Guessing color of finished wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 07-21-2019, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Guessing color of finished wood

Recently our cheep Walmart clock broke and after looking for alternatives I loved online, I decided to just make one instead. After looking at several different options in my wood stash, I remembered some reclaimed fence boards I’d snagged for free last year. I sanded them down and then scrubbed them clean today. I did it in that order because initially I’d planned on staining it with a driftwood stain color. However, after wetting it, I wondered what it would look like with just a couple of coats of poly. Would it be somewhere in between the “wet” and dry colors? I think the wood is gorgeous and don’t want to cover it up too much with stain but I do want it a bit darker than the “dry” image.
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post #2 of 2 Old 07-21-2019, 07:50 AM
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A color name is just a word. A stain is a mixture of pigments like paint is. A color of one brand of stain would vary considerably if you found a stain by the same name from another company.

When finishing pine or cedar the wood is prone to go blotchy. The wood has hard and soft places in it and the soft places will absorb more stain than the hard spots and go darker. This makes the finished product multiple different colors. To solve this problem you use a wood conditioner. It is a sealer like you thinned down some varnish a lot. The soft places in the wood will absorb more of the conditioner than the hard places so in the end the surface is more uniform. This makes the stain go on more uniform in color. Now having put a sealer on the wood it takes a darker stain than you would use otherwise. It will just take some tinkering with different cans of stain to achieve the color you want. Just purchase some you think is about the right color and another can you think is too dark. You can intermix the stains to make any color plus if it's too dark you can thin the stain with mineral spirits.
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