Stain/wood uneven color

Old 08-05-08, 11:08 AM
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Question Stain/wood uneven color

I purchased stock kitchen cabinets from Lowe’s. I stained the doors, frame and drawers with Minwax Natural 209.(I wanted a light stain to the cabinets) After staining, I realized the cabinets were made with different types of oak. Some pieces were redder than others which now lead to parts of the cabinets having a cherry color and other parts with a “natural” light brown stain. Some parts even look a little yellow. The cabinets really resemble a patch quilt.

Will staining again with a darker stain even out the color? Or do I have to consider painting the cabinets?
Old 08-05-08, 11:49 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Most woods will have variance in color, usually highlighted with certain stains. Depending on how it grew, red oak can be red or even as light as white oak.

The first coat of stain pretty much seals the wood making it difficult for the wood to obsorb more stain. I'd apply the first coat of poly and see how it looks. If needed you can apply tinted poly to the lighter pieces.
Old 08-09-08, 11:21 AM
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I had prefinished red oak cabinets in my last house & they did have strong variation in the way they took stain. The manufacturer warned about the strong pattern, so I thought I was ready for it. They did come & replace 2 doors because they were just sooooooo "patchy" looking, but oak just has that very strong grain. That is its nature.
Old 08-10-08, 07:34 AM
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whatever you do sand first

I read this whole thread. I am not sure I would poly first. Then you will have a lot of sanding to do if you still don't like the look. Also, I would not use a polystain. I tried one for the first time last week. I hated it. If you brush it on you get air bubbles in it, if you rub it in the color is not what you expected. (I know you are not supposed to rub it in, but i hated the way it looked brushed on.)

My advice is to pick a darker stain. It will help even out the color. But it won't be perfect due to the nature of the wood they used to build the cabinets.

If you still don't like the way they look, sand again , and then paint . Whatever you do don't poly them until you are happy with the way they look! Finish coats are difficult to paint over.

Can you by a small, less expensive piece of the same cabinets to use as a test piece? It may be cheeper in the long run to test several ideas before you chnge any thing.

If you like a dark brown stain that still lets the grain show through, Minwax Jacobean is very nice. Another one that is much lighter than the name implys is Olympic Dark Toffee. (I was looking for almost black when I tested these. Neither were that dark.) I think I found both of these at home depot.
Old 08-10-08, 08:46 PM
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Thank you for the advice.

I didn't apply the poly yet because I knew that would only add a "shiny" clear coat to what I already see.

I sanded with a 320 sponge and applied another coat of the Natural 209 stain. This helped a bit. Most of the parts now resemble a medium brown and the red parts don't standout as much.

Before I apply a coat of poly, I will reattach the doors on half of the kitchen and see how I like it. If I still can't stand it I will sand and paint.

Thanks again for the help. Next time I will be more particular about the wood I purchase that I intend to stain.

Lesson learned: The color of the wood will affect the look of the stain.


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