Evening Out Finish Tones

      Maintain an even stain by applying multiple thinned coats. March 12, 2006

Question
We're doing a large project (bar, built-ins, wine cellar, etc.) for a very picky customer. All of our project is cherry and we've been asked to match existing finishes in different areas on different materials. The largest part of the project to match is a walnut color on the ornate coffered ceiling, casings, columns, etc. I'm not worried about the color, rather I'm concerned about the variations from piece to piece. I'd like to be able to even them up with a spray of some sort, but am curious what others might recommend. Do I tint some lacquer, make an acetone toner, perhaps thin some stain and fog it on? Obviously at this point, I'd rather be too light than too dark. How do I proceed?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor Q:
I've never understood that "everything has to be the same" mentality when finishing wood. Variations in it are what make it real, otherwise why not use laminate? Having to deal with this all the time, though, my method of choice for speed and simplicity is to make up my stain color lighter than the desired end result, then duplicate my color formula using about a ten percent solution of the topcoat (to act as a binder). I then spray this on as needed to bring everything up to match my sample, topcoat it and then wonder what that extra picky client will choose to complain about.



From contributor D:
Not really an answer to the question, but my experience with walnut colors on ceilings is that it always looks darker when installed. So if it has to match something already up, check it onsite first.


From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
When customers want that uniform color look that they see in most furniture stores, I usually apply the color in layers. Typically, I'll start by dying all the wood (spray, no wipe) with a color that complements the final color. This first step helps to give the wood a uniform background color that starts the process of tying it all together. If the color is one of the medium to dark browns that are called "walnut," then I'll use a yellowish-brown or amber dye. The color you're matching will steer the dye color some. After the dye, I'll use a spray and wipe pigmented stain. Depending on the stain and the color you're matching, you may need a washcoat over the dye before applying the stain or you may be able to use the stain right over the dye. Once the stain is dry, seal it with a coat of finish and sand it smooth. Then add some dye (and/or stain/pigments) to some finish and spray that to produce the final color. The toner will help a lot in making the final color more uniform.

Here's a couple links to related information in the Knowledge Base:
Dye, Stain, Glaze, & Toner for Uniform Coloring
Even Coloring on Cherry



You may also want to take a look at these articles:
Tinting Toner Tips
'Factory Finishes' for the Small Shop


From contributor W:
Just a reminder, and another complication. Your cherry will darken further with age. What matches today might not match in time.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article