reproducing a thin translucent coat (?) on maple


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Old 08-10-06, 08:20 PM
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reproducing a thin translucent coat (?) on maple

We got a burn mark on a kitchen cabinet and I had to sand it down to the wood. Now I am having a difficult time finishing the sanded area to match the surrounding area.

The cabinets are maple with what the manufacturer calls "amber" finish. It is sort of like a very thin coat of paint (I am not saying it is paint) that partly hides the wood; you can still see the grain but faintly. The sanded area has much clearer grain. The natural color is actually pretty close to the finished color, but if I put clear poly directly over bare wood, it darkens.

Ou local paint shop sold me some "wiping stain", but while the color matches, the spot looks completely different; the grain remains clearly visible. If I let the stain sit for an hour or more before wiping it, some of it dries to where it looks about right in patches, but it doesn't stick evenly so this doesn't help.

What is this finish, and how do I reproduce it? Is it reasonable to get an oil-based paint in this color, thin it with a lot of mineral spirits, and lay on coat after coat until it looks right? Of course, if this finish isn't paint but something else, paint will never look right, so I'd appreciate any advice on what this finish is.

Many thanks,
 
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Old 08-10-06, 08:33 PM
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The last cabinet job I did with maple cabinets was a few months ago. They were finished very dark, almost like cherry, but you could not really see the grain, as you suggest.

I ordered stain directly from the kitchen cabinet company so that it was the exact same stain as what was on the cabinets. (I had to stain up some maple for window & door trim, plus some other miscellaneous trim to match the cabinets).

The stain they sent was actually a 2 step process. The first step was a stain/dye which gave the wood the correct tint, while the second step was a lacquer-based spray-only tinted finish, which almost completely hid the grain of the wood. After both coats, the wood would arrive at the correct color/consistancy.

I'm not saying your cabinets have used the exact same process, but your best bet might be to contact the cabinet company (if known) and go that route. Be warned that the stain cost a small fortune.

As an alternative idea, you could take a cabinet door off (as a sample), take it into a Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Diamond Vogel, etc. store and see if they can help you with a coating.
 
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Old 08-10-06, 09:52 PM
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I did take a door off and take it in, which is how I got the wiping stain, but it isn't exactly right.

The colored-varnish idea is reasonable. But I do have a touch-up kit left by the former owners, who had the cabinets put in ~15 years ago. The paint/stain/whatever is too congealed to be useful, but the varnish is definitely clear.

The suggestion to go to the manufacturer is also reasonable. Their local dealer warned me, as you did, that it is expensive, which is why I haven't done it.

Would the thinned-oil-paint idea work? I can get a paint shop to match color in an oil paint, but not in a varnish I think. What if I mixed poly varnish with the oil 'wiping stain' I have?
 
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Old 08-11-06, 05:17 AM
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Tinting poly will probably work, I don't know if you can make it blend without spraying it on.
 
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Old 08-11-06, 07:15 PM
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I went and got some gel stain today. It was hard to find a gel stain tint base: the paint stores didn't have it, Home Depot didn't have it, but Lowes did. Then the Lowes guy said he didn't know how to tint a gel stain. I persuaded him to add the same tint his computer told him to add to a regular liquid stain.

Works like a charm. Somehow the wiping stain won't stick to the maple surface and dry evenly, but gel stain does.
 
 

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