Taking a Red Undertone from Alder

      Green is the opposite of red on the color wheel, but some fine fiddling with yellow and blue may be needed to balance out a too-red tone. September 26, 2013

(WOODWEB Member) :
I chose the wrong undertone of paint for my new showroom in comparison to my alder trim and cabinetry. The paint is realist beige from Sherwin Williams, and it has a straight gray undertone. How can I help my alder not have such a red undertone when I stain it? I am not a finisher, so please be specific with what I can tell my painter to do. I just need the alder to be cohesive with my paint and granite choice, which pretty much means gets rid of the red, and let it hold gray.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor L

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Little bit of green dye in the clear should knock back the red. It will bring it towards brown. Tread lightly.

From contributor R:
I think I would not mix the green dye with clear. I suggest you make a stock solution of green and then dilute your green aniline dye a great deal in acetone or naphtha and spray evenly but very thinly and let each dry. It won't take but a couple of minutes to dry if you use acetone and a couple of minutes longer if you use naphtha. Once you have the color right, seal it, then top coat. This way if you get it wrong you can remove some color with just solvent and not have to worry about removing finish.

From contributor A:
Yes, green dye diluted. Green is pretty strong. Samples, samples, samples, then the job.

From contributor R:
One more thing. Green is opposite red on the color wheel, but that is not necessarily the same red that you have. Since green is a blend of yellow and blue the ratio of blue to yellow will determine just where the final color will end up. My experience has convinced me that using primary colors, although tedious, might offer more control over the final color. That said, I have also used diluted walnut stains (which often contain a greenish hue) to counteract an annoying pinkish tinge that some wood takes on from prior staining.

What I'm saying is that a simple rectification of a color problem will not often have a simple "one size fits all" resolution. Getting good results often takes a little fiddling. Get used to it. That's finishing.

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