Staining Mahogany Wood to Match - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 6 Old 01-18-2017, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Question Staining Mahogany Wood to Match

I normally finish mahogany with an American Walnut stain, shellac than followed by Walnut filler and a top coat. I have two bedside tables. The wood for the tables is older and darker. The drawer fronts are of much lighter wood. How can I match the lighter drawer fronts with the tables themselves?
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-18-2017, 10:50 PM
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Actually the procedure should be grain filler, stain, then sealer and last a finish. Matching a color is a matter of tinkering. You take the stain you have been using and get a much darker color stain along the same tone and intermix the stain until you achieve the color you want on scrap wood. Then when you think you have it apply a finish over the top as a clear coating can change the color a little. Then when you think it's a perfect match take the project and the sample out in the direct sun and check it again to see if it matches. Sometimes wood looks fine in artificial light and when you get in the sun it's way off.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-19-2017, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. My stain is water based and the filler is oil based so if I do filler first, don't I have to seal it before applying the stain? And if so will the wood take up any of the stain?
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-19-2017, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcall View Post
Thanks. My stain is water based and the filler is oil based so if I do filler first, don't I have to seal it before applying the stain? And if so will the wood take up any of the stain?
If the filler isn't already, it should be tinted about the same color as the stain. Much of the time you can stain and grain fill in one step.

The water based stain would stain the wood after the grain filler but it wouldn't penetrate as well as if you did it first. Sometimes it's necessary to use a darker stain when using a grain filler or a wood conditioner. It does seal the wood some.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-19-2017, 11:49 AM
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Like Steve said, it's mostly just tinkering, trying out your best guess of colors or combination of colors until it looks right. I just did a set of antique mahogany pieces this week, and I was able to match the original, well aged colors pretty well. After sanding the tops down to bare wood, I started out with a 50/50 mix of red mahogany and dark walnut, next coat was straight red mahogany, and the final 2 coats were ebony. I tried to vary how I laid out the stain a bit so it wouldn't look so perfect and even, and I also did the ebony heavy around the edges of the top to mimic the darkening around the edges of the old finish. Turned out well enough. Then the amber shellac top coat gave it the slight yellow tone it needed.

But yeah, just play around with colors until it looks right. While after a few coats of stain, it won't absorb much more, it will absorb a little, allowing some minor tweaks to the color.

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post #6 of 6 Old 01-22-2017, 12:51 AM
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An alternative approach you could try is chemical darkening. Wiping on a very dilute solution of sodium hydroxide (lye) simulates aging. It worked for me when I had to match some 100 year old mahogany with new wood.

The Door and credenza in the pic below are made from century old salvaged wood. The shelves are new wood.

Ed


For just a little more, you can do it yourself.

Last edited by ed_h; 01-22-2017 at 12:56 AM.
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