How to Gel Stain Kitchen Cabinets Using Dry Brush Technique

How to Gel Stain Kitchen Cabinets Using Dry Brush Technique


Today were going to discuss refinishing existing oak cabinets with General Finishes Gel Stain,
dubbed the One-Coat Wonder by Amy from High Style Restyle in Dallas because of its exceptional
coverage. Gel stains provide great coverage over existing finishes because they are full-bodied
and pigment-rich. A word of warning before we begin. If spray polishes or oil soaps or wax have been used
on your project, the finish may not adhere well – requiring stripping and sanding to
remove the existing finish. If you arent sure, follow the best practices by prepping and
testing before proceeding. Before getting started, have the following supplies ready: To clean the surface you will
either need furniture cleaner, mineral spirits or a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water.
It is OK to use solvent-based cleaners with oil finishes, but never use them with water
based finishes. Use the denatured alcohol and water mix instead. You will also need a scotch brite pad, sanding
pad, gloves, poly-foam brushes, bristle brushes, pad applicator, roller, blue shop towels,
dust cloth and painters tape. Start by covering any glass with painter’s
tape and remove all hardware, otherwise the stain will adhere to these surfaces. Always prep an existing finish regardless
of what the manufacturer says. Scrub the wood surface with a scotch brite pad and your choice
of cleaner. Really work the heavily used areas around handles and knobs. This is where most
grime and oil from hands accumulate. Once dry, lightly buff the surface with a
220 sanding pad. This is not a heavy-duty sanding, just a light buffing. Wipe off the
dust with a tack cloth or a water-dampened rag, and then let it dry again. See our video
at the end of this segment for more information on preparing an existing finish. Ok Tom, Lets get our work space ready. Now were going to show our favorite method of applying Gel Stain over existing finishes:
painted on and dry-brushed out. In this demo I’m going to be using Brown Mahogany
Gel Stain. It is slightly redder and lighter than the Java Gel. Even though Gel Stain is thick, you can see
it on the stick there, be sure to stir it well to reincorporate the pigments. You dont
have to re-stir it while you’re working on your project. Always test your finish schedule on the back of a door before starting – this makes a great
practice session and gives you a chance to check the color of the stain. We dont recommend applying gel stain with rags because they create an uneven finish.
Stick to any type of brush. Once we got our door here we can actually show you the demo. I’m gonna take the gel
stain on my foam brush. I am going to start in the center sections and work my way around
the rest of the door, the styles and the frame. So I can just get my stain applied. I am going
to come back and re-apply the gel, enough to keep it wet so I can work with it. Get
it into those corners. Go with the grain. Making sure everything is covered. Use plenty
of stain, we’ll make more. Instead of a cloth to wipe it off, I am going to take a bristle
brush and dry-brush this off. I have my cloth here with a little bit of mineral spirits
on it. I like to dab my brush right into the mineral spirits to pre-dampen and this becomes
my rag. This is how I remove the excess stain. Going with the grain. You can see that I am
discharging the excess stain onto the cloth. When you are happy with the color allow it
to dry for 24-48 hours before you go to your next step. I can take a second brush and feather
it out. That will take off the excess stain and any smudges. You can see how quickly that
covers that golden oak color to a nice brown mahogany. Additional coats of stain will darken the color. Here is a door finished with 1 coat of Brown
Mahogany painted on using our dry-brush technique and sealed with 3 coats of High Performance
Flat. This is the same door but with two coats on,
you can see it gets a little bit darker. You can even enhance it more by using our
Pitch Black Glaze Effects. Sanding between coats of stain is not required. Allow each coat to dry 24 to 48 hours, depending
on temperature and humidity. Ideal conditions are 70 degrees with 70% humidity. The heavier
the application, the longer it takes to dry. You can tell if an oil finish is dry if its
no longer tacky and you cant smell it. Sheryl, lets clean up a bit and show some
finished samples. We are back with some examples of refreshed cabinet doors to show you. For a color comparison, here are doors toned
with Nutmeg Gel. The first is an existing builder-grade finish.
The second has ONE coat of Nutmeg applied with our dry-brush technique.
The third has TWO coats. Both have 3 coats of High Performance Flat topcoat.
Remember, when using waterbased topcoats over oil based stains, let the stain dry at least
72 hours. All of these doors were completed using 2 coats of stain using our dry brush technique.
This one is Antique Walnut topped with High Performance Flat. And here is our triple crown winner, Java
Gel, finished with High Performance Satin. This one here is actually our Dark Chocolate
Milk Paint which matches the Java Gel when painted on. Finally, our last door is Black Gel Stain
with High Performance Flat topcoat. Gel stains have an extremely high solids content.
Because of this, they look and feel like they dont need a topcoat when dry, but they do.
This stain is loaded with pigment, so be sure to lock in and protect the color with any
of the following topcoats: Oil based Gel Satin or Arm-R-Seal, water based High Performance
or Flat Out Flat. To improve the shelf life of leftover Gel Stain, try adding Bloxygen Finish Preserver
to the can. Bloxygen works by purging the oxygen and replacing
it with an inert gas, which delays the curing and thickening of leftover product. Just spray,
seal and store. Storing the partially used can upside down
also extends shelf life. So you have a couple of options if you want
to update your cabinets with a darker finish. TARAS TIPS :
When applying gel stain over an existing finish and not raw wood, always seal in gel stain
color with topcoat. Dry-time to touch: 4-6 hours.
Dry-time to re-coat with stain: 24-48 hours. Dry-time to apply oil based topcoat: 24-48
hours. Dry-time to apply water based topcoat: 72
hours. Dry-time for light use: 7-10 days.
Cure time: 21-30 days. Our finishes are engineered to be compatible
with each other. Test to your satisfaction when using with other brands.

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