Prepare the Project
After you build your project, you will need to prepare it
for a finish. Fill any screw holes or
pocket holes with stainable wood filler and let dry completely. You may need to fill a second time as wood
filler tends to shrink as it dries.
Then sand your project with coarse sandpaper, followed by
medium, and then fine.
And then give your project a quick buffing with a super fine
Next, you must remove any sanding residue. Use a brush to remove sanding residue, and
then wipe clean with a slightly damp rag.
Apply First Coat
For the espresso stain, use Minwax Gel Stain in Red
Elm. When you open the can, the stain
will look like jello.
Mix the stain until it looks like melted chocolate.
I find working with a slightly damp surface helps the stain
soak in faster and more evenly. Gently
wipe the project with a damp rag or sponge.
For this project, you will want to use a stain brush.
Start at the inside, underside of your project – in the
hardest to reach place – and work your way outward. Trust me on this one – if the underside is
hard to reach, it will be even harder to reach when the rest of the project is
covered in wet stain!
Apply the gel stain liberally, working in sections. You will want to wipe off excess gel stain
after approximately 3 minutes.
So work fast, again over applying the stain
And flip the project over and apply stain to top sides.
Approximately 3 minutes after applying gel stain – more or
less depending on humidity, temperature and wind – begin wiping off excess gel
stain. If you have a larger project, it
is a good idea to have a second person wipe off excess gel stain while you are
still applying it.
Here’s the hard part.
Wait a full 8 hours – or more depending on weather – for the stain to be
May I suggest sandwich bags and hair ties for keeping the brushes from drying out between coats?
Apply Second Coat
After the first coat of gel stain is completely dry, and
there are no tacky spots, we can add a second coat.
First mix your gel stain up again.
And then apply a second liberal coat over the first. After a few minutes wipe off excess and allow
the project to dry. For even deeper
color, you can add additional coats.
Let your project dry again. Gel stain is different than regular stain - if little saw dust particles or dirt blows on the finish, it's sticking. So make sure you protect your project until it dries to touch from dirt or debris - or bugs.