how to choose wood stain

Still making slow progress on our kitchen remodel. We've decided we'd like to have the baseboard and door trim look close to the color of the cabinets we've ordered. Thought to call the cabinet company to ask for a recommendation - they offer their own stain in quarts that will match as close as possible given the cabinets are maple and the trims would be pine. Sounds great, but the stain is $35 for a quart, about 4 times the cost of those I passed in the paint aisle in the store. Is it worth it to purchase from the cabinet manuf. or is there some way to get a close match buying stain off the shelf, without buying many cans as test runs? The cabinets are maple, and the stain is called Spice. It looks like the color of honey to me, although they have a honey stain that looks more like natural wood to me. If I do go with the manufacturer's stain, how close would the color match be between maple and pine? Thanks for any advice.
Melissa
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On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 19:35:37 GMT, Melissa

If you take a cabinet door or other representative stained part to a paint store they can match the color. Take samples of the pine trim, too. A good store will show you various results, dried, and let you pick which you like best.
Note that the cabinets have a finish over the stain which changes the appearance. For a quick approximation of this on your pine samples, wipe with water or mineral spirits; or to be nearly certain apply shellac, lacquer, or varnish and let dry.
If you read up on staining you'll also find the finish changes with application technique, e.g., thinning or not thinning the stain, how much it's thinned, how long stain sits before wiping, so you need to factor technique into your comparisons.
Is the off-the-shelf stain price for pre-mixed or custom? It's doubtfull you'll find an exact match in pre-mixed, though it may be close enough - only way to tell is to buy some and try it. Around these parts custom costs more and stores will only do gallons.
I don't know how much trim you have to do, but stain goes a long way, so the cabinet maker's $35-a-quart stain may not be a bad deal, depending on how you want to spend your time.
Just being persnickety here, but pine will never look like maple or maple like pine unless they have an opaque or nearly opaque finish applied -:).
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Luke
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NO.
or is there some way to get a

And they can tint it as well.

Soft woods will take stain faster than harder woods. Sometimes too fast. not giving enough time prior to wiping. There are stain controllers that partially seal these soft woods prior to stain app. giving you more time to work with them. A asset sometimes to the DIY'er
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wrote:
[snip]

I'm glad you don't, too.
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I'd buy it. Sure you are getting screwed at that price. Look at the alternatives. You buy three or four cans and find they are close, but not quite. You already spent $40, drove 75 miles to different stores, and spent two hours trying stains and it still does not match quite right.
So, in the scheme of a $20,000 or more kitchen remodel, what is the extra $25 to have what you really want?
Keep in mind, or course, you are staining a different wood than the cabinet manufacturer and still may get some different results. Experiment a bit. If the trim and doors are pine, brush on some mineral spirits first to avoid splotchiness. Or put on a spit coat of shellac for the same thing.
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wrote:

I don't understand this. Paint stores custom tint stains all the time. Been there myself. It took him less than twenty minutes.
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Some do, some don't, some are good, some are not so good. . You take a chance. Different woods give different results also. Again, in the scheme of things on a major kitchen remodel, $40 to get the EXACT stain is not such a bad thing.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Of course, as someone else noted, a hand applied coat of the same stain on a different wood isn't necessarily going to match or even come real close depending on the actual finish process being used by the manufacturer...
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close depending on the actual finish process being used by the manufacturer... <
That's why I'd go to the paint store and get a match. Nothing is ever going to match the cabinets exactly, so get it close.
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Melissa wrote:

Whatever you do, practice <first> to get the desired color and depth before you start on the "real thing" (or you're likely to be stripping or painting)... :)
As others noted, pine won't match maple when stained well owing to the completely different textures between the two despite perhaps a similar color initially.
Also, someone else mentioned a pre-coat w/ the idea of longer working/wiping time...right idea but real reason is to prevent/minimize the "blotchiness" that is so common w/ pine. I would recomend just buying a pre-mixed "sanding sealer" as the easiest solution for a DIY'er. Also, you'll need to sand the moulding evenly to get an even coloration--some experimentation here will be a good investment as well as how much you need to sand will depend in large part on the quality of the milling of the material--if there are noticeable mill marks (little ripples), for example, you'll need quite a bit of sanding to remove them to prevent them from showing excessively.
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Be careful. The cabinets may very well have been more than just stained - glazed and toned. You could actually use the same stain yourself on maple and it still wouldn't perfectly match.
Good Luck.

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Melissa wrote:

You are using the hardest and the softest woods, so the amount of stain they absorb is likely to be very different. If you can purchase matching molding from the cabinet co., that would be the way to go. Next best option is to use their stain and plan not to use the pine right up against the cabinets. $35 out of the budget for a kitchen remodel is a drop in the bucket, and a quart goes a long way. Contact the cabinet company and find out best prep for staining your pine, as it will likely need a sealer. You may also (or) need to dilute the stain used on the pine.
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Thanks everyone! Both the point about the cost in the grand scheme, and the possibility of the cabinet company also selling base moulding and door trim had not occured to me. The stain is not listed in their catalog or website, so possibly they do have the wood trims as well and didn't list them, though I shudder what the cost might be for that. I haven't looked beyond the big box stores, I wonder if there is someplace to buy maple trim pieces, maybe that would solve the problem of the different wood taking stain differently. I'd forgotten unless suggested here that the trim wood usually isn't very pretty. We stained some base for a bathroom in a golden oak, and one half looks very dark, the other considerably lighter, and the demarkation line is where two pieces of wood were clearly joined together to make one piece of base molding. There is a sort of dovetail look to it, and to save on pine base moulding would probably result in the same thing. We've got a bit of time to decide on this, so I really appreciate all the varying viewpoints!
Melissa
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On Wed, 03 Aug 2005 01:01:20 GMT, Melissa

I think what you bought was fingerjoint moulding. That's fine painted, but if staining and clear coating you want to get solid. Ask at a lumber yard, not the Despot or other borg.
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Local hardwood store has a BIG variety of molding in various woods. A cabinet shop might also be capable of making some. Yellow pages.
On Wed, 03 Aug 2005 01:01:20 GMT, Melissa

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