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I agree with Sherman Williams

Generally speaking, sometimes the terms can be confusing.
The term "Clear" usually means a slight amber tone.
The term "Water White" means completely clear like water. Usually used over a stain piece when you dont want to alter the color.
If you want your wood to be "Water White", then I have no idea why he is using a conditioner and stain.

The thing to be considered is that the wood will age and get slightly darker over time and also a Water White" finish is not usually desirable because it looks lifeless, unless over a stain. That's just personal preferences.

The only time I have ever used Water White over raw wood was on Birds Eye maple when I wanted to give it an ancient relic look and protect the surface of the wood.

My opinion is get rid of your cabinet maker. He is confused by some pretty basic finishing principles.
 

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@epicfail48 Our cabinet maker thinks just spraying on the white water CV will amber the wood so he is trying to use stain to get back to the original color.

Can anyone with direct experience with the Sher-wood White Water CV comment on whether the finish changes the wood color much if it is the only thing that is applied to the wood?
This is what they sprayed on mine, not sure if this the same product or not
Liquid Drinkware Fluid Cup Drink
 

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EM7000HBL does not yellow.
True it’s non-yellowing but many self-sealing waterborne clears have a tendency to darken white oak due to acrylic dispersions being alkaline and tend to oxidize extractives in white oak. They also have a tendency to draw tannins to the surface due to tannins being highly soluble in alkaline water solutions, which also has a darkening effect. I’ve never used the EM 7000 which I believe is the newer replacement product for the discontinued EM 9000, but the EM 9000 darkened white oak “considerably” due to the reasons mentioned above.
 

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@epicfail48 Our cabinet maker thinks just spraying on the white water CV will amber the wood so he is trying to use stain to get back to the original color.

Can anyone with direct experience with the Sher-wood White Water CV comment on whether the finish changes the wood color much if it is the only thing that is applied to the wood?
A lot of finishers I’ve worked with will use a “very diluted” white pigmented stain to UV protect white oak under CV which also offsets any potential longer term ambering of the clear coats, plus it inhibits the yellowing of the underlying oak.
 

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True it’s non-yellowing but many self-sealing waterborne clears have a tendency to darken white oak due to acrylic dispersions being alkaline and tend to oxidize extractives in white oak. They also have a tendency to draw tannins to the surface due to tannins being highly soluble in alkaline water solutions, which also has a darkening effect. I’ve never used the EM 7000 which I believe is the newer replacement product for the discontinued EM 9000, but the EM 9000 darkened white oak “considerably” due to the reasons mentioned above.
Valuable info. Thx!

How about auto clear coat?
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I agree with Sherman Williams

Generally speaking, sometimes the terms can be confusing.
The term "Clear" usually means a slight amber tone.
The term "Water White" means completely clear like water. Usually used over a stain piece when you dont want to alter the color.
If you want your wood to be "Water White", then I have no idea why he is using a conditioner and stain.

The thing to be considered is that the wood will age and get slightly darker over time and also a Water White" finish is not usually desirable because it looks lifeless, unless over a stain. That's just personal preferences.

The only time I have ever used Water White over raw wood was on Birds Eye maple when I wanted to give it an ancient relic look and protect the surface of the wood.

My opinion is get rid of your cabinet maker. He is confused by some pretty basic finishing principles.
Thanks for the explanation! My understanding talking to our cabinet maker is that with stain, the water white CV will be clear but if the CV is applied to just raw wood/veneer, it will amber the wood as if it is "wet". I am still waiting on a sample from him with just the CV without any conditioner and stain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
A lot of finishers I’ve worked with will use a “very diluted” white pigmented stain to UV protect white oak under CV which also offsets any potential longer term ambering of the clear coats, plus it inhibits the yellowing of the underlying oak.
That's very interesting. I heard the same thing from a General Finishes's rep. He said something like 10% white mixed in with the finish. The Sher-wood Water White CV said it comes with UV absorber already so I don't know if adding the extra white is needed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I reached out to the people who made the cabinets in our inspiration photo asking about ambering effect of a "clear" finish and they responded to clarify that they actually did "a white washed clear coat". Can someone that understand what this mean translate? These cabinets don't look white washed at all. Do you think they meant some white pigment to tint the clear coat to counteract the ambering effect?

