I just finished my first project (Tryde side table) and am moving on to the finishing stage. I have a pint of the Minwax prestain because I did use pine. However, I may be leaning towards using General Finishes Gel because it's water based and I'll probably have to work in my laundry room to complete the project anytime before spring is here. So here are my questions:
1. Do I still use the pre-stain if I'm not using an oil based stain like Minwax? I don't think I can as the prestain says it's for oil based stain.
2. What type (if any) prestain would I need with General?
3. Can I apply a glaze coat over stain?
I'd like to end up with a finished product similar in appearance to the model Hyde side table from PB but perhaps just a bit darker. I'd also like the knicks and knots in the wood to be even darker to give a 'rougher' sort of look as opposed to a neat and clean look. Any suggestions?
I thought that the gel stain was actually still oil based, but I could be wrong. I know General Finishes does have water based stain. As a "conditioner" I always use a wash coat of non wax shellac and denatured alcohol. To get an aged finish, I usually torch the wood first to bring out the wood grain. Then, I apply the wash coat. Next, apply 1-2 coats of Minwax Early American. (You may be able to use a water based stain for this part as the oil based is quite smelly). Then, apply a coat of sanding sealer (the no wax shellac). After that is dry to the touch, I apply the Minwax gel stain in dark walnut (this is oil based, but not as smelly at the regular stain). You have just a little bit of time to sort of play with the gel stain like glaze. I rub it in the divets and scratches really well and wipe off some excess. Then, apply another coat of sanding sealer if using a water based topcoat such as polycrylic. The non was shellac acts as a bonding coat between oil based and water based finishes. Lastly, 5-7 coats of Polycrylic or Varthane no odor water based Poly. The best thing to do is play around with some sample boards.
Example… (Not sure if I'm posting these pictures properly, sorry!)