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Gel Stains

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#1 MJC4


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 03:06 PM

Good morning stick makers. I am working on a maple staff for my American Robin and am looking to tint/stain it. In the past I have had problems with maple and oil based stains. The maple gets overly blotchy with a straight oil stain. I have used acrylic antiquing medium with good success on pine which has similar characteristics accepting oil stains. Looking to try a different approach with this maple staff.

Yesterday I picked up a bottle of DecoArt Americana gel stain at the hobby store. Was wondering if any of you stick makers out there have used this stuff or something similar. It appears to be a water born acrylic product.



#2 LilysDad


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Posted 03 April 2016 - 07:30 PM

Wood such as maple, pine, and birch have a problem with uneven absorption of stain. You will need to use a sanding sealer before staining. There are any number of brands of the stuff. Minwax has some that is compatable with their stain.

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#3 Gloops


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Posted 04 April 2016 - 08:22 AM

Never used gels but as lily'sDad says I have used sanding sealer or gesso under acrylic paint with success.

#4 CV3


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Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:04 PM

Sanding or a prestain sealer will help. I have never had much luck staining Maple. 

#5 JJireh


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Posted 04 April 2016 - 03:49 PM

What they said :)

#6 Rodnogdog


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Posted 04 April 2016 - 10:56 PM

I have used leather dyes with good success on woods that don't absorb well. You have to put poly or like finish over it though. The brand I use is Fiebings.

Edited by Rodnogdog, 04 April 2016 - 10:58 PM.

#7 Rodney


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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:25 PM

I use dye stains these days.  Much more even and predictable than pigment based stains.  I've even used RIT fabric dye with success on wood.


#8 gdenby


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Posted 05 April 2016 - 02:36 PM

I've been messing w. sanding sealer, specifically de-waxed shellac. The brand I'm using, Zinsser's is too thick straight out of the can. Stain just sits on top. I found a tutorial on youtube where the fellow said that the brand needed to be cut w. 50 - 75% denatured alcohol. I tried adding some dye stains to the dilute shellac, and had better results, tho' the results were rather pale.  The online presenter recommended gel stains over regular oil stains for an even coat, saying that they were much more like paint.


Currently I'm messing w. a variant of traditional violin finishing. I'm putting a coating down of technical gelatin, and rubbing that w. diatomaceous earth. So far, the surface luster is nice, and I'll try a bit of stain today. Will wait to finish w. Tung till the weather warms up and I can dry the oil in sunlight.

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