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Thread: Looking for tutorial on how to match stain color on kitchen cabinets

  1. #1
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    Looking for tutorial on how to match stain color on kitchen cabinets

    The frig/freezer bit the dust recently and we could not find a replacement to fit our cabinet opening. All too small. So we bought a larger professional unit, actually a pair, so I have some cabinet construction to do. I will need to match up as closely as I can the stain color to existing cabinetry, something I've never had to do. I'm asking those in the know for links or references to instructional materials on how to figure out the combination of stains, dies, etc to make that match.

    Thanks for your help!
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  2. #2
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    Brian, please post some photos of the cabinets you need to match. Matching color, grain, depth, and sheen can be pretty straight forward or far from it, and the process to do so can vary widely. The wood you use to construct the new cabinets can make the job easier, more difficult, or down right impossible.

    John

  3. #3
    I would use dye stain ,not Gunk- In- Can oil based smear. Buy it ,try it ,apply it….that’s the old rule !! You will have left overs so, keep your
    powder dry until needed again.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    Brian, please post some photos of the cabinets you need to match. Matching color, grain, depth, and sheen can be pretty straight forward or far from it, and the process to do so can vary widely. The wood you use to construct the new cabinets can make the job easier, more difficult, or down right impossible.

    John
    I'll get some photos tomorrow afternoon. It's a light finish on red oak. I haven't bought materials yet as I haven't settled on the design yet. But I thought I would get a start on the learning curve on the finish match.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  5. #5
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    For most homes around here other than high end, in the same age range ('80s & '90s), almost all oak was stained in Minwax Golden Oak, light, heavy, or medium. So I can cheat that way to start. Fading from sunlight complicates it.
    Hobbyist

  6. #6
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    When I made some mods to our kitchen, I had to make new maple look like old maple. Lots of experimentation, but I ended up using dye to yellow the new wood some & then used an orangey tinted water borne poly to do the final shading, followed by a couple of clear poly topcoats. The results were indistinguishable from the old wood. It's been around 15 year since I did that & it still all matches.

  7. #7
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    Here's a photo of the project and a close up of a neighboring cabinet door. It's been a dark rainy day so the color might be off a touch. The style is outdated but my wife likes the oak and I don't mind it, so I'm happy to not pay for new cabinets. The end panel in photo 1 will be replaced with a new panel about 1.5" wider. A new wall on the far side will enclose the cabinet. I'm thinking 3 new cabinets in Oak over the top, but haven't made a final decision.

    20210921_171246.jpg20210921_170644.jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    For most homes around here other than high end, in the same age range ('80s & '90s), almost all oak was stained in Minwax Golden Oak, light, heavy, or medium. So I can cheat that way to start. Fading from sunlight complicates it.
    Might be a good call there Stan. We bought an Oak table from an Amish furniture store about 20 years ago that is very similar in finish and I believe the salesman mentioned Golden Oak stain. In fact, you can see it in the photo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    ... & then used an orangey tinted water borne poly to do the final shading...
    Never though of tinting the poly. Thanks for the tip!
    Last edited by Brian Tymchak; 09-21-2021 at 8:07 PM.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  8. #8
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    Those look like they were sprayed with straight lacquer or maybe a toner coat first and then clearcoat. I once matched some red oak cabinets with an aged lacquer finish by doing nothing more than spraying my cabinets with Sealcoat shellac followed by GF's High Performance.



    On another job it took a little more work to match the existing oak cabinets. In this case, as Mel suggested, I sprayed a dye toner mix made of Sealcoat shellac with Transtint Dark Vintage Maple dye, 4 drops in 15 ml of Sealcoat. That was followed by a topcoat of EnduroVar with 50 drops of Transtint Medium Brown (I think) in 750 ml of finish. I probably got it one dip too dark, but the color is still really close. My doors are left and right of the target.



    Dyes and toners are your friend and I think a good route for your cabinets BUT only if you can spray. If you can't then a wiping stain is probably your best option.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    ....Dyes and toners are your friend and I think a good route for your cabinets BUT only if you can spray. If you can't then a wiping stain is probably your best option.
    Good callout there John. I am not setup to spray. I intend to wipe on the finish.

    Thanks for the details of your finishes. Gives me a sense of how to adjust things.

    Can wiping stains be adjusted color-wise or would I have to adjust using multiple coats and / or a combination of stains?
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  10. #10
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    Sure, wiping stains can be intermixed to adjust the color just like dyes. You can layer them, too, if you seal each coat or let it dry really well. Gel stain over a wiping stain is a pretty common way to tune the color and depth.

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    I’m not sure if they still do it, but my local Benjamin Moore store, would color match samples brought in, by mixing a custom stain. You might check with some of your higher end paint stores to see if they offer that service. Just a thought.

    I believe they required the customer to bring in the sample to be matched, and prepared new stock to work with.
    Last edited by Phil Mueller; 09-26-2021 at 9:07 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    I’m not sure if they still do it, but my local Benjamin Moore store, would color match samples brought in, by mixing a custom stain. You might check with some of your higher end paint stores to see if they offer that service. Just a thought.

    I believe they required the customer to bring in the sample to be matched, and prepared new stock to work with.
    Thanks for the tip Phil. I would have never thought of that.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    I’m not sure if they still do it, but my local Benjamin Moore store, would color match samples brought in, by mixing a custom stain. You might check with some of your higher end paint stores to see if they offer that service. Just a thought.

    I believe they required the customer to bring in the sample to be matched, and prepared new stock to work with.
    At least some Home Depots offered that service for paint, don't know about stains. For Brian's purposes I built a pantry to supplement storage in a mid '90s 'oak' kitchen. Golden oak it was, very similar to other pics here. We used McClosky Golden Oak, McClosky is no longer sold but presumably golden oak is golden oak. Having a few TransTint colors can be handy to shift premixed colors a bit. Scrap and samples finished with the whole schedule are mandatory.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    but presumably golden oak is golden oak.
    Color names are just that...just names. The same name from a different manufacturer will not likely match up exactly ... and sometimes not even closely ...with that of another manufacturer. But in this case, it can be a start with further toning. It's better if it the inisial result is a lighter as that can be toned darker and color corrected easier than getting too dark initially, of course.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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