Originally Posted by kitchener
Thanks Craig, and thanks for turning me on to that great thread. You are a very patient guy -- you must be able to taste that HT at this point!
thanks! yes, there is dim light at the end of the tunnel
I take it despite your early, positive results with Gel Stain you abandoned that (or is that the red mahogany stain you used)?
I did abandon it, but not because I didn't like the results - more because I couldn't get the right color. Everything was either too red or too brown and I didn't want to get into custom mixing stains in case I did more woodwork later and needed to grab more stain
You mentioned during the staining process, you didn't let it sit for very long before wiping it off. How long would you say?
5 mins max. I didn't really time it, but I did my soffits in sections. So I would put the stain on a section then right away go back to the start and wipe it off. I figure that was about 5 mins.
I count 4 coats of the Poly. Did you let the remaining three dry overnight, like the first coat?
Definitely let it dry overnight. When I first started I tried to hurry it a bit (by following the directions on the can) and it was a bit "gummy" when I sanded it. Sanding is much easier and the the Wipe-on Poly goes on much nicer if you let it sit overnight and dry completely (I have to re-do one section of my soffit because of this).
BTW, (again, I know nothing) does your Flexner book describe maple as having similar characteristics to your cherry (you mentioned tight-grained, and easily blotched)?
No, Maple is a wood that, like Oak, should not need any special prep (e.g., wood conditioner) prior to staining. You should be good with regular Minwax stain.
I'm with GreySkies on preference for oil-based stain. I wouldn't use anything else.
One other tip if you're working above your head - go to HD and get the stain applicator pads. They hold the stain well and don't drip nearly as much as a rag. They also work very well for the wipe-on poly.