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Hello to the original poster,

I recently stumbled upon your thread trying to find the right finish for white oak to prevent it from ambering or looking to yellow/orange. I too am working with a cabinet maker (that i like) but is having a lot of trouble with the finish. I have been going crazy trying to figure this out with him and knowing nothing about wood. I would be extremely grateful if you could share what you finally ended up with? or could make a recommend the finish you used?
 

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I would be happy to share. It turned out a lot easier then I expected. First you want make sure that your cabinet maker does not use any pre-stain/conditioner on the wood.

For the stain, based upon what some folks have suggested here and elsewhere, I started experimenting with Minwax Simply White and diluted it with Minwax Natural. I would recommend starting with a ratio of one Simply White to three Natural and see how you like it. I highly highly recommend trying it on a piece of scrapped wood from the actual wood you are using for your cabinet. White oak can vary quite a bit from piece to piece so this will give you a more accurate idea of the final color. For me, the ratio of one Simply White to three Natural yields the least color change from the bare wood but it does have a slight cooler undertone. We ended up liking the ratio of 4 Natural to 2 Simply White to 1 Golden Oak the most as it yields a slightly warmer undertone. You can experiment to see what looks best under your kitchen lighting.

Finally, for the top coat, you want to use something that is “water white” that doesn’t change the stained wood color. We used Sherwin William Water White Conversion Varnish for our cabinets. Note that even though it doesn’t change the color of the stained wood, if you simply apply this top coat on top of raw wood without the stain, it would result in an ambering effect.

Good luck!
 
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