First attempt at color matching stain

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Project by sansoo22 posted 10-18-2020 06:05 PM 782 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My parents needed a new refrigerator and decided this time they wanted a nice one. Well their house was built in the 80s and the cabinet above the fridge was too tall to accept all the nice new fridges. They had called a few places to get a quote to have a custom cabinet built and all of those came in too high for them. I think the most reasonable quote was around $500 bucks. I’m sure for the professionals out there that do one off cabinets that is a reasonable price but with my dad semi retired they just couldnt swing the new appliance and a custom cabinet.

They aren’t the type to complain much so they decided to just paint that area to match the rest of the kitchen and do without. I decided that wouldn’t do for them so I took a crack at building the cabinet and doing the stain match myself. I was going to put doors on it but I don’t have the router bits for raised panel doors. My mom decided she would use it as a display cabinet since the cost of the bits was around 200 bucks.

The cabinet is just oak plywood with an oak face frame. My dad works at the local Home Depot and got all of the materials, plus enough for my air cleaner cart, at 80% off retail because it was returned. Any of the excess material he picked up was my payment for the cabinet. I didn’t want payment but he won’t take things for free so I didn’t argue.

Anyway to wrap this story up I mixed up a couple colors of Generals gel stain until I got a near perfect color match. I think it took me about 7 or 8 tries. I used Waterlox as my top coat because I needed something with an amber hue to it. I’m sure shellac would have also worked but I have almost zero experience with it.

Needless to say my folks are very happy with it. My mom was so happy she gathered up the tins and jars she wanted to display before I even had the fridge put back in place.

Edit: I should note we havent decided what to do about the top trim the existing cabinets have. That was put up in about 18 different pieces for some reason. Now that I can color match their cabinets I think I will be ordering some oak trim, staining it at my house, and hauling my miter saw and pin nailer out to install it.

5 comments so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8975 posts in 1952 days

#1 posted 10-18-2020 06:14 PM

you made one very GR8 match there looks professional GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Madmark2's profile


3093 posts in 1828 days

#2 posted 10-18-2020 06:40 PM

Looks like a match to me.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2841 posts in 787 days

#3 posted 10-18-2020 09:07 PM

You might notice a difference when there in person, but no one else ever will. Fantastic.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View TucsonTim's profile


88 posts in 1282 days

#4 posted 10-19-2020 11:49 AM

Attempting to color match is one of my LEAST favorite things in woodworking. I’m terrible at it. You did a nice job here. Congrats. Glad you were able to help out your folks…

-- Tim in Tucson

View Calmudgeon's profile


515 posts in 2667 days

#5 posted 10-23-2020 01:34 PM

Colour matching is often more art than science. Even if you know the stain used on the original cabinets, they will have changed colour over the years. You did an admirable job.

As for the price of a one-off custom cabinet, you only need to calculate your own hours and multiply by a wage for a skilled worker. Add in materials, and it doesn’t take long to come to $500.

I’m sure your parents are justifiably very appreciative.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

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