Appearance Match for an Epoxy Patch

Epoxy won't take stain like the original wood, so... amaze your clients with these professional tricks. August 9, 2005

I've recently repaired an inside oak sill with epoxy, and I am unable to match the surrounding oil stained finish. The epoxy stained area does not take the stain to the same degree as the rest of the sill. Does anyone have a solution?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
I would suggest using the pigmented dry powders, or the pigmented paste colorants to do your coloring.

From contributor E:
I agree with Contributor M. I would get out the dry powers and do a little spot repair.

From contributor M:
Here is suggestion to try. This is easier than powders I think, and I have had excellent luck with this method. First, spray Zinzers shellac sealer over the area and hair dry it or let it dry for ten minutes.

Then, have on hand three tubes of Acrylic paint in the tube. The colors need to be burnt sienna, raw sienna, and burnt umber. Have a can of lacquer, a damp rag, a small detail brush, and some type of small container to mix the paint in.

Mix your colors to your best ability to match, and lightly apply on the area to be matched. The more water in the mix, the more transparency you will get. If you mess up, simply wipe off before it dries (about two minutes) and try again. You have sealed the area, so no worry there.

Once you get the color to match, dry it with a hair dryer and seal in with another coat of shellac spray over it to lock it in. Then just match the sheen with another can of lacquer with the appropriate sheen. You can do it in fifteen minutes.

From contributor G:
To the original questioner: Contributor M's method will do the trick. I recently repaired a 1" x 3" x 1/4" dp cigarette burn in an antique DR buffet top. I scraped out the loose material, sanded and sealed with wood hardener followed by 1# clear shellac. I then mixed/matched with powdered dyes into two part epoxy rosin before adding hardener.

When a good color match to the raw wood was achieved, I sanded level and applied another coat of 1# sh. I mixed/matched with liquid UTCs with Qualosole and applied it with a 1/2" flat water color brush and blended the end ridges with my thumb into the surrounding finish. With the pencil brush I painted in grain. I then tore a hole in the old sandpaper sheet the size of the blemish, held in 1/2" over the blemish and sprayed Qualasole in a Valspray bottle.

From contributor R:
Well it looks like you have a touch up on your hands. You have to paint in the background color, and the best way is by glazing tech. Glazing is a term for putting color down that will not penetrate the surface. I stay away from acrylics - they donít work well with lacquer.

If you think about it, you have used oil stains for years and after they are dry you can lacquer over them with no problems. I use artiest oil colors for all my touch up work.

Step one is getting the background color. The background color drives everything else, so it has to be right. It is not hard for you to do if you start out with the right colors to mix. A combination of burnt sienna and hansa yellow will match almost any wood background. You most likely will need a little white to get your color to the right tint. The only white to use is titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Use as little as you can and sneak up on it - if things start to go south, add yellow as white eats yellow and it will be the first to go in your mix. Do you mixing first on a piece of glass and with a paint knife. A lot of touch up guys mix on the back of a small piece of sand paper. I used to do this and I donít now because you will come up short. So mix plenty of color and don't be afraid.

To test, put the color down on the repair and if itís not right wipe it off and keep going. If you get the color just right, you don't have to worry about blending it into the surrounding area. It will disappear in front of your eyes. When it is right, use a small brush and some mineral spirit to lay it down. Keep a clean cheap pig bristle brush handy to smooth things out and don't get to sticking your fingers in to it. You will have greater control with a brush than any fingers I know of.

Once it is dry (three to five minutes) seal in with lacquer sanding sealer. Make sure you seal it good so other colors won't mix with it. Then take a little burnt umber and ivory black bone black - not lamp black, this black is blue in its secondary bone or ivory black. This is the only black to use with wood. What you are going to get now is a foreground color. Wood finishes have two parts to them - back and foreground. If you have a good back color, the foreground color does not have to be perfect. It does have to be very though. Use mineral spirit to thin you color out - and make to thin it really well.

Lay your color down with a brush and smooth it out with the pig bristle brush. Let it dry, and use a hare dryer if you need to. Then, just like the background color, seal in the foreground color. Now the only thing left in fooling mother nature is to put in the grain. Add a little more black - not too much and mix. Then with a lot less thinner, put in some grain lines. You donít have to be perfect at this stage, just put some lines down. To make these lines look much like grain, take the big flat pig bristle brush you have been using to smooth out your work, and with the flat side of the brush tap the lines you just made.

Do this a couple of times and you wonít believe your eyes. The grain will look more like the real grain. When you are done, seal sand if necessary and top coat for sheen. Have fun, you canít miss with this approach.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
For a "quickie" color blend (like a glue spot), I'll mix 1 part stain, 1 part finish, and 8 parts thinner and then use a touch-up gun like an air-brush to shade the spot in. Since it's the same stain, it blends right in. For some grain lines, I'll use a very fine brush and a darker stain before the shade.

From contributor S:
I would suggest trying the new blend-all sticks from Mohawk. This is the same material as the dry powders, but in stick form. They've added some sort of binder to the powder to get it in stick form. Also because of the binder, when you rub the color on, it stays where you put it easier than working with straight powders. But like the powders, you can blend it with a rag or finger, or even remove it entirely if you make a mistake. Handy, there is almost no learning curve, and itís highly effective on what you're describing.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
When doing spot repairs, the best technique is finger coloring and padding with color. Some call this technique "Frenching-in color." It allows you to blend in the color from the damage to the surrounded area without blocking out the wood. It's a technique that is worth having in your touch up arsenal.