Oak table blotchy with GF gel stain


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Hi everyone,

A newbie here. After watching online tutorials I decided to use GF gel stain to refinish our orangey oak dresser top. I found a perfect solid oak table on the side of the road for practicing. I sanded the finish on the tabletop with 220 orbital sander, not completely to raw wood, just to smooth it out. Then I wiped the dust off and wiped again with mineral spirits. I applied 3-4 coats of GF gel stain in Antique walnut using wipe-on - wipe off method, in sections, waiting about 1 minute before wiping off. The painting conditions were perfect, temperature and humidity-wise and it dried quickly. The top looks awfully blotchy. I tried using mineral spirits to even dark areas out, did not help. What went wrong and how do I fix it (easy way preferably)? I already learned that the dresser better be left alone!

Thanks,

ZoeyG

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On oak I'd always apply strait to bare wood with nothing applied before. I agree with the above that your sanding left finish on portions and caused blotching. The only other possible issue is if it's a veneered plywood and you sanded through some of the veneer. That will also close blotching. Oak is a great wood for dye/stain as it absorbs evenly without blotching.

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Eliminate pre-stain or pre-conditioner from your finishing technique. These form a film that will stop the wood from absorbing the stain. What happens is you are esentially smearing a thin paint like substance around on top of plastic. This technique is extremely difficult to get even coverage, which is made worse by attempting multiple coats. This is for professionals with spray equipment.

Sand back to bare wood making sure that all old finish is removed. If you would like a darker stain stop sanding at a lower grit, eg 100. With oak sanding over 220 grit is going to cause the stain to be very light, with the pores, the wood grain portion, looking very dark giving a very contrasted appearance.

I personally never have luck getting darker stains with multiple coats and typically apply with a single coat. I use the wipe on heavy, wait 5 min, wipe off method. The wood can only absorb so much stain/dye and applying any more will not encourage the wood to absorb more.

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Just what @Chestnutsaid. I've never had anything but bad results trying to apply multiple coats of stain, especially gel stain. Dye is much easier to regulate than stain is and it doesn't mask the grain like stain can. Multiple coats of stain can cause finish adherence problems as well.

Oak takes stain better than just about any other wood, so a pre-stain conditioner is not needed

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