Clear Finish that Won't Color Wood?

Is there any clear finish that will not modify the natural hue of a pine door? November 8, 2007

I have a client who has some 6 panel white pine doors that she wants to finish without changing the color. Is there any finish that will work? She has some unfinished ash paneling that the doors match now, but when she applies a finish, it brings out the grain and heartwood and it has a yellow cast. She wants the finished doors to match the unfinished ash.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
And then is she going to want you to finish the ash to match it to the finished pine that matched the unfinished ash? I suggest that you talk her into a nice light brown spray stain that you can make both woods match with.

From contributor M:
Unless you do a coating test on the two woods, there is no way you will know what color the woods will turn out. Once the woods get coated, there will be a change. Only then will you know the two colors, and if you can make any adjustment to match the two woods.

From contributor J:
I'm thinking waterbase would be just the ticket.

From contributor M:
Unless you make up a coated sample with both an amber and a water clear coating, you will never know. Water clear coatings is not always the answer. Many shops using water base coatings are using a colorant to add that amber look to their coatings.

From contributor D:
Are there knots in the pine?

From contributor A:
Remember, also, that wood and finishes change color with time. Matching colors today doesn't mean that in a year they'll still match. Maybe use a water-white finish with UV inhibitors to slow the change.

From contributor N:
Use Minwax Polycrylic. Used it on the interior of an entire house. Wood paneling, pine. Can barely tell that it was finished - crystal clear. Use a foam brush or spray it. Bristle brushes leave streaks.

From contributor H:
General Finishes polyacrylic blend and their high performance polyurethane both dry to a crystal clear finish. So, that might be another option.

From contributor M:
Because they are two completely different woods, their color and their markings are completely different. The chances are, one of the woods will need to be slightly shaded with a few passes of a dye to get a match. Water clear coating alone will not match these two woods. You could make up a sample of the WC coating alone, and show it to your customer and see if she bites.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all of the responses. Some great information. I'll give them a try and see what she thinks is the best way to go. If none of them satisfy her, I'll tell her that it can't be done (at least by me). She only has 3 doors to do, so not worth it for me to spend a lot of time trying to please her.