Match existing maple kitchen cabinets

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Forum topic by danoaz posted 04-15-2013 04:51 PM 4783 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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223 posts in 2772 days

04-15-2013 04:51 PM

I am a novice with a itch to try and do a kitchen cabinet that would not connect to existing but be in the kitchen and so I want it to come close to the existing. See attached photo. Many past owners have touched the kitchen with modifications so I have to believe that there is a way to come close to making the yellow maple, look without waiting for the sun to yellow it out over the years. I am not even sure that it wasn’t yellowed to begin with. Is it the varnish that is yellow? Or a stain? I have done some experiments with stains and dyes but I haven’t come close. Any help would be appreciated.

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

9 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2972 days

#1 posted 04-15-2013 04:59 PM

You might be able to get that look with just some golden oak danish oil and poly. I have a can of the golden oak danish oil that I’ve never found a good use for, because it’s too yellow/gold for my taste.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3571 days

#2 posted 04-15-2013 05:02 PM

Are they pale on the inside where they have had no exposure to sunlight?

View Marty5965's profile


161 posts in 2547 days

#3 posted 04-15-2013 05:04 PM

There is a product called reranch butterscotch that guitar makers use to “age” guitar necks. That might work for you.

-- Marty, Wilmington, OH, learning every day....

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223 posts in 2772 days

#4 posted 04-15-2013 05:08 PM

@renners – Some cabinets have melamine and some of the newer ones on the back of the doors show a slightly more natural unfinished maple. It is obvious that the drawers and doors have had some banding put on so that you don’t see the end grain or the plywood end grain. Another reason to get the color right. Thanks.

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4820 days

#5 posted 04-15-2013 05:08 PM

It’s really just a matter of exeprimentation. Try a stain that looks close on a sample of the wood you will be using, and go from there.

I have actually done the exact same thing matching my maple kitchen cabinets. I ended up using golden oak danish oil with a bit of walnut mixed in to get the right tone.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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5604 posts in 2953 days

#6 posted 04-15-2013 06:01 PM

You’re going to need to experiment on some scrap. One of the things I would try is and undercoat of amber shellac and a top coat of wiping varnish.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3379 days

#7 posted 04-15-2013 06:49 PM

Soft maple turns golden with regular oil based poly after 2-3 years. The maple in the box stores is kiln dried and can be brittle. If you can find air dried maple and let it sit for a couple of weeks in you shop, it will be easier to work. Choose your wood carefully and you won’t have a problem.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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13002 posts in 2982 days

#8 posted 04-15-2013 07:17 PM

A light coat of linseed oil will yellow maple naturally. It can take anywhere from days to weeks depending on sun exposure and the wood itself. I’d expect maple ply to yellow slower. Those look like local built (not factory) cabinets and were probably finished with oil based varnish.

Here are a couple maple projects finished with linseed oil, yellowing happened fairly rapidly.

First pic is in the shade, second in the sun. Picture was taken about one week after finishing.
Click for details

Picture taken about one day after finishing.
Click for details

-- Rick M,

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3571 days

#9 posted 04-16-2013 11:49 PM

With the back of the doors showing lighter than the fronts, I would guess they were finished with clear lacquer. A couple of weeks in the sun will give them a tan. I recently stacked a couple of pine cabinets on the bench under a fluorescent fitting with a shelf resting on top, there was a visible tan line where the shelf was after only a few days.

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