A MUST Have Tip for Anyone Who Paints Furniture & Some Java Gel Stain!

I'm swallowing my pride here and letting you in on a very dirty little secret. Ok, it's not really THAT serious, but it's definitely an hot mess that I'm not proud of, especially being a painter. Hometalkers, meet my kitchen table...Yup, this sad surface is where we eat our meals. Between our little one practicing how to write her name on the table, some random oil stain that ate through the factory finish (and one of the littles so lovingly scraped off) and paint flecks from using the table as my work space, it was a hot dang mess! Add to that the horrifying state of the chairs (I'll save your eyes from having to see the before of those!) and all the junk that seemed to accumulate on the cushions despite cleaning them on a daily basis, I wanted to toss the set... seriously. I was just so disgusted.
Aside from the obvious issues though, the table was in otherwise excellent condition. I decided to put my frustration aside and refinish the thing. I started by giving it a good cleaning and sanding.
Because the table top had a veneer and far to many dents and dings to sand out, I opted to use General Finishes Java Gel Stain. It can be used as a traditional stain in the apply and wipe away fashion. In my case however, I wanted it to perform more like a paint. In doing so, I was able to achieve about 60% coverage on the first application and was still able to see honey color peeking through. If you've ever painted or glazed a large surface or in this case, used a gel stain, you know how important it is that your paint strokes be perfectly straight. I'm going to let you in on my secret on how to do that...Ready!?? Do you see it?? Do ya?? Do ya?
Yes y'all a piece of scrap wood the length of the surface your working on makes the BEST ever straight edge!
I use these new brushes (deets on my blog!) for almost everything now because they're honestly the bomb dot com! For this project I used the small brush and moved my scrap wood enough so that I was overlapping the previous application of gel stain by about 20%.
Look at those pretty, perfectly straight strokes! Who woulda thunk!?
I really wanted to darken up the color, so I applied a second coat of stain. Ahhhh, perfect!
Finally, she's all done and I'm in total love with the table now! Make sure to head on over to my blog to check out pics of the full table and details on the new top coat I tried out. I promise you, it looks really great! I also did some, ahem, touch ups to the factory finish on our chairs and also reupholstered them. You'll want to check those pics out too! Thanks so much for looking. If you have any questions, drop me a line. I'm always happy to help! xoxo
Simple Southern Charm
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • Paula Paula on Jul 19, 2018

    Where do buy the gel stain ?

  • Deanna Zucha Fuqua Deanna Zucha Fuqua on Mar 21, 2019

    do you wipe it back after you apply with the brush? Do you seal it? thank you!

Join the conversation
3 of 21 comments
  • Helen Helen on Nov 16, 2014
    Where can I find this product?
    • Simple Southern Charm Simple Southern Charm on Nov 17, 2014
      Miss @Helen you can look online at generalfinishes.com to find a retailer. I get mine from my local woodcraft, but I've seen it on amazon too.
  • MaryStLouis MaryStLouis on Feb 11, 2015
    I feel pretty dumb for not thinking about your straight edge tip. I will definitely use that when doing tables from now on. It's beautiful!