How To Apply Gel Stain to a Large Raw Wood Surface

From GF University, How to stain a wood table top using General Finishes Gel Stain for a smooth, even finish.



  1. Work fast.
  2. Use mineral spirits to make the surface slippery so the stain applies easier; however, it is not a wood conditioner.
  3. Use a good-quality paint pad applicator that does not lose bristles to spread the stain on large surfaces. We used a Shur-Line pad applicator.
  4. Keep the leading edge of your finish wet as you work across the surface.
  5. Use a cotton terry towel to wipe away excess stain.

The key to preventing lap marks when working with Gel Stain is to apply the stain liberally and always keep a wet edge, as shown at 00:40 of this video. When working on a large surface, it is important to use an absorbent cotton terry towel or rag to wipe away excess gel stain. On small projects, shop towels work fine for wiping, but they aren't absorbent enough for big surfaces, like a table top. Choosing the right tool for the job makes a big difference. Finally, always work quickly when using a stain with high concentrations of colorant, like our Gel Stain.

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