Life of Product
Water based products do not last forever, even when unopened. General Finishes products are best used within 1 year of the manufacture date listed on the bottom of the can. The life of the product may be extended with proper care and storage.
See our video: Tips on Storing Leftover Finishes
Water-based finishes crystalize and form a skin due to evaporation when the air-tight seal on a can is broken at first use. The following best practices will increase the life of your product:
Pry open sealed lids with a paint can opener by hooking under the lid's rolled edge. The use of a screwdriver can disfigure the rim and lid, impairing a complete seal.
Keep lid closed while working. Pour what you will use into a bowl, paper cup, or plate, and close can lid as you work.
Clean the chime of the can thoroughly with a paper towel before closing to create a complete seal. Paint in the chime can be minimized by using a pouring lid, such as Fitsall. Avoid wiping used brushes on the lid.
Pound the lid in place using a rubber mallet to avoid distorting the chime or lid. Dents in the lid from direct contact with a hammer can impair a complete seal. Alternatively, place a flat piece of wood over can lid and firmly pound shut.
Store in moderate temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50°F/10°C or above 100°F/26°C. Frozen and heat-damaged product cannot be revitalized. Temperature-controlled spaces, such as a basement, are ideal for storage. Do not store product in an attic, garage, in direct sunlight, or next to something warm like a water heater or furnace.
Store can upside down to create a liquid seal, minimize evaporation and reduce the chance of crystallization. Decant remaining product from the can before stirring.
Decant leftovers to a smaller container when the finish is almost used up. Alternative storage containers for water-based products are plastic FIFO bottles or glass bottles. Do not fill metal-lidded containers completely to prevent them from rusting.
The following water-based product mixtures can be stored:
Dye Stain Reducer + Dye Stain
Dye Stain Reducer + Water Based Wood Stain
The following product mixtures should NOT be stored:
Dye Stain + Water Based Wood Stain + Dye Stain Reducer
Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.
General Finishes products must be tested to your complete satisfaction before using. General Finishes will not be responsible for color satisfaction, misapplication, nor compatibility with other manufacturer's products. General Finishes will be responsible only for the cost of our products, and not for costs such as labor, damage or project replacement.
Contamination and Compatibility
Our finishes are engineered as a system and are compatible with each other. General Finishes cannot guarantee an ideal refinish when applying our products on top of or combined with another company's products or over surfaces that have been in contact with waxes, polishes or sprays containing contaminants such as silicone. Test for adherence and aesthetics before beginning.
FIRST AID: Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms occur due to the following. EYE CONTACT: Remove any contact lenses. Flush eyes with water for 20+ minutes while lifting upper and lower eyelids. SKIN CONTACT: Wash thoroughly after handling. INHALATION: Move to fresh air and loosen clothing. If not breathing, if breathing is irregular or if respiratory arrest occurs, provide artificial respiration or oxygen by trained personnel. INGESTION: Call physician immediately. Wash out mouth with water. Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
Prop 65 WARNING: No chemicals were found in this product which are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.
WARNING: Keep out of reach of children. Keep container tightly closed when not in use. Wash thoroughly after handling.
It is normal to see a bit of stain on the brush when applying the first coat of topcoat. Topcoats often pull a bit of color on the first pass, but good preparation will minimize this.
To prepare open grains woods such as raw Oak for a water-based stain, we recommend sanding with 180-grit followed by no more than 220-grit sandpaper.
300-grit or 400-grit sandpaper is too fine for preparing raw wood. Too fine of a grit changes the wood from a porous surface to one that is too smooth to absorb the stain, which causes the first top coat application to pull excessive color (it is like trying to apply stain to glass).
There is always a small amount of color pull when using water-based stains, but the smooth surface escalates this condition. This was evident in the areas that you used the brush to remove excess topcoat.
There are several reasons to choose Dye Stain. Here are a few.
Use dye stain when you have beautiful wood grain, pattern or burl and you want to show it off! GF Dye Stains are like ink and penetrate deep into the wood grain, revealing the figure of the wood with beautiful transparency.
They are a great way to layer and intensify color. We often use a yellow or amber dye stain under another type of darker stain, such as Yellow Dye Stain under Java Gel Stain. The combined colors create a lovely depth and glow.
Dye stains create a brilliantly colored project while maintaining the look of the wood. They come in a range of colors from traditional wood tones to brilliant primaries and can be applied to raw wood or combined with clear coats to make a toner.
Look at this piece that Jilian Moncada of ReFind Design by Coco Clare shared. When Jilian discovered this elegant burled wood under the old finish, she wrote and asked what to use - we recommended dye stain and just look at her result!
We do not recommend the use of a wood pre-conditioner with dye stains. It is a matter of personal preference, but conditioners diminish color saturation, defeating the purpose of dye stains.
GRAIN RAISE: Water-based dye stains pop the wood grain more than solvent-based versions, but like all water-based stain products, it will raise the grain of the wood a bit. You can reduce this effect by raising the grain before applying dye stain. First, dampen the sanded surface with a cloth moistened with distilled water (tap water can contain minerals that may affect the finish). Let the surface dry and then sand lightly with the grain using 220-grit sandpaper. Never over-sand before applying any stain, as you may seal the surface so much that stain will not be able to properly penetrate. Alternatively, grain raise can easily be knocked down when finish sanding the first layer of topcoat.
CAUTION: Test the color in a hidden area before you begin your project. Once you use a Dye Stain, that is the color you are going to get. Apply liberally and evenly with a foam applicator and wipe off any excess immediately. There won't be much to wipe away; it penetrates fast.
Yes, there are a couple of ways. Dye Stain Reducer is the clear base that we use when manufacturing General Finishes Dye Stains. The Reducer is made first, then the dye color is added.
It is easy to make your own custom color Dye Stain by adding in 10% increments of Dye Stain color to Reducer until you achieve the color you want. It is not possible to mix too much of our Dye Stain and Reducer together.
Additionally, General Finishes Water Based Wood Stains can be mixed into the Reducer, which will lighten the color and thin the viscosity so it will penetrate deeper into the wood.
You can also mix other manufacturers dyes such as TransTint dye concentrate, sold in many wood working stores.
We do NOT RECOMMEND using water to lighten dye stain. Reducer has ingredients to help keep color molecules dispersed evenly in the can.