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    I built a bar in my basement and will probably redo various trim in the house at some point.
  1. Yes, I wiped it dry after letting it sit for 15+ minutes each time. The biggest problem I'm seeing is that after the first application, the light section really hasn't been taking any additional color/darkness with additional applications, but the areas that have more grain in them continue to get darker. I'm thinking that after three applications that have had no effect that it would help anything to add more of the same. It's a problem I really didn't consider when I did my test pieces and was happy with the way the color turned out. Hence my thought of gel stain. If I can't penetrate the wood and actually stain it more than I have, the next step is to put something on the surface to get it darker, right? So I read up about gel stains and found that they are popular because they result in a more consistent color because they don't really stain anything as much as they just paint the surface to look like stain. Sure it will obscure the grain a bit, but the grain is already really prominant in my piece thanks I think to the four applications of penetrating stain. I figured I could apply a gel stain to the entire top, and if the end result doesn't match the sides perfectly I'm not too worried about it because it could be considered a stylistic choice. I got some Minwax gel stain and it isn't dark enough, but maybe the next step is to order some General Finishes Java gel stain and give that a shot. The question that I can't shake though, is if it's not okay to leave penetrating oil stain on the surface of the wood before applying poly, why is it perfectly acceptable to apply poly directly over a film of oil-based gel stain? What's the difference between the two products in that regard?
  2. All surfaces were sanded to 220,although I did spend more time sanding the top to get rid of scratches. All surfaces got three applications of 1/2 red mahogany 1/2 jacobean and a 4th application of 1/2 red mahogany 1/2 ebony. I let each application sit for 15 minutes or longer. I'm looking into gel stain because I understand that you get dark her because it stays on the surface rather than actually staining into the wood.
  3. Thanks guys, here are some pictures, keep in mind that with the flash on the camera these aren't exactly what it looks like in real life, but it's good for comparison. Here's a good shot of the side, I really like how dark it is. The camera flash makes the red in the stain really stand out, but in person it's almost black. This is the top of the bar with the stain still on it. I let it dry for about 18 hours and it was still tacky. I really liked the way it looked, what I really wanted to do is just let it dry all the way and poly over it, but that didn't sound like a great idea so I did some reasearch and determined that there would be problems with that. THen I applied more stain, waited for it to soften everything up, and wiped everything off so there was just bare wood: Talking about "loose grain" you can kind of see in the last image that the far side of the bar top is darker even than the near side, even within the same piece of plywood, because there is lots of swirly grain in the far section, and all the grain lines are pretty much black. THe wood is all red oak.
  4. Hi Everybody, I stained my bar with a mix of Minwax Red Mahogany, Jacobean and Ebony penetrating oil stains to get a deep dark reddish brown color. It worked pretty well except for a pretty large section of the bar top, which apparently has a much looser grain and didn't get half as dark as I am hoping for. Now I'm looking at gel stains to get it darker, but the darkest gel stain I can find from Minwax is Walnut, which still isn't quite dark enough to match the rest of the bar. What happens if I mix some regular ebony stain with the gel stain, will that work? Or should I start looking at other brands for a darker gel stain?