Here's the inspiration photo again for the rift white oak:

Countertop Cabinetry Property Furniture Kitchen
 

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I reached out to the people who made the cabinets in our inspiration photo asking about ambering effect of a "clear" finish and they responded to clarify that they actually did "a white washed clear coat". Can someone that understand what this mean translate? These cabinets don't look white washed at all. Do you think they meant some white pigment to tint the clear coat to counteract the ambering effect?

Here's the inspiration photo again for the rift white oak:

View attachment 438530
A few drops of white colorant in CV is a common practice which offsets the inherent yellowing of white oak. I’ve done it in a few instances and it really makes a tremendous difference further on down the line.

Edit: white oak will yellow to a degree in the absence of UV light just from exposure to oxygen, being that coatings are air permeable, more or less.
 

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He previously gave me three samples, one of which he said has no stain and just the CV and it had an amber color to it. I didn’t know anything about the wood conditioner so I didn’t ask. I just found out today after several attempts and not getting the color right that he used an oil based wood conditioner. I reached out to get clarification whether the no stain sample had any wood conditioning.
Both are right. The finish should not shift the natural color of the wood. But what you are seeing when the wood is dry is not the natural finished color of the wood. If you want to see the natural color of the wood wipe it with mineral spirits (or water). While it is wet, that is close to the natural color of the wood. Therefore there is a shift from the color of the wood unfinished, but that shift is due to having a film on it. CV will have a minimal shift since in general the coatings are very thin compared to poly or other finishes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Both are right. The finish should not shift the natural color of the wood. But what you are seeing when the wood is dry is not the natural finished color of the wood. If you want to see the natural color of the wood wipe it with mineral spirits (or water). While it is wet, that is close to the natural color of the wood. Therefore there is a shift from the color of the wood unfinished, but that shift is due to having a film on it. CV will have a minimal shift since in general the coatings are very thin compared to poly or other finishes.
I am learning that the "wet" look is actually the true color of the wood like you said. We just prefer it to be less intense.
 

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I learned a lot here. Since I have never gone for the natural look (always stain wood first to pop the grain), I really haven't paid attention to how the protective finish affects color. I do remember years ago using water poly for the first time, ~1993. It was my first experience with a "milk" color in the can finish that turned from white to clear as it dried. It was made by Carver Tripp (I think they were bought by Parks at some point). What was a surprise to me was that on bare wood (no stain, sealer, etc.) when it dried the wood looked bare again. It was like rubbing water on the wood and letting it dry. It didn't highlight the natural color of the wood/grain like when oil, water, solvent, etc. is placed on the wood (well it did when it was wet but that went away when it was dry). The take away was that if I wanted more or less the natural color of the wood but to have it pop, I needed to put on something first to do that (like a clear oil stain). I realize the OP wants the wood to look like it has nothing on it. Just saying that's what the Carver Tripp gave you. I assumed similar water poly finishes today would have done the same. I know now that isn't necessarily true. On another note, I'm wondering now how much that Carver Tripp yellowed over time. I see the cabinets it was used on everyday, but since a yellowing, if it happened, would have taken place slowly over time it isn't noticeable (although I think it would be in the OP's "natural" look). I do know the insides of the cabinets look the same as the outsides, so light has apparently not affect them. I love working with wood, but not so much the finishing part. I think I'll start to pay more attention and put more thought into this aspect now as a result of this post!
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
I just got a sample from my cabinet maker that only has the SW White Water CV on it with no stain conditioner or stain. Like my cabinet maker said, it definitely added yellow/amber compared to the unfinished veneer. I am pretty disappointed considering that SW claims this is "water white" clear. I expected a little darkening but not this orange look. The finished piece of the right is actually slightly more orange and darker in person.

Wood Rectangle Flooring Wood stain Floor


On the other hand, I am experimenting with Minwax Simply White stain and out of the can, it looks pretty nice. A little whiter then I would like so I am going to play with diluting it a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Also I looked into water based finishes but there is not much option where I am at (San Diego, CA) which is surprising. Sherwin Williams said they don't carry any water based industrial grade finish here. The only water based finish here is from General Finishes. I am considering their Enduro Clear Poly but have read that its chemical resistance is not as good as CV. My main concern is from ammonia based cleaning product.
 

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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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