Let me start by saying I have never done a mission finish and I am attempting it on a QS white oak mantel. I have been trying Jeff Jewitt’s mission receipes on scrap using reddish brown Transtint, followed by one coat Waterlox original then Bartleys walnut gel stain. I seem to have a problem with the gel stain. If I let it set up for 5 min it seems to darken everything. If I let it set up 2-3 min it looks better but has small areas that don’t take up the gel in the pores on some scraps and does fine on others. I am wiping it on across the grain and wiping it off with the grain. The Bartleys gel stain seems to set up very quickly. Any thought on how long to leave it on before wiping it off or am I doing something wrong? Also, I plan to finish with several coats of 1 part Waterlox satin mixed with 2 parts Waterlox original. Before the final coat should I sand it? If so what grit/technique? With all the time/expense in this mantel, if I mess the finish up I am going to jump off the mantel head first. Thanks for your help.
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