Replicating a Limed White Oak Finish

White glaze over red oak tends to accentuate the pink hues. So how can you achieve a more gray or blue hue in the final product? December 31, 2012

My goal is to finish white oak using the least number of steps and hopefully without bleaching. White glaze works well, but leaves the wood pink instead of blue/gray. Any suggestions from finishers who have completed similar work is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
White glaze over any oak; red or white will pull out the pink hues from the wood. To achieve this look you may need to use a multi-step finish by first using a grey/blue glaze or stain to tone the wood and then white wash to achieve the final look. Make plenty of samples to help narrow down the colors and final finish.

From contributor R:
Red oak will cast a pink shade to it when you apply a white stain/glaze/or filler to it. I never had an issue with white oak going over to a red color when applying a white color to it.

In the past Iíve done a stain, a sealer coat, a color mixed in Naptha, and then wiped it off with burlap when dried. Naptha dries pretty fast. If itís a large surface maybe use paint thinner once the surface is cleaned of color, proceed with finish schedule.

I usually use a white paste wood filler from Wood-Cote and tint it if needed, but if itís an open grain look youíre after and you just want to get a contrasting color into the pores. You could mix your color medium into either paint thinner or Naptha.

On a side note a book I have by George Frank shows some real interesting versions using colored dye stains (reds, greens, yellow, etc.) followed up with contrasting colors added to the grain. Pretty cool stuff for the 1920's. Oak dyed green with a yellow filler in the pores and oak dyed dark blue with a lighter colored blue in the pores. Quite creative I thought.

From the original questioner:
Contributor D mentioned the white glaze pulling out the pink hues from the wood, and I think that is the challenge. Contributor R, I like the idea of coloring the wood blue or green as a first step.

From contributor K:
We've been doing this with a grey breakaway glaze applied directly to the raw wood, scuffing, and then finishing. Sometimes we have to put a touch of it in a sealer coat as well to get the desired washout.

From contributor F:
Try making a bleaching toner. This is a small amount of green dye dispersed in a large amount of thinner (and possibly some Titanium White pigment if necessary to lighten the overall color). The goal here is not to turn the wood visibly green but to add just enough subtle green to it that it effectively kills the red. Then add a wash coat of finish followed by a heavy coat of light gray or off white glaze.