Gray Wash on Birch

      Finishers advise on achieving a washed-out gray look on birch cabinets. October 4, 2011

Question
I have a customer who is interested in a grey washed birch kitchen, and I have had difficulties coming across stains that will produce the look they want. I have attached a picture of the stain desired and was hoping I could get some ideas for replicating this finish. I know there are some good old fashion tricks, like steel wool in vinegar and what not, but I have never used anything like that and would like some insight on how to go about that process. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!


Click here for higher quality, full size image

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
The grey stain is profoundly affected when the black glaze is put over it. It doesn't look like a select area gray. It looks like a global glaze that is wiped down. It changes the color of the gray because it is put on the whole door. I did a warm gray like that, it was kind of tough. I had my color guy make up a gray stain and then I used the black glaze over it. It was similar to that but not exact.



From the original questioner:
I get what you are saying about the glaze, and will give that a go on some test pieces.


From contributor J:
Try Sherwin-Williams. They either have a grey stain or they will make on for you.


From contributor R:
I am not sure if there is enough tannic acid in birch to work with a chemical stain but if not just spray on a wash of tannic acid first then ferrous sulfate (try it first without the tannic acid and if it doesn't change color you will know you need it). You will have to experiment with the mix but when done right it will give you a perfectly even clear grey (too strong and it will turn black). Use a respirator and spray on the chemical or it will blotch just like any other stain.


From contributor N:
The picture looks like opaque grey paint with a black glaze.


From contributor M:
I had a job like this. I simply used gray oil base paint thinned as a stain, spraying it on and wiping it off. Then, after spraying on clear vinyl sealer, I scuffed and glazed with oil base glaze tinted with raw unber. Then I used another coat of vinyl sealer and then CV. Beware that there are two basic bases for gray: Black base or raw umber base. A raw umber based gray will be more of a mud gray - exactly what it looks like in your photo. Using lamp black with white to make gray will yield a much bluer gray.



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