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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I just joined up and I want to say I look forward to reading everybody's posts . I have a kitchen project in the shop right now and the stained door the customer gave me to match is a deep, reddish cherry. I have tried oil and gel stains to try to match but its not even close. She is a very picky customer and I gotta get this right. I have never used any kind of dye stains so I guess it's time to learn. I would appreciate any input. I have only ever used oil and gel stains so this is a whole new experience for me. Thanks in advance.
 

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First of all it's difficult to match an existing color that someone else has done. I charge for 2 hours labor to match a color and I've been doing it for almost 40 years. It just takes a lot of supplies and tinkering. Unless you are wanting this as a learning experience you can take some scrap wood and the sample to a real paint store like sherwin williams and they will mix it for you and get the color correct or very close so perhaps you only need minor fine tuning to achieve the look you want. If you wish to do it yourself you might post a picture so one of us could maybe give you some clues to the supplies you might try. Generally an oil stain will give a deeper richer color than a dye stain. The dye stain is more likely to give a more uniform color. Anyway what matters is to use as similar of supplies and technique as the other guy did. For the most part when I match a stain I usually start with an oil stain and fine tune the color with dyes and toners. It also helps if you take the samples of the stain you do out in the direct sun and compare it to the color you are matching. Sometimes you have to take a close look at the finish too. I recently added a cabinet to existing kitchen and I noticed some runs on the back of one of the doors. From the run I could tell the old door the other finisher used amber shellac to finish the door so I had to also use amber shellac to match the color they did. It's often a mixture of different products to reproduce what someone else has done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First of all it's difficult to match an existing color that someone else has done. I charge for 2 hours labor to match a color and I've been doing it for almost 40 years. It just takes a lot of supplies and tinkering. Unless you are wanting this as a learning experience you can take some scrap wood and the sample to a real paint store like sherwin williams and they will mix it for you and get the color correct or very close so perhaps you only need minor fine tuning to achieve the look you want. If you wish to do it yourself you might post a picture so one of us could maybe give you some clues to the supplies you might try. Generally an oil stain will give a deeper richer color than a dye stain. The dye stain is more likely to give a more uniform color. Anyway what matters is to use as similar of supplies and technique as the other guy did. For the most part when I match a stain I usually start with an oil stain and fine tune the color with dyes and toners. It also helps if you take the samples of the stain you do out in the direct sun and compare it to the color you are matching. Sometimes you have to take a close look at the finish too. I recently added a cabinet to existing kitchen and I noticed some runs on the back of one of the doors. From the run I could tell the old door the other finisher used amber shellac to finish the door so I had to also use amber shellac to match the color they did. It's often a mixture of different products to reproduce what someone else has done.
Thanks for the info Steve. The door sample she gave is from Welbourne cabinets. They say they have a 24 step finish process. I will post a pic of the door and you can see what you think. From what I have read , spraying dyes is the way to go. I do have an HVLP system. Let me get the door pic and we can go from there. Thanks again.
 

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There are water based dyes and alcohol based dyes. I primarily use the alcohol dyes from Mohawk Finishing products. You spray a dye at low pressure. What gets difficult is you have to rely on your experience in spraying a uniform coat. If you watch what it looks like the stuff dries so fast you get the feeling you need to go back and add some more. This will result in getting too much dye on and making it too dark. What is nice though is it only takes a couple of minutes drying time and it's ready to be topcoated. The dye is also compatible with some finishes so you can add the dye to the topcoat if additional color is needed. Lacquer is one finish that the Ultra Penetrating Stain can be added. The water based dyes are like any other water based product, it raises the grain and takes additional coats of finish to compensate.
 

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We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions.

When trying to match up a finish, it's important to determine what the species is that you are matching to. Starting off with the same species makes life a bit easier. Next would be how the samples are prepared. Sanding to a stainable surface might depend on the species, but 180x is about average. Some woods might need a conditioner/sealer to help getting an even color without blotching, so that is another consideration.

If you use an oil base stain, a one time application is usually the best shot you get. If you use dyes, which BTW, can be applied more than once, they can give a gradual increase in color and intensity. Spraying dyes work the best, and you can get an even coverage with a little practice.

If you use waterbase, how much grain raising you get will depend on the species. You may want to start with a grain filler/paste wood filler. Using that will depend on how the subject piece appears. If it has no pores showing, and the finish is a slick topcoat, using a filler may be the way to go.

If you get grain raising it's not as big a deal as some make it sound. Usually with the normal between application sanding it becomes a non issue.

Using an alcohol base dye dries very fast and is called "NGR" (non grain raising). You can get some very definite results. It's also important that with making samples that you take the sample out to the final topcoat whatever that is, because that will change the appearance.

Keep notes on whatever ratios you mix as you test. You can use cooking measuring spoons and keep track by marking the back of the sample. That way when you make your final mix, you can convert the spoon amount to greater values. And even after you get the final mix, test it and apply the topcoat, just to make sure. Allow sufficient dry times between the different applications.










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You may find that there are other combinations possible that would produce a better match. You could do an application of an oil base stain, and after that tone it with a spray on dye.

Or, another possibility is to mix in with the topcoat a tint that will tone in the overall finish to some form of uniformity. So, you can see there are many possibilities, which makes testing very worthwhile.






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Discussion Starter · #8 ·




We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions.

When trying to match up a finish, it's important to determine what the species is that you are matching to. Starting off with the same species makes life a bit easier. Next would be how the samples are prepared. Sanding to a stainable surface might depend on the species, but 180x is about average. Some woods might need a conditioner/sealer to help getting an even color without blotching, so that is another consideration.

If you use an oil base stain, a one time application is usually the best shot you get. If you use dyes, which BTW, can be applied more than once, they can give a gradual increase in color and intensity. Spraying dyes work the best, and you can get an even coverage with a little practice.

If you use waterbase, how much grain raising you get will depend on the species. You may want to start with a grain filler/paste wood filler. Using that will depend on how the subject piece appears. If it has no pores showing, and the finish is a slick topcoat, using a filler may be the way to go.

If you get grain raising it's not as big a deal as some make it sound. Usually with the normal between application sanding it becomes a non issue.

Using an alcohol base dye dries very fast and is called "NGR" (non grain raising). You can get some very definite results. It's also important that with making samples that you take the sample out to the final topcoat whatever that is, because that will change the appearance.

Keep notes on whatever ratios you mix as you test. You can use cooking measuring spoons and keep track by marking the back of the sample. That way when you make your final mix, you can convert the spoon amount to greater values. And even after you get the final mix, test it and apply the topcoat, just to make sure. Allow sufficient dry times between the different applications.














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Cabinetman, thanks for the input. The door sample was cherry, as is the kitchen I am building so that is a plus. I have read that you should put down the dye first and then finish out with an oil based stain such as Sherwin Williams BAC stain. This will be a learning experience but it will work out. I just have to be patient . I will decide on what kind of dye I will get this week and keep everyone posted on how it goes. Thanks again.
 
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