a stain and a clear coat.

I would highly recommend general finishes gel stain! I babied the cabs for a few days but my 3 and 5 year old kiddos have not and the color seems to be holding up perfectly.


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

oh - that looks great!


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

projects - if it wasn't for the general layout, I'd swear that wasn't the same kitchen. Gorgeous work!!


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

Still no progress. We wanted to hold off until we decided on the countertops. We began leaning toward Wilsonart HD laminate, but that has come up to around $2600 installed...a little expensive in my opinion.


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

Hi, this looks great! @ projectsneverend- what color are your original hinges? Mine are 20 yr old brass, but messing with hinges is a step I would gladly skip if I can get away with it. Any tips? Thanks! I plan on using Old Masters gel stain- probably a rich mahogany over my 80's oak cabinets.


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RE: Have you gel stained your oak cabinets?

I just wanted to add to this. I just found this thread as we were starting to stain our cabinets. We LOVE Old Masters wiping stain in Rich mahogany! It took a little trial and error to get the right application. What worked really well was to take a white soft bristle paint brush and just barely touch the tips to the stain, wipe that off on the can. I am telling you, you don't want hardly any stain at all on your brush. Then paint it on the cabinets. I went back and forth and up and down to make sure I filled in all the little places on the cabinets. When I was happy with it I went back over it with the brush in the direction of the grain, do not wipe off the stain. Let it dry overnight then repeat to get an even coat. I am amazed at how well this worked and how beautiful it is. I tried the gel stain and it was a mess for me. I couldn't get a consistent finish. With this you can work it until you are happy with it and it is so thin it drys really well. When we get some done I will post pics. The thing that makes me the happiest is that they look stained not painted. You can still see the wood grain but you can't really tell that it is oak at all. The heavy grain just fades into the background. Now I just have to figure out what to use for my clear coat.


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