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Hello, I've been reading some good advice from you all and have a few questions. We are starting to design our new kitchen and are kind of working backwards now. Our budget was for red oak but we are not liking the dark stain on red oak. It ends up looking very 70s. I have seen a ton of oak cabs refinished with GF java gel stain and they look great but I've read its a different process for unfinished oak. I want a color between the GF cherry and java colors with a more even appearance and less graining. So I guess my question is... should I stay with oak and pay the finisher to do multiple steps or just pay the up charge to go with alder or maple (which i know is also hard to stain dark but has less grain)?
 

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Old School
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Hello, I've been reading some good advice from you all and have a few questions. We are starting to design our new kitchen and are kind of working backwards now. Our budget was for red oak but we are not liking the dark stain on red oak. It ends up looking very 70s. I have seen a ton of oak cabs refinished with GF java gel stain and they look great but I've read its a different process for unfinished oak. I want a color between the GF cherry and java colors with a more even appearance and less graining. So I guess my question is... should I stay with oak and pay the finisher to do multiple steps or just pay the up charge to go with alder or maple (which i know is also hard to stain dark but has less grain)?
If you are paying a "finisher" to do the work, I would give him the parameters of the finish you want and let him/her provide samples.








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Oak wood in it's natural form is very light. There is no reason it has to be dark. There is a wide lattitude of colors and finishes which can be done on oak so you should be able to have it any color you wish. Personally I don't care for gel stains. They are more like thinned down paint which obscures the wood. If it was me I would go with an oil stain. In any case I would let your painter know what color you want and have him make stain samples for you before you give approval for a finish. You might go to google images and look for "Oak Cabinets" and find a picture of a color you like to give to the finisher as a starting point.
 

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bzguy
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You might like "whitewashed" Oak?
Take some white paint, thin it out, and wipe it on like a stain.
I prefer latex for this, cheaper to thin and easier clean-up.
When you clear coat it, the very contrasty oak grain is muted and the results are a light pinkish color, (with red oak) .
The designers I worked with liked this because it reflects a lot of light in your kitchen.
The darker the cabinets the harder to see in the room.
 
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