matching wood stains.

22 Jan 2005
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United Kingdom

i have recently stripped the stairs of 200 layers of paint and would like to finish the project by giving a nice wood finish. My problem is that I would like to match the stairs with the colour of the doors. The doors have been completely stripped and finished with a shellac sealant and clear wax. The doors, I think, were are made from scandinavian Redwood (I could be wrong!), the stairs are pine. I have tried all sorts of sample pot dyes to match the colour but none appear to match. (Teaks, Med Oaks, antique pines etc). I wish the colours shown on the pots match the colour on application!

Other than painting the stairs; does anyone know of a technique, or even a readily available dye/stain that can help me achieve the door colour.

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I sometimes have to make matches by mixing 2 or 3 stains together. I nearly always use cellulose stains, and if it needs to be a pale colour like this you need to start with cellulose thinners and add a bit of stain at a time to the thinners. I buy a stain called Stripped Pine from Sonneborn & Riecke and thin this down by about 70% and this gives quite a natural look, but colour matching usually seems to come down to trial and error. Good luck.
If you're trying to match a colour which is effectively the colour of the wood ie the doors, you will struggle using the standard sort of stain to be had from the likes of B&Q which is usually oil based ie colron. Oil stains give a very vivid colour which often looks artificial. A potential problem with spirit stains unless you buy a light fast one is one of fading. The best stain to use to give a "soft" sort of colour is a water stain but these sort of products are difficult to get hold of from normal retail outlets. As a quick and easy fix you might try thinning some of the oil based stains (colron etc) with 50% or more white spirit which will give you a more subtle shade. Try it out in different strengths and see how you get on.
I had mixed a couple of the purchased stains together but still didn't get a match, haven't tried the watering down technique yet, so that can be todays job.

Thanks for the tips
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Always a very difficult job todo. The stains are transluscent ie they allow the base colour of the wood to show through. This means matching two different types and thus colours of wood extremely difficult. Personally I would use grained paint effect to match the stairs to the doors, but thats kind of difficult too!

My advice is to apply a number of diluted layers of stain - knock it back by up to 90% with the clear version of the product - as it is impossible to make it lighter once it has been applied. The premixed colours are always too strong.

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