A place for six to eat...

My clients, Kelly and Rainer, wanted their old dining room table and chairs to be refurbished with a modern look which included refurbishing everything from the seat cushions to the various water stains and chipped pieces of wood. The whole ensemble was in desperate need of a "Refurbished with Love" facelift!

It turns out their dining set had a matching china cabinet in decent condition which I used as a guide to match the new stain for the set. Since the table top had a layer of wood veneer, I chose to use new a product to refurbish it, a gel stain by Minwax.



I haven't had any experience with gel stains before, but supposedly they are an alternative for 'faux' wood surfaces. In the end, I developed a big love/ hate relationship with this gel and there are more reasons why I don't like it.  First off, I should warn you, the gel has the consistency of pudding and is better applied with a sponge brush as opposed to a bristled one. Secondly, it dries ten times faster than your typical oil based stains. Therefore, if you are working on a large area, I suggest staining it in sections. This will help tremendously considering if it dries on you, it will be tough to get out. However, should you run into this problem, I suggest applying additional stain over the dried section and buffing the heck out of it! Lastly, the gel seemed to leave a residue on the wood and was rough to the touch. This was obviously frustrating since you need your surface to be smooth as silk before applying the polyurethane at the end. Lastly, fom a price conscious perspective, the gel stain only comes in quart size amounts at a whopping $16, which can add up quick when trying to pick the right color for your piece.


table and chairs after

Half of the table had water damage and uneven color in many areas. 

table top before

table top before

table top after


chair after

chair after


close up on stud detailing


Overall, the dining set came out beautiful and the stain was spot on for matching the cabinet! I also upholstered the dining chairs in a neutral fabric picked by the client and added a stud detail which gave the chairs the modern appeal they were looking for.


Overall I do not think I would use a gel stain again, however I was very please with the final outcome.  This was a big project for my small work space, but definitely a fun one to transform.

I am now pleased to say, seating for six is now available at the Hoboken brownstone of Kelly and Rainer. 

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