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Help me get the desired look with stain

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Forum topic by pdxrealtor posted 01-19-2015 03:45 PM 3162 views 1 time favorited 73 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pdxrealtor

104 posts in 687 days


01-19-2015 03:45 PM

Hi All-

I’m trying to get a certain look on my mill work/interior door project. Color a side, I like the look of the cabinet doors vs. the piece of base board I’m holding.

The base board looks blotchy and shows too much grain for my liking.

Is this an application or wood choice? How would I go about getting the look of the cabinets?


73 replies so far

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pjones46

986 posts in 2106 days


#1 posted 01-19-2015 10:03 PM

It is a combination of wood choice and finishing technique. The molding at the bottom appears to be pine which is a soft wood and is inherently blotchy wood due to the grain structure. The cabinet doors appear to be a hardwood, I really can’t tell the species from the photos (could be cherry). The cabinet doors more than likely have been finished with a Lacquer using toners and shaders which are tinted Lacquer overcoats to create the coloring.

You will never match it perfectly but can come close, however, I would suggest that you wash coat the pine as first step with diluted dewaxed shellac or blotch control which you can make yourself or buy which will reduce the blotching.

If you have spray equipment you can then tint Lacquer to an approximate color, then using toner coats and shadeing coats, apply coat after coat till you come close to the end result. It will be experimentation on scrap first.

If you are doing this using a hand method, I would try a Gel Stain, which is then over coat with an appropriate finish such as a Gel varnish.

This going to take some work and experimentation so get plenty of scrap for testing, and make sure you write down the fininshing process that you used for each and then pick the closest one.

I’m sure others will respond with other suggestions.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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pdxrealtor

104 posts in 687 days


#2 posted 01-19-2015 10:24 PM

Thanks for your reply!

The bottom (baseboard) is hemlock, which I think is a soft wood also. I have no clue what the cabinets are because they were just pulled off the net.

I am certainly open to changing wood selection, assuming it is not cost prohibitive. Doing the house in cherry or maple, for example, is out of the question. :)

It was suggested to me Alder would be a better choice as it accepts stain better.

I’m happy with the color, just not the look if that makes any sense.

Would it make sense to try a couple different types of wood using the same technique?

I don’t have a sprayer, or the space. But can get both with a little enthusiasm. Part of my reason for a wipe on was I’m doing one room at a time so loading up a sprayer to do a few feet of wood work and a door or two seems like a waste. Plus I would think it’s harder to get matching results using a spraying vs. a well noted wipe method.

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pjones46

986 posts in 2106 days


#3 posted 01-19-2015 10:41 PM

Alder is in the same family as Birch. Dependant on cost, I would try a few different species to include Alder. Red Birch, Cherry, Gum Wood, and Poplar.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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ric53

147 posts in 982 days


#4 posted 01-19-2015 10:50 PM

The cabinet doors are probably maple or birch. I’d take the door and the wood of your choice to your local Sherwin Williams paint store and have the match it. Make sure that the test piece is sanded and ready for stain. This will help get a good match.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

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pintodeluxe

4854 posts in 2276 days


#5 posted 01-19-2015 10:57 PM

Two choices to achieve that look. First is to use a pre-stain conditioner like diluted shellac. Then you can stain without blotching. A pre-stain conditioner can be made by mixing 3 parts denatured alcohol to 2 parts Bullseye Sealcoat dewaxed shellac.

The second choice is more difficult… tinting your topcoat. You need spray equipment, and it is difficult to keep the color uniform. I avoid tinting when I can, and reserve that technique for matching a preexisting color.

