matching a finish

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Forum topic by keithfm1 posted 06-09-2016 06:16 PM 587 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1630 days

06-09-2016 06:16 PM

Hi -

I don’t have a lot of experience with finishing, but I am trying to repair some lovely work my puppy did to a chair arm. I have 2 matching chairs, and one of them was gnawed on extensively. I’ve sanded it all down and am just trying to match the finish to what it was previously (and to the matching chair it sits beside).

In the image I’ve included, you will see the untouched chair arm on the right, and the sanded chair arm on the left (with a couple test patches). I tried one patch of a tung oil (on the top) and one of just a satin varnish with no stain (bottom). Neither one looks anything like the chair on the right, but they are both exactly the same wood. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can possibly go about achieving a match (without disassembling the undamaged chair and sanding and refinishing that one)? I’m not sure what type of wood it is either. Some type of New Zealand native hardwood perhaps. Thanks in advance!

3 replies so far

View Buckeyes85's profile


128 posts in 2602 days

#1 posted 06-11-2016 05:48 PM

Sometimes it is hard to tell with the computer screens but the one on the left almost looks darker even unfinished that the one on the left. the one on the right has a lot more golden brown in it whereas than the left one almost looks like purpleheart.

First, I would test on the underside of the arm. You might try some lemon yellow dye to warm it up a little and then go back with finish.

the easiest solution is to learn to live with things that don’t quite match. most wood things don’t match as well as you might think anyway and that variation is part of the beauty of wood…if you want everything to be a dead match, paint it. but even that doesn’t always look the same because of the way light hits it from different angles,

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1662 days

#2 posted 06-11-2016 06:09 PM

I just finished a small chair made from white oak. I used a Transtint dye in Golden Oak, and put Watco Danish Oil over it. The final result looked very similar to your original chair finish. It took me a while to try several blends (with water) until I got what I wanted (and what the wife wanted). I find that using the dye with water makes it pretty easy to sneak up on the shade you want. It helps to have a wide variety of the Transtint dyes.

View keithfm1's profile


2 posts in 1630 days

#3 posted 06-13-2016 09:46 PM

Thanks for the replies! I had a closer look at it, and not sure why I didn’t check the underside earlier, but the warmth seems to be coming from sun damage / fading. These chairs sit in direct sunlight so it looks like that’s had an effect. When I compare the patch using just satin varnish against the part of the chair leg that touches the floor (and hence gets no sun) it’s actually a pretty close match. I didn’t realize that kind of warmth can be introduced over time. Oh well, guess I will refinish the other chair too. Thanks for the advice!

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