Fixing a Too-Orange Finish

      Carefully toning that orange with some blue should bring it back to an acceptable brown, say the pros. December 30, 2005

I've got four built-ins installed and the client hates the color. (Me too, but I didn't pick the stain - Minwax Colonial Maple.) Technically, my butt is covered because the client was adamant about the stain and turned down any additional samples. However, I wonder if there might be some fix. The current finish is Minwax stain topcoated with SW pre-cat lacquer. Is it feasible to spray a tinted (brownish?) lacquer over this that would subdue the bright orange?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor B:
Is that the only trouble or complaint about the stain finish? The orange look? Blue neutralizes orange, so try a bluish tint vs. the brown to start with. Just a little to start with... don't overdo the application of blue. Best to duplicate on sample if not comfortable with on actual piece. Is the customer satisfied with stain application with the Minwax? Make a toner with vinyl sealer about 4 oz. lacquer thinner with 16 oz. colorant, about 1/2 oz to start with. Try to neutralize the orange with the blue. Then maybe the brown on top if needed with same toner mix.

Some may not agree with this method and may have better ideas. As I said, best to try to duplicate sample first. And, of course, after the toner, then topcoat again for final look.

From contributor H:
We've done toning between coats of SW pre-cat and never had a problem. If you can scuff the finish, then do the toning necessary, you should be able to topcoat with 1 or 2 more coats of pre-cat and it should stick.

From contributor D:
I had some new doors that were stained orange (like colonial maple) and the client decided they were too orange. I did what contributor B suggested - tinted with a little blue - which browned up the doors quite nicely. I'd give that a try.

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