Stain Matching - I'm stumped; please help


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Old 08-16-06, 12:52 PM
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Question Stain Matching - I'm stumped; please help

Here's my problem: I purchased new oak cabinets in a beautiful auburn stain and want to stain to match my door and window trim and molding. I acquired the same stain from the cabinet manufacturer, but when tested the stain on the back of a sample wood from the manufacturer, the stain was a darker brown than the cabinets which showed an orange hue. Through a lot of trial and error and talking to the manufacturer I discovered that the reason the cabinets look orangish is because the varnish they use is tinted. They will not send me the varnish because it cannot be sent through the mail. I next tried to get their stain matched at a local paint store here and they were able to match the part of the non-grain portion, but could not get the darker grain of the manufacturer's stain. I'm stumped as to what to do...is it possible to get a tinted varnish/poly anywhere? My local Sherwin Williams store said that tinting poly has problems associated with it...streaking I think.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 01:10 PM
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Minwax polyshades is a tinted poly. They can be troublesome to apply because uneven application will result in uneven color. Twice as much tinted poly [like in lap marks] means twice as much color [darker] also any drips or runs willl show darker.

I'm suprised that SWP couldn't match the stain. Did you bring them a piece of the cabinet [door or drawer,etc] and a piece of the woodwork you want matched? Different woods will not stain exactly the same but you should be able to get the coloring close.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 04:26 PM
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If it's a darker grain color you are wanting, all they need to do is dump some more gilsonite in the stain. This is a very common dark stain pigment. It's also called "roofing tar" by folks that use it as roofing tar. Odd that it's got such a variety of uses.

Anyhow, yes, the orange can be duplicated with something like Polyshades, but you'll need to expect some variation.

I'm a cabinet maker and I see customers all the time sweat and squirm over their kitchen cabinets matching ****identically*** the stain they have on their something-or-other that has to look the same. Just remember wood is wood and is an organic product. Some variation is normal, and IMO makes it look good.

A totally homogeneous look is rather steril and non-natural (in fact I rarely stain anything I make for my house, I just use the proper wood-- red oak looks lovely all by it's lonesome with lacquer on it).
 
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Old 08-16-06, 07:22 PM
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More info and thanks for the helpful replies

Just to give you some more info on my stain-match problem...yes, I did bring a cabinet door to Sherwin Williams and I also gave them a wood piece that I was using for my trim so that they could test stain on the actual wood that I would be using. My wood was red oak, the same as the cabinets. Sherwin Williams was able to match the stain to the non-grain portion of my cabinet stain, but not to the grain portion. This seemed odd to me at first, but then I could see that the Sherwin Williams grain was just a darker version of the non-grain part. It was my cabinet stain that began to not make sense to me as the non-grain portion has this organge hue to it, but the grain was very dark in places, almost black in appearance. If you zoom in on the cabinets in the kitchen of this website, especially the crown molding, you can see how dark the grain part is http://www.thomasvillecabinetry.com/Item362/Langston-Oak-Auburn.aspx#.

The problem with adding a darker pigment, like gilsonite, is that then I lose the orange hue in the non-grain portion of the wood, although I would gain the darker grain. That's my problem. However, thanks for the advice that a totally homongenous wood interior might be kind of sterile. That gives me some comfort. Would you think that a lighter color of stain for my door and window trim in the kitchen, but with darker cabinets be OK? Thanks for all you helpful advice!
 
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Old 08-17-06, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by klt
Would you think that a lighter color of stain for my door and window trim in the kitchen, but with darker cabinets be OK?


It all depends on your tastes but IMO that would be fine. My kitchen has pine cabinets [built myself], oak floor, oak hutch and an island [purchased @ unfinished furniture store, wood spicies not known] All the stains are similiar but not exact and it all looks good imo.

I couldn't tell for sure but it looks to me that the darker crown was just a matter of different pieces of wood staining different. Example - not all red oak looks the same, how it grew [soil type, climate conditions] affects what it will look like. Also how the stain/finish was applied will affect how the wood appears. The manufacture probably had different crews and possibly different methods of application to finish the various pieces that make up a cabinet.
 
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Old 08-17-06, 09:07 AM
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what about painting all the other trimwork? is that out of the question? i like for woodwork to be painted (white or cream), then furniture, cabinets & wood floors stand out better, and you don't end up with TOO much wood. plus the paint grade trimwork is a lot cheaper!

however, if you're set on stained trim, it can be lighter or darker than the cabinets, but try to stay in the same color family, which in your case is sort of orangey, right?
 
 

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