I would try the pre-stain conditioner on a bunch of sample boards, and experiment with several stains.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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pdxrealtor

104 posts in 687 days


#6 posted 01-19-2015 11:09 PM

Thanks guys…. I guess I should have noted that I have no need to match the color of the cabinets in my first post. I was just using those as an example of the type of finish I’m after. I have a nice wood mirror frame with the same type of finish, and I just installed a new front door ( seen here http://www.homedepot.com/p/Steves-Sons-Craftsman-9-Lite-Stained-Mahogany-Wood-Entry-Door-M3109-6-CT-MJ-4RH/204747310?cm_mmc=Shopping|Base&gclid=CPii18qVocMCFRSFfgodXFIA4A&gclsrc=aw.ds ) that has the same type of finish.

The best way I can describe it is I’m after a stained wood finish without the rustic look.

I’m going to head to the big box store now and see what I can pick up for, as you all suggested, test staining. I will also grab the shellac and denatured alcohol to play with too.

This is fun!! Right now…... lol… Thanks again. Any other suggestions don’t hesitate to throw them out there!

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pdxrealtor

104 posts in 687 days


#7 posted 01-19-2015 11:12 PM

By the way….. I’m using the min-wax poly shades Bombay mahogany. Not for the two in one step, but for the color. I still plan to spray a coat or two of poly on top.

Does the choice of stain have any affect on the diluted shellac pre-stain treatment method?

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7172 posts in 2040 days


#8 posted 01-19-2015 11:18 PM

There should be color coded samples at the store, just take the cabinet door

you like and match it up with said sample and it’d be a close match.

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pdxrealtor

104 posts in 687 days


#9 posted 01-19-2015 11:23 PM

No no no…. :)

I’m not after the color. I’m after the look.

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JayT

4777 posts in 1674 days


#10 posted 01-19-2015 11:34 PM

It’s going to be tough to get the same look.

Cabinet companies invest a lot in being able to keep colors consistent and even. That starts with bleaching the wood to remove almost all natural color, then finish with a combination of dyes, stains, lacquer (tinted or not), glazes, etc. based on very specific formulas and extensive testing. Hard to match that.

Suggestions would include, use single boards or ones from the same tree as much as possible to keep coloring consistent. Use dyes instead of stains, if you can. These will give a much more even color. For staining, definitely use a sealcoat of some kind and test quite a bit before finishing your project. Finally, get rid of the Polyshades. That Bombay Mahogany color is very nice and I’ve used it before, but it is nearly impossible to get a good even tone because of how it is building a film as it colors.

Good luck.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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pjones46

986 posts in 2106 days


#11 posted 01-19-2015 11:36 PM


You will never match it perfectly but can come close, however, I would suggest that you wash coat the pine as first step with diluted dewaxed shellac or blotch control which you can make yourself or buy which will reduce the blotching.

If you are doing this using a hand method, I would try a Gel Stain, which is then over coat with an appropriate finish such as a Gel varnish.

This going to take some work and experimentation so get plenty of scrap for testing, and make sure you write down the fininshing process that you used for each and then pick the closest one.

I m sure others will respond with other suggestions.

- pjones46


Follow the above on the new wood samples that you get. Even try the polyshade product if you like the color. It is quite apparent people who respond do not fully read your information. Make sure you get Bullseye Sealcoat dewaxed shellac not just shellac.

You can use anything you want over the wash coat. I would suggest you do some reading HERE and HERE. Again, you can use what you have over the wash coat. I realize it is the finish not the color in the original picture of the doors.

Once you use the seal-coat, let it dry sand lightly with 220-380 paper, remove dust with Vac andtack rag. Overcoat withyou poly shades following their directions and see what happens.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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pdxrealtor

104 posts in 687 days


#12 posted 01-20-2015 07:37 PM

^^ Thx PJ.

I wasn’t notified of your post until I logged on just now to give an update, so I didn’t use the poly-shades. I suppose I can give it a shot, I have plenty of scrap stock to play with.

I bought red mahogany straight oil based stain. I could not find the de-waxed shellac at home depot, but they did have the minwax pre-stain conditioner so I got it. Is there a big difference between the two???

I had to rule out (if I want the trim to match the doors which IS the goal) some wood types. From what I could find, birch and poplar interior doors don’t exist, and anything besides hemlock is expensive.

