Recreating a pine patina

Mixing just the right color to match an old finish. October 2, 2001

I am trying to match that awful retro sixties pine patina. The customer is dead set on adding to the old instead of upgrading. I'm playing around with Minwax puritan pine and a small part of cherry and getting close, but not just right. I am finding it difficult to add 30 years to a new finish.

Forum Responses
From contributor D:
Are you washcoating first? Try that, then your wiping stain followed by a sealer coat and then a glaze. If you try to do that kind of finish schedule instead of a stain and topcoat all-in-one, I think that you will have greater control over the building of your color.

From the original questioner:
I am not sure what you mean by washcoating. The original finish was definitely sprayed. When I pulled a hinge off one of the doors, white wood was underneath. I guess they sprayed the hardware and all. The color was not a penetrating stain because the grain was not darkened, unlike the Minwax stain I am trying to use. The glaze sounds like the way to get to this color. Any recommendations of a kind to use?

From contributor D:
A washcoat is an application of finish or sealer that is only about 3% to 6% solids by volume. It's purpose is to *partially* size the wood, not completely seal it. A seal coat by contrast might be 12% solids or more, and its purpose is to size (seal up) the wood.

There are many good glazes available for you to use, but if you are doing cabinets, you should be working with a cabinet grade finish schedule, meaning some type of catalyzed coating. Catalyzed lacquers or conversion varnishes are durable coatings that will work well. Even some pre-catalyzed lacquers might be durable enough in a kitchen environment to be an acceptable coating.

The coating that you choose should have compatible sealers, stains and glazes. Here are some companies to consider: M. L. Campbell, Lilly/Guardsman, Akzo Nobel, Sherwin-Williams Sherwood series, Star, and so on.

When working with catalyzed coatings you have to concern yourself with the important issue of intercoat adhesion and the total thickness of your cured film (measured in mils).

Since I have no experience in waterborne coatings (Fuhr, Cash Coatings, Target Coatings, to name a few), I can't advice you on that route.

I'm betting that the finish was done by a house painter and the stain was a lacquer stain sprayed on with an airless sprayer at low pressure. A lot of cabinets in tract homes in California are done this way still.

I remember doing tons of this color. It sounds like you have it close with the Minwax stains, as long they do not pop too much grain.

To pull the color in, you will have to shade with tinted topcoats to get the amber that happens with time. Just add some yellow and orange and maybe a very little red or black, to brown out the yellow a little, to some thinned out topcoat and shade it in. Use dyes as your colorant to do this. Play around on samples first. If you use red or black, you'll only need a drop.

Bob Niemeyer, forum technical advisor

From the original questioner:
We will be finishing topcoat tomorrow. One part colonial maple, two parts puritan pine, a touch of red mahogany, a hint of special walnut and a cherry on top, then I am out of stain in the shop. Just kidding--though we did nail the color up to the shade needed to get the right amount of age. The Minwax did an excellent job of not raising the grain.

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

Comment from contributor W:
I've done this match before on old pine. First, stain with 50/50 mix of Minwax golden oak and provincial. Seal with sanding sealer, then glaze with one part Van Dyke brown and 3 parts burnt umber. Seal to see your color and you may want to shade in to match before topcoat.