The only transparent finish I've ever used on pine is "natural" (Watco
Danish, then a couple coats of poly)
Now I have a lady customer who wants a large bookcase in pine and she says
she wants a "pecan" colored finish.
She has some shelves that someone did a long time ago and she insists they
used a "pecan" stain of some sort.
What's the best way to go with this?
I've used Minwax Pecan stain with good results. The other piece has
probably darkened with age so you won't get a perfect match. Show her the
can of pecan stain and she is more likely to accept whatever it looks like.
The can says pecan so it must be the right stuff.
The best way is take a piece from the existing shelves along with a
sample of the new pine to your paint store and ask them to match the color.
We happen to like (and use) Benjamin Moore products. The downside to that
approach is that Southwestern Paint here in Houston only matches stain at
their West Gray location and when matching will only do a gallon minimum and
that was $36 and tax.
I would have to take a whole shelf but that's not impossible.
I have enough profit in the job to be *somewhat* unconcerned about material
Finding a place to do the matching is what will be a challenge.
No matter what you do, unless you either give her a sample/s first for
approval, or get a piece of her material, IME it will not be good enough for
her; it won't match because you'll have no idea how dark or anything else.
I had a customer who would approve of a finish and change her story
afterwards. So I insisted she sign a document. She would still object, but
she still signed. And bitched and moaned anyway. It was a family thing that
I couldn't get out of.
After years of not having to deal with this crap, I was suddenly placed into
the position of dealing with this monster person all over again. I did two
I charged, in advance, for finish and samples. After much complaining she
paid. I prepared the boards with the various finishes and presented them to
Then I told her that she would have to sign the back of the board with the
finish she selected. She refused and I never had to work for the witch
Not that I am complaining or anything.
One caution if you have the time. The Minwax pre-stain seems to
indicate on the label that you can wash it on, wipe it off an
immediately apply the stain. This is an OK way to work but I tested
this directly along with other methods and found that the Minwax pre-
stain was as good as any other material but gave much better results
if you let it dry completly (12-24 hrs) before applying the stain.
1. Make sure to use a pre-stain conditioner, sanding sealer or wash
coat of shellac before applying stain to Pine, otherwise you will get
big time blotchy.
2. Use Minwax Pecan oil stain.
3. It will be important to do a top coat of some sort to get the same
luster to the finish if she really wants a match.
4. If the finish is a low sheen, AND if the Minwax Pecan comes in
their Gel variety, you might get lucky and be able to use the Gel with
no top coat.
5. The only way to be sure the client is happy (or at least to force
them to take the piece) is to do the proposed finish completely as it
will be delivered on a piece at least 4" x 12" and get them to sign it
6. I say Minwax on all of this because you can get 1/2 pint cans for
testing for only $5.
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