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Old 04-13-2019, 11:43 AM   #1
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Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


So i was planning on staining my unfinished kitchen cabinets this weekend, so I made a bunch of sample Maple boards with either 1/2pt minwax stains or the varathane ketchup packet style samples.

I picked a varathane sample that I liked, bought the color in gallon form, and applied it to the first 3 cabinets..... and it is nothing like my sample.... its much more orangish-red instead of a reddish-brown

Other than coming in packet form, the only thing I can think of that was different was I didn't have Varathane's wood preconditioner so I had used Minwax when I made the samples - but when I did the 3 cabinets I used Varathane's.

I don't think there is anything I can do to fix it - if I were to switch colors I'd have to do my entire kitchen "wrong" to put a different color on top, otherwise it would look inconsistent, or I could toss the 3 cabinets and order new ones to replace them.

At this point i'm in a bit of paralysis, the worry being even if I changed stains, and purchased 3 new cabinets, I don't know if I can trust any of my 10 color samples I made.

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:52 AM   #2
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


in the future: after you buy a gallon of anything,
especially from a Box Store, test that product to see
what results you will get.
as you painfully discovered, samples can vary greatly
from the custom mixed final product.

.

.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:07 PM   #3
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


Hard way to learn about test patches. I would continue thru the rest of the cabinets. And then work on a method to stain over to get closer to the desired shade. Red to brown should be achievable with a darker brown? Maybe.


Use test boards of same wood type and finish that has the same coating you just applied. Dry time and light sanding should all be identical.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:47 PM   #4
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


Probably has little if anything to do towards solving the problem, but always make sure the stain is well and frequently stirred.
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:09 PM   #5
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yodaman View Post
Hard way to learn about test patches. I would continue thru the rest of the cabinets. And then work on a method to stain over to get closer to the desired shade. Red to brown should be achievable with a darker brown? Maybe.


Use test boards of same wood type and finish that has the same coating you just applied. Dry time and light sanding should all be identical.
I had used the same woord, bought hard maple for the sample boards, seems like a waste of $40 since it didn't match in the end anyways.

Would you find a solution first, or continue on thru like you suggested with the rest of all the other 16 cabinets with no idea how you were going to finish? How much darker of a brown do you think I should try?
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:11 PM   #6
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZEW496 View Post
Probably has little if anything to do towards solving the problem, but always make sure the stain is well and frequently stirred.
I hope it wasn't a stirring problem.... I had thought I did a good job with that
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:58 PM   #7
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


If you continue on with what you got everything should be uniform. If you switch stains and get it right, what you have already done will need to either be stripped and restained or altered. You'll need to figure out what will work best for you.
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:17 PM   #8
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


posted on a woodworking forum just an hour ago,
a member sprayed semi-gloss urethane and was not
happy with the "gloss" finish. . . . . .
someone asked how well he stirred the product.
he replied (in all seriousness) "I'm supposed to stir it" ???

.

.
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:29 PM   #9
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


:facepalm:
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:41 PM   #10
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


I suspect that many people do this but when I do a stain project like this I buy multiple cans of stain in the pint or quart containers of similar colors to the one I want and carefully, carefully open each one, then test on scraps of wood left over from whatever project I'm working on, and the colors I don't like all get carefully sealed up again and returned to the store. The store doesn't care as long as the cans look unused and sealed and if you are careful and don't make a mess or beat the tar out of the can lid when opening or closing it, they look perfect. And needless to say the minute amount of stain for the test isn't going to be missed by whoever ultimately ends up with the can.

In fact based on the levels of stain in the cans I'm absolutely positive that some of the cans I've ended up using had passed through multiple people before me.

As for fixing it, even if you strip it you will NEVER get it to look exactly like the rest of the cabinets. My advice is stain the rest of the cabinets with what you bought and decide what needs to be adjusted. While it's hard to get an orange tint to go away, you can probably buy a brown stain and stain over the orangey stain and it will look a lot less orangy and more browny. Also, another way to "fix" it is to use white for the painted surfaces that goes with any stained wood color. Lastly, nobody knows what your desired color is other than you, nobody is going to be bothered that it didn't come out the way you wanted than you. Quit being a prima donna it's going to look beautiful when your done.

And also keep in mind that colors do change and fade over time. I just did some work on some wooden banisters I have and I color matched the section I added perfectly with my trick - but I have the original can of stain that was used ten years ago on the banisters and not only is it not the same manufacturer but it's a radically different color. Needless to say even though I brought one of the banisters to the store and carefully matched it against the color chips when buying the cans of stain, the actual tests looked nothing like the color chips.

This is why, by the way, that stained wood is somewhat out of fashion. You never know what you are going to end up with and builders and fashion designers hate that. When doing stained cabinets or furniture mixed with painted drywall, you do the painting AFTER all the staining is complete and you choose the color of the paint based on what the wood comes out looking like, not the other way around. Builders hate that because they want to preorder all the paint colors on a giant pallet to save money. So rather than be honest and tell people that painted cabinets are the "in" thing because it enhances their pocketbook because they can use garbage-grade materials and cover it up with paint, they manufacture some baloney about wood looking "dated" and way too many people swallow it.

Trust me on this - anyone who walks into your kitchen who really understands interiors will be far far more impressed by the fact your cabinets are stained wood than by some silly color "'palet" You can't hide cheap Chinese MDF under stain.
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:15 PM   #11
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


Getting the desired stain colour has always been a bit of a challenge for me (one of many). The only thing I find is I don't seem to get a good sense of the colour on a small sample. I just made some bookcases and when I was cleaning up the shop I compared the finished product with the scrap board with the small sample patch they didn't look the same. Visual saturation or something like that I suppose.
As others have mentioned, the wood, surface prep, conditioner, etc. has to be exact (even to the point of the same species of maple). You should be able to get close to you want with a second coat of a different colour but you might want to experiment on another board - you don't get too many chances.
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:20 AM   #12
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


minwax. Varathane. Nuff said.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:59 AM   #13
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Re: Stain color didn't match original samples, suggestions?


Have you tried sanding down the three cabinets that you stained?

Take off a door take it outside - and with a sander sand the Ďinsideí of the
door first to see if you can remove the stain. Stain is not easy to remove,
you do have to go through the grits, first course grain, then medium, then fine.

We once removed all the stain off the tv unit that we made cause I didnít like the color.
All the stain came completely off, then we restrained it.
We have had great luck using minwax stains. First we stained a couple
of doors on the inside to make sure that it was the color we wanted as itís
hard to judge the color on a small sample.

We did our DIY kitchen cabinets with a mix of mineax English chestnut and
(I think) pecan. It came out like I wanted it - a reddish brown. First we used
Boiled Linseed Oil...waited three days for it to dry, then stained the cabinets
with the minwax stain.

Note, if you manage to successfully remove the stain, first re-stain the inside
of the cabinet door to see if you like it before staining the outside. Then stain
the inside of a door that you didnít stain yet and see if it matches.
You may have to give all the door a light sanding with the fine sandpaper
to assure that all the cabinets take the stain the same.

Do you have a pic of what youíve done so far? You need to have patience,
you are going to be living with these cabinets a long time and you want
to really like them. So donít worry about getting them done fast.
Good luck.
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