A Stain-Matching Example

Matching the color shown here could begin with an "equalizing stain." June 28, 2006

I am doing an office and am going to need to match the color below. I know it is hard to do from a picture, but Im wondering if anyone could give a stab at a possible finish schedule for this. The wood is knotty cherry and the finish is a 5% precat. It looks like a glaze will be involved and stain. Does it look like toner as well?

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Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
I would try a spray stain, sealer, glaze or possibly a tinted topcoat. Does your finish supplier offer matching services?

From contributor K:
I'd wager a bet that it's a mix of raw sienna and burnt umber and then a glaze to highlight the details.

From contributor D:
Here are some steps that might work for you.

Equalizing stain: raw sienna dye stain
Washcoat with 3% solids content by volume
Scuff 320
Wiping stain: burnt umber
Washcoat with 3% solids content by volume
Glaze with burnt umber darkened with black
Seal glaze
If you want to tone, do it with a burnt umber pigmented toner topcoat.

There are many ways to get this look. Some of them have more steps, some less. For example, if you want to do some strike-outs then you will probably need to also do the toner coat. Selectively removing stain/color on the cathedral grain patterns (strike-outs) adds "value" and depth to the look (so does glazing, definitely).

Every step you do is money lost unless you already have samples to show your customers. Price up-charges for the more involved samples (those which require more steps), and their understanding of the extra steps they are paying for to get the "better" more sophisticated looks.
This is the value of step boards - they become tools for you to do the work which lets you look your best and still make money at it.

From the original questioner:
To contributor D: When you say equalizing dye stain what exactly is the definition of an equalizing stain? Is it meaning a spray stain? Is its make up different than a wiping stain?

From contributor S:
I would go with a wiping stain first. A combination of colorants mentioned above sounds good. I see a little burnt sienna as well, and I would opt for a spray glaze. Becker and MLC have what I think will give you the ability to get a tone look as well. It looks distressed as I see worm-holing. After you distress and have your stain down I would seal and apply one topcoat and allow the recommended dry time. Then spray the glaze on and remove with Scotchbrite to desired affect. Tack off and apply the final coats.

From contributor D:
The equalizing stain is your first coat of stain. Its purpose is to establish your ground color or what you might think of as your background color. It also has the function of getting all the woods to be close in color, "equalizing" the big color variations. Woods like to be "on the same page" just as folks in a seminar do.

Read the following article on "Tinting Toners" (follow the link at the end of this post). If you use a dye toner as your equalizing stain (applied by spray) then you put it on so that it does not puddle. It is to go on and evaporate within a few seconds. While being transparent, applied in this manner the dye stain/toner still tends to even out the color. Notice that I said that it "tends" to even out the color. It doesn't make the color even the way a painted out stain would, but it "tends" to get everything within a better color standard so that you can then continue developing your color on top of that.

Tinting Toner Tips