For example clear alder doors are ~ 800/each. This house just won’t support that kind of money for doors. I’ll never get my money out of it.

Out of curiosity I grabbed a piece of clear alder and so far I really like the look, but again, it’s not an option due to price.

Here’s a picture of pre-stain treatment (left) vs. no prestain treatment (right). Very obviously an important step, and a huge improvement. (Thanks!!)

I first sanded lightly with 180, wiped with clean rag, applied pre-stain conditioner, let sit for 5 minutes, wiped with clean rag, apply stain, let sit 5 minutes, wipe stain with clean rag.

The top piece is alder, the rest is hemlock. Bottom piece is the picture from post one, poly shades.

After seeing the second from the top compared with the two below it I came to the conclusion I need to be selective in choosing my pieces since I prefer the smooth look vs. the heavy grain look. This could be a problem with doors but what else can I do??

Anyways…. I went back and got a nice smooth 8ft 1x piece. I currently have four I’m working on. Each one will get a coat from one to four, then two coats of poly.

If I were to invest in a sprayer, what would be the best TYPE of sprayer? Air, HVLP, or??

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pjones46

986 posts in 2106 days


#13 posted 01-20-2015 10:08 PM

The minwax pre-stain conditioner is a johnny-come -late which I do not use, however others say it is OK, and if you want try something else you can make your own prestain conditioner out of Gorilla white wood glue which has been used for years with good results and allot cheaper. Read my blog entry concerning wash coats and at the end it expalins the Glue size/prestain conditioner. Also try letting first coat of the conditioner dry then sand back lightly, then apply the second coat when dry sand back lightly and then apply your stain. You might want to look at my blog article on prep sanding before applying the conditioner.

There should be someone local to you that will run off poplar trim or even stock it. The same companies who make the pine molding usually off other woods. You might even google for wood mouldings in your area.

As I have a more of a pro shop I use HVLP much like auto body shops use. You might look into the HVLP units like Earlex turbine driven or others like it. There are so many in all price ranges but whichever one, you must be able to get service and accessories like tiips etc and also have it match with what your intent of usage. I do not have one because I do more production work so I bow to others that know more.

It is all a matter of taste. You might also check with your local vocational school as they may have a finishing progam or an auto body program which could do some of the spray work for you at a reasonable price.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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pdxrealtor

104 posts in 687 days


#14 posted 01-21-2015 04:17 AM

Good article on the wash coats. I wonder if I use what I have of the minwax, then switch to the glue type, if I will see a problematic difference. I suppose I could answer that question by making some and using up more scrap! :)

I’m headed to read the prep sanding in a few.

The problem with poplar is not the trim, it’s the doors/jams. I could buy the poplar boards and rip and route them as needed, but from the few I’ve asked…... poplar interior doors don’t exist.

I know pine doors exist but if I have to go with such a similar to hemlock wood as pine I might as well go to a knotty alder (assuming the knotty alder is far cheaper than the clear?).

I went into a Sherman Williams today while killing some time. They told me how great their stain is compared to Minwax (which I guess is made by Sherman WIlliams), and then told me they’ve never heard of spraying stain. They told me everyone wipes it, even on large interior doors. Is that true? I’m thinking it’s not because my contractor friend, who just built a two million dollar home, suggested I spray it. His cabinet guy sprays all his cabinets. They sprayed the cabinets in our house too. It seemed kind of odd to hear don’t spray it. In fact the guys suggested that IF I do spray it to use a pump type sprayer.

They also told me that to spray the clear coat I’d need to use lacquer, and that if I’d never sprayed lacquer before forget about spraying it unless I want my wood to look bad. They said spraying poly was not possible, yet I’m standing in front of a can of spray on minwax.

I know I’m getting a little a head of myself, but what is it? Can I spray poly or not?

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 949 days


#15 posted 01-21-2015 04:31 AM

I usually see the kind of results you are looking for with dyes. Not stains.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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