Color finish differs between cans - What to do?

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Forum topic by GAF posted 06-26-2012 10:01 PM 1415 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GAF's profile


2 posts in 2669 days

06-26-2012 10:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing question

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post, on my first “real” piece of furniture (sort of). I’m building a TV console with the old growth redwood taken from my 50 year old deck. I know, redwood is not a “furniture” wood, but this stuff is the tightest grain old growth stuff I’ve ever seen. It’d be a shame to haul it to the dump.

So in keeping with the “old” theme, I pulled a can of Watco Danish Oil (cherry) off the shelf where its been sitting for 19 years. Shook it up and began applying to the carcase and field panels. The stuff looks gorgeous and I ran out before finishing the top and door stiles/rails. So I got a new can …. and it isn’t even close to the same color!

How the heck do I make it look more “red”? Here’s a link to some of the pictures to show what I’m talking about.

The new can application looks almost a “honey” color when compared to the old can.
The solvent formulation definitely changed as they smell totally different. The old can has that hearty VOC laden aroma of carcinogenic vapors while the new can smells faintly of EPA regulations. I’m sure the pigment formulation also changed.

Thanks in advance for any input.


6 replies so far

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3488 days

#1 posted 06-26-2012 10:38 PM

You might try mixing some mahogany stain in with the new. Go slow, mix in small amounts, and try on sample boards. Good luck

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2687 days

#2 posted 06-27-2012 01:06 AM

If mahogany doesn’t work, could try red oak stain too.

as levan said though, mix small amounts and try on samples

-- Ben from IL

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 3405 days

#3 posted 06-30-2012 01:40 PM

I have a local family owned paint store where I can take in items and have their paint guy give me some ideas of matching wood stains. They are aware of the different colors companies sell and often have a better idea of what might match than I do. Just another idea.


-- - Helping other woodworker's

View Hacksaw007's profile


619 posts in 3698 days

#4 posted 06-30-2012 02:00 PM

Well, sounds like you learned a very needed lesson on finish. Never start a project to finish with less that enough finish to use to complete it. Even finish between new cans can vary, much less than one that old. In the future a niffty trick is to open up all cans, mix them all together and put them back into the cans you started with. That way all the finish is equal. Now with your problem, you will have to do test panels to see if you can get close by mixing your main color with others to match. That isn’t to mention the metamerism aspect. This will be a learning event for you! Good luck.


-- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

View GAF's profile


2 posts in 2669 days

#5 posted 06-30-2012 08:23 PM

Thank you all for your replies, yes I should have known better, as a matter of fact whenever painting cars or rooms I mix all the paint together to ensure no surprises and a consistent color. My impatience got the better of me and I started with the Danish Oil to “get an idea” of what it would look like and then just couldn’t stop.

I’ve tried adding Minwax Mahogany and Red Oak as suggested to try and get that “red” look but with limited success. I think next I’ll get a pint of Danish Oil Mahogany and see if that looks closer. Worst case I’ll have rails/stiles and the top a slightly different color cast in which case I’ll call it a “design feature” :)

View killerb's profile


150 posts in 2907 days

#6 posted 06-30-2012 11:52 PM

Get some artist oils or go to a good paint store. It may also have to do with the wood. Not every board always looks the same with stain or dye. You can mix other colors in but stay in the same stain group, Don’t mix minwax with watco, you can have issues with compatibility. bob

-- Bob

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