Avoid (or fix) Blotchy Stain
More on gel stains
Unlike deep-penetrating liquid stains, gel stains hold their dye in suspension (right photo) so it can't oversaturate absorbent areas of the wood. Depending on the formula, however, some gel stains still produce high contrast between earlywood and latewood in pine (bottom photo).
Before applying gel stain, thoroughly mix any liquid at the top of the can back into the gel. Wipe on stain generously but evenly. Allow the stain to sit for the time recommended by the manufacturer -- usually about three minutes -- and then wipe off the surplus, working with the grain.
Don't expect gel stains to get you out of sanding end grain to a finer grit. A rough surface there still traps more stain pigment particles than on other surfaces.
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