Re-Toning to Mute a Too-Gold Finish

Successive light toner coats tinted blue should gradually push this finish toward brown. January 27, 2007

The finish in this picture is too gold/orange, and I'd like to mute it. Do you think I could add some black, blue or raw umber to my Van Dyke glaze and do it all in one more application? Which is best?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor T:
What I do with such problems is add some blue dye into the CV itself so it is tinted slightly and then recoat it. You're done. I always test it first - even if you take a scrap piece and stain/finish it so you have a piece you can play with and dial in how much blue (or green - blue and yellow combined) is needed to give you the result you want in a couple passes. Realize if you make too strong a mix, you can end up with lines, so toning is usually done gradiently. Better to be able to put 1-2 more coats on to get the color you want. I will usually put a final coat on (un-tinted) as protection, but you don't have to.

From contributor R:
Black or blue will neutralize orange, violet will neutralize yellow. Test on a sample piece first.

From contributor M:
Can you get a photo of the piece so we can make comparison? You may need to mix colors to get what you need. Whatever you try, do it on samples. If you screw it up, you're going to have to strip it and start over.

From the original questioner:
It's a whole set of cabinets, still all in pieces. I do my face frames separate. Thanks for the help.

From contributor O:
Mix some Van Dyke Brown dye stain in your coating and apply another coat.

From contributor A:
I think that when you're trying to neutralize a color or color cast, it's usually best to use the pure color to neutralize it rather than using, in this case, a brown. Try some weak blue toner (dye stain) on a sample. Since toners are usually made up using a thinned finish (50% finish + 50% thinner), it's a good idea to apply a full clear coat on top.

From the original questioner:
If I do make a toner out of the CV, can I spray it thinned 50/50? Would that hurt the integrity of the product? I have a Kremlin. What tip should I use to spray a toner that's thinned?

From contributor O:
A 50-50 mix might be too "hot." Test it out on one of your samples first. Careful of your mil thickness as you progress - you don't want to end up stripping the whole job. If the 50-50 mix ends up being too "hot," just add some Van-Dyke dye stain to a regular mix.

From the original questioner:
What do you mean by too hot?

From contributor O:
In this case it would mean too much solvent versus product. The solvents themselves are rather aggressive, but to add 50% of raw solvent and CV mix to a somewhat cured finish just might lift that somewhat cured coat. I suggested trying some dye stain in a normal mixed coating. I also urged you to try this on a sample first. That said, use whatever mixture you did for your topcoat, and just add some dye stain to it.