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Stain for table top
Sueli Almeida
Club Member
April 30, 2015 - 12:14 pm
Member Since: April 27, 2015
Forum Posts: 1
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I am refinishing a dinning table and unfortunately I don’t know enough about wood to tell you what kind it is. I have sanded it down, cleaned it and now it is ready to be stained. In reading the lesson you have on stain I want to say that I should use a gel stain but I have used it before and to this day the top is still a little sticky, what went wrong? What would you recommend?  I want to make sure I have a nice and smooth table top.  Thank you.

May 3, 2015 - 7:17 am
Member Since: January 18, 2013
Forum Posts: 49
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Hi Sueli 

Gel stain can be a great product for a DIY refinisher because of it’s versatility. For everything good about gel stains, there are a few drawbacks. 

Most gel stains remain on the surface—especially on hardwood—rather than penetrating the wood as dye stains do. Unless they are well protected with a durable topcoat, heavy-use areas such as tabletops are at risk of the color wearing through.

Topcoat options are limited with gels. Bartley, Wood-Kote and Olympic all recommend a gel varnish or liquid polyurethane. Gel stain must me topcoated.

Because gel varnish is actually gelled polyurethane, which is softer than its liquid counterparts, it is not a good
choice for tabletops. Care should be taken when topcoating oil-based gel stains with solvent-based lacquer.
These stains have a resin binder that, if left on too thick or still curing, may cause the lacquer to crinkle. For that reason alone, I personally limit my use with gels because I finish with lacquer, but if you are using a poly as your protective coating than gel is a great way to proceed.

I always recommend following the directions on the product label, as there are differences from one product to the next.

Good Luck !! 

Answers Post
Gary Stoppelmoor
May 19, 2015 - 7:57 am
Member Since: July 27, 2013
Forum Posts: 4
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In reading the lesson you have on stain I want to say that I should use a gel stain but I have used it before and to this day the top is still a little sticky, what went wrong?


It sounds to me like maybe you didn’t use the proper finish over the gel stain, or any protective finish at all?

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