George; I could be,totaly wrong, but the only time I've used gel stain they appeared to be a surface coating and not a true stain. A few years ago I used some on trim and it to several coats to get complete coverage, much like a paint. When I had to remove some later and then reapply it, the removal was done with a scrapper only because there was no penetration of the stain. It was all surface coating.
So what happens if you apply it like paint?
I've never used the stuff myself as I prefer the old oil stains the best but the numerous articles I've read on the topic many of them reccomend using a different method such as an old rubber window squegee tool. Or plastic scrapers to press it into the pores. Supposedly you get less streaking this way.
But if you want to go back to traditional methods here is how I have always done it. Dilute, dilute, dilute. I always dilute oil stain with a suitable oil solvent. From quickest to slowest there is naptha, mineral spirits, and paint thinner. The last usually being both the cheapest and easiest to work with. I dilute the stain with a solvent and then there is almost no real skill needed just brush it on liberally. Mind you I am big on thorough sanding and it never hurts to seal just the endgrain to get a more even color.
I think if people learned this method the woodworking industry would never even have bothered to try to sell gel stain to the general public. As far as I am aware I do not believe any of the pros use it. Really it is contrary to what you want a stain to do...sink in. And gel just sits on top.