It used to be when looking for a stain, you just went to the hardware store, and grabbed the color that was the closest to what you are looking for and just accept it, it is what it is. Today though, the choices are many, so you can pretty much get exactly what you are looking for.
But with all of the choices, it can actually have an opposite effect. You may have no idea what to use. For example, when it comes to stains, there are gel stains and liquid stains. So how do you know when to use gel or the liquid? What is the difference between the two?
First, just as the name sounds, the gel stain is a considerable amount thicker than the liquid. So it isn’t near as messy, it won’t run all over the work piece or even drip to the floor. Certain gel stains are thicker than others, depending on the brand. Some may be thick as a malt, and others only as thick as a milkshake.
You don’t have to continuously stir the gel stains like you would with liquid stains. This means that your color will be more consistent throughout because they will be thicker and so the color pigment will stay suspended, not settling to the bottom.
Sometimes when using the liquid stains, there are light and dark blotches of it on the wood. Gel stains end up producing a color that is more uniform. Because of there being less solvent in a gel stain, it won’t penetrate into the wood as deeply, making it less splotchy.
Applying a gel stain isn’t complicated. Some like to use a foam brush. Others a rag. Some will just squeeze it out onto the wood. Whatever applicator used, the gel will end up flowing across the wood.
Even though the stain doesn’t penetrate as deep into the wood, don’t let it fool you. You aren’t going to have a ton of time to work the stain in. You will end up with lap marks if you wait too long on one place, just like with liquid stain.
Once you cover the surface, a clean rag can be used to wipe away the excess stain. If you wipe in the same direction the grain is going until the wood is almost dry, this will prevent streaking. If you want to make sure there aren’t any lap marks when you have a large area to cover, you can divide it into sections that are small, keeping an edge that is wet between every section.
This doesn’t always work, and if it doesn’t you can get a damp rag dipped in mineral spirits, and apply more stain working the sections together. If the stain is water based, then you don’t have to use mineral spirits, just water.
DO YOU HAVE a woodworking project or tip that you would like to submit to WooDesigner and get it added to our site? Then go to the contact tab below OR at the top of this page and let me know. Just make sure you are able to give us step by step instructions on it, as well as images as you see here, and we will put it on this site just like you have read on this page! As long as it is clear and concise like you just saw, it will go up. Your name will be credited to the project, as where you live. (Please include that.) Also include the type of lumber you use for the design. We look forward to hearing from you! (Take note that the tip and images and instructions have to become ours. I do hate that so much but in today’s society so many will sue, and yes, you can sue for a lot of money over images.) The tips will need to include YOUR IMAGES that you take. They can’t be images from somewhere online. Remember, we have to go through these images and if they aren’t your own, we will not be able to use them. This is illegal and it won’t be tolerated and you will be banned from this community by being blocked. We can get sued for this, and just one bad apple can ruin our community.
Ted Leger –
Comments or questions are welcome.