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post #1 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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To Dark!

So my first project is to build my kitchen cabinets for my house. I figured this would be a safe way to go through the learning curve and get used to some new equipment.

The cabinet fronts are Mahogany and the boxes have 1/4" birch ply w/ red mahogany stain. I brought home a piece of the wood, put some sealer on it, and started to stain the birch to match.

Now I'm starting to bring home the cabinet fronts and doors for installation and it seems that I must have picked the darkest piece of the bunch and the fronts and doors have a much lighter appearance than the sides do. The fronts and doors are finished w/ sealer and 4 coats of poly, the sides have only stain with sealer.

Finally, the question!

Is there anything I can do at this stage to lighten up a dark stain? I've already tried taking a sample piece, sanding it a little and re-treating. That just makes it look worse.:(
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason W View Post

Is there anything I can do at this stage to lighten up a dark stain? I've already tried taking a sample piece, sanding it a little and re-treating. That just makes it look worse.:(

Not much at this stage, except for chemically stripping, which may or may not remove it all.






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post #3 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 05:07 PM
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Too Dark (Staining Kitchen Cabinets)

From what I understand you have sealed the sides and then stained. Is this right? This is a good way, because you control the absorption of the stain.
How about using a suitable stripper to remove the colour, in theory the stain shouldn't have been absorbed too much, because of the sealer. Try this and then sand back the remaining colour. I can't guarantee the result but hopefully this may help.

Generally speaking it's very difficult, nigh impossible to lighten a dark wood stain. If the above fails how about painting the sides a complimentary colour.
Good Luck! :thumbsup:
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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The stain is self sealing (Minwax)

While the birch is darker it still has the lighter color veins running through it that match it exactly. Could be I'm being to perfect.

This first pic is my sample I brought home. The second is the front leaning against the box. I wouldn't except this for a customer but I may just live with it as is.

When you have wood that varies in color so much, what do you do about the side color? Do you do a few samples first?
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Last edited by Jason W; 12-27-2008 at 10:18 AM. Reason: typo's
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 08:18 PM
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Too long to explain why

but you will never make birch or most any other wood look like another wood unless you get lucky or know how to glaze. And even at that, it will never really look the same.
Also, birch is usually used for painting and not for staining.
The best I could recommend is to wash down the whole surface with acetone, light sand it and then apply mahogany veneer.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-27-2008, 09:45 AM
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You are using two different types of woods (substrates) with different physical qualities. Matching the color is very difficult for a DIY project. Large factories probably use a 10-20 step process, similar to what Tony B mentioned above, using glazes and tinted laquers to obtain a blending of tone, color and texture. Birch also tends to stain a little blotchy without using a filler and/or spit wash coat.

You can try stripping a sample of the birch and bleach it with something like oxalic acid or other similar product to pull back the color. It will require some experimentation to see if you can get the tone closer to the cabinet doors.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-28-2008, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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I told my wife I was working on a solution to the problem with the color difference and she asked "what problem"? I like it that way. (She's serious too)
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