Staining With No Stripping

5 Materials
3 Hours

I hate stripping. It is messy, time consuming and to be effective, it usually involves harsh chemical products.

If you also hate it, you will like this tutorial. I will show you how I re-stained the top of this buffet without stripping or sanding it down using gel stain.

This is how this buffet looked before. It was in pretty good shape, so I decided to re-stain the top without stripping or sanding it down.

I sanded the top lightly using fine sandpapers (220 then 320 grit), always going in the same direction of the grain.

Next I removed all the sawdust with water and vinegar and applied the gel stain using a foam brush.

Using a piece of t-shirt, I removed the excess of stain. Then I waited about two hours and applied a second coat of stain, then a third.

The next day, after the stain was dry, I sealed it with three coats of General Finishes Water-Based top coat, satin.

For a smooth finish, I sanded between coats of sealer using a 320 grit sandpaper.

The more coats of sealer, the better your piece is protected. For this piece, I applied three coats.

Here is how it looks now! Watch the video tutorial in which I show you how I did it, and also tell you about the five mistakes you should avoid when applying gel stain without stripping and sanding down your piece.

Let me know if you have any questions! If you want a more detailed tutorial, check out my blog post (link below) and my Facebook page.

Thanks for reading!

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Pat Rios
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 29 questions
  • Patrick Waters Patrick Waters on Dec 07, 2018

    What are the 5 mistakes of using gel stains?

  • Victoria Williams Victoria Williams on Dec 07, 2018

    It looks gorgeous. What is the blueish purple color you used on the front?

  • Sara Noonan Sara Noonan on Dec 08, 2018

    Any help on getting water stains out first or is that where the sanding comes from by removing them? Thanks!!


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2 of 80 comments
  • Lystra Salazar Lystra Salazar on Feb 09, 2019

    Wow that a amazing job that you did. Love the color.

  • Annette Smith Annette Smith on Feb 02, 2021

    Your project states to stain without stripping and sanding and yet the first sentence of the project states, I lightly sanded... then sanded between coats...