Refinished old door looks awful, nothing like I expected!
I had my interior doors dipped a couple years ago and have been gradually staining them (using gel stain and gel varnish). They don't look perfect, but I think they're really pretty (see first two pics).
For my bathroom, the original door was long gone, so I purchased a painted door from a salvage place that looked like my other doors and stripped it myself. I used the lye type of stripper on one side, and a gentler type on the other.
The problem: The door I stripped myself looks much lighter than my other doors. I'm pretty sure it's the same kind of wood (fir?). But maybe it was made from newer wood, or the stripping process resulted in a lighter color, or it came out differently because it had been painted, while the other doors were originally varnished.
In any case, when I put the stain on, it looks much lighter and more orange than my others doors (and blotchy, but I can probably work on that by resanding). It does not have the rich, deep stained look of the dipped doors. (See last two photos.)
Is there any way I can get this door to look more like the other doors? I've been reading about tea staining and wondered if it would help make the door look a little darker before the gel stain, but I worry that it will turn the door too gray.
I have spent many weeks on this blasted door between buying, stripping, sanding, moving the hinges slightly, etc. and would welcome any advice to make it look better.