Matching stain with 2 different woods

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Forum topic by drewdawg posted 07-07-2010 04:21 AM 10158 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2905 days

07-07-2010 04:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing birch poplar stain question tip

I have built a basic 32” cabinet using 3/4” birch plywood for the sides and poplar for the face frame. My challenge now is matching the color of the two pieces (which I am sure is a common issue and one that many of you have run into before!). I am trying to use Minwax Red Chestnut stain. I will be putting conditioner on the plywood, but how do I get the poplar to match?

Or is there a better way (i.e tung or danish oil, shellac) to stain and seal to get a close match for my finish?


-- ".......but if we built this large wooden badger......"

4 replies so far

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3089 days

#1 posted 08-15-2010 12:28 PM

I wouldn’t worry about putting conditioner on the plywood, but I would use it on the poplar. Poplar is notoriously prone to soaking stain unevenly and becoming blotchy, so the conditioner should help minimize this. If you do that, I don’t think the difference in tone will be noticeable. You may have to experiment a with how long you let the stain sit on the wood before you wipe it off, and how hard you rub, but I don’t think you will need to go beyond the basic steps to get a decent match.

-- PaulMayer,

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3917 days

#2 posted 08-15-2010 02:08 PM

I add some stain to my lacquer and then use a cupgun to TONE/SHADE it.

otherwise I get samples of both and then mix stains untilone matches the other.

Good Luck

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3687 days

#3 posted 08-15-2010 02:22 PM

I just finished a cupboard built with birch plywood and pine ( ).

Pine probably isn’t as blotchy as poplar, but we’re splitting hairs here. I used Charles Neil’s Blotch Control (water-based) on the whole project, a MinWax oil-based stain, and finished with MiniWax Polycrylic.

The color match between the birch ply and pine is just about perfect (or as close to perfect as anything that comes out of my shop).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View wisno's profile


88 posts in 3035 days

#4 posted 08-15-2010 11:33 PM

The easiest way to matching the wood color is by using a stain. Find a stain color that can bring your poplar color to match your with your birch wood.
After you get the overall uniform base color then you can start to apply the overall stain and coating.

Color matching in the wood finishing

Good luck



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