Matching Wood Stain & Finish (using a new generation of stains)

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Blog entry by WoodshopTherapy posted 07-28-2019 01:45 PM 760 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

I learned a lot from a professional finisher recently when he taught me how to match stains and finishes for this project. I had a customer bring me a broken part and wanted me to make a replacement to match. The woodworking was the easy part for me – the finish was the hard part.

My wood finisher has been in his field for decades and he didn’t want me to pursue finishing from the “old ways”, but taught me using the new generation of finishes using acrylics. This keeps the harmful and flammable chemicals out of the workshop while getting great results. Please share this video with others if you find it useful.

How to Match Stain and Wood Finish –

-- Scott Bennett - sharing woodworking knowledge

1 comment so far

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4701 posts in 1044 days

#1 posted 07-29-2019 05:44 AM

Where did you explain how you matched the stain? Did you just get lucky that you had the same brown as the original?

One of my areas of expertise is in matching stain colors and finish repair in general. I use two tools that are valuable for the task. The first is very simple. Take a sheet of heavy black construction paper and cut two holes a couple of inches apart. About 1” diameter is good. By setting the boards side by side you can place the paper across them, so one is visible through one hole and the other through the other hole. What this does for you is to neutralize the area around the stains and you can really see the differences.

The other is high tech. I use the Color Muse to sample colors. This is not for the novice. First, you need to be able to understand the results. A solid understanding of the Lab color space is needed for that. Second, you need a reference for baselining the readings. I use Mohawk products, and every fill type, every Blendal Powder has been sampled with the Color Muse and a database created. Basically everything I have that colors wood has been sampled and stored.

Given a sample of the wood to be matched, by using a method called Delta E, I can compare it to my database, and determine which color of any given product—be it a fill or a dye—most closely matches. Additionally, if none are close enough on their own, analyzing the Lab value differences can assist me in adjusting the color.

If you care to learn more, check out this blog post:

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

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