Color matching

      Rectifying the color difference between a cherry table top and its stored-away extension leaf. March 30, 2000

I am a furniture maker and have recently been asked to refinish a cherry veneered oval table with solid lipping.

The table has a fold-out middle section which has kept its color, while the main table has been bleached by the sun. As far as I can tell, the table had some stain applied during manufacture. What is the best way to proceed in this case?

Strip, do the usual sanding, and then apply an equalizing dye stain (usually an amber color) to even out the tone. Then washcoat, glaze (if needed to highlight grain), then apply sealer. Sand, then tone to equalize the overall color. Assemble the table in your spray booth so you can apply the toner by less or more passes on the leaves, as opposed to the main body. Use a pigmented toner or if clarity is paramount, only a lightfast dye toner.

Regardless of the colorants used, my experience with cherry is that if the leaves are stored underneath the top or in a dark closet, the top will "redden," or warm up, as opposed to the leaves.

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