General Finishes Java Gel

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Review by NunyaBidniz posted 05-18-2015 01:19 PM 3814 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
General Finishes Java Gel No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I really liked how this stain applied. It is thick like pudding and doesn’t smell real bad either. Application is straight forward. You can use a rag, brush, or any other applicator. In my use I went with a stain pad (basically a foam sponge wrapped in terry cloth). I put on a really thick coat, let it sit for about 5 minutes and wiped the excess off. I let the first coat dry over night and applied a second coat. Since I was staining maple it took awhile for me to get the hang of applying the stain.

Over all, I really enjoyed working with this stain. Being a beginner woodworker I really liked how easy it was to use this stuff!

View NunyaBidniz's profile


129 posts in 3128 days

9 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6318 posts in 3823 days

#1 posted 05-18-2015 08:19 PM

Glad you had a good experience. I can’t say I have ever enjoyed applying gel stain, and General Finishes was no exception. I reserve it for small projects like picture frames, where it can be wiped off in time. It could work to disguise lighter, softer woods like poplar to look more like walnut.
I always found it would streak. The project had to be wiped over and over, being very careful with the amount of pressure you use with the applicator.
I prefer stains that wipe to a consistent color like Rodda, Varathane, or Cabot oil stails.
Sounds like you are happy with it, so no need to change.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3700 days

#2 posted 05-19-2015 01:16 AM

Your gel stain was MUCH more pleasant than mine! I had lots of streaking and if left a bit too long, it was really tough to wipe off.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 3102 days

#3 posted 05-19-2015 09:15 AM

Thanks for the review. I was thinking about getting some of this stuff just the other day.

From that picture it looks like the stain blotched. Did it blotch?

View NunyaBidniz's profile


129 posts in 3128 days

#4 posted 05-19-2015 02:19 PM

It did blotch on some parts of the cradle. And yes it did streak a bit and I left it on a bit too long on parts. My wife likes the “aged” look it has from the blotches so as long as she’s happy, I’m happy.

Not sure I will try to stain maple again anytime soon.

View woodenwarrior's profile


255 posts in 3204 days

#5 posted 05-20-2015 10:49 AM

For the most part, the only thing I use gel stain for is to act as a glaze that can be quickly wiped off and left in the deepest nooks and crannies to add shadow to some of the details. You picked a tough wood to stain with maple. Try a wash coat of de waxed shellac first next time. You may have better luck with the botching and streaking. Thanks for the review.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

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915 posts in 3102 days

#6 posted 05-20-2015 04:29 PM

I thought gel stains were supposed to be largely blotch free?

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4240 days

#7 posted 05-20-2015 05:16 PM

I learned early on to put it on and wipe it off. Leave it too long and you will have problems.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 5001 days

#8 posted 06-04-2015 03:21 AM

I have used the GF Java Gel stain on White oak picture frames with great success. It hasn’t failed me yet…...

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View RBWoodworker's profile


442 posts in 4361 days

#9 posted 06-07-2015 01:11 AM

I stain maple all the time with zero blotching.. it’s not hard.. and the stain I use is usually a dark espresso or dark walnut stain.. again, no blotching.. the trick is actually really easy. I use Charles Neil’s blotch control..
this is all maple..The countertop is a hand made, live edge maple slab that is two boards glued up.. no blotching whatsoever..

-- Randall Child

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