solid red oak vs. red oak plywood colour difference

I am practicing frame and panel doors. I assembled a small one, where frame is a solid red oak and the panel 1/4" red oak plywood. I only applied a danish oil finish, natural, no stain. Then I noticed that the plywood is much darker than the solid wood, the difference that wasn't noticeable before applying the finish.
I assembled another door. While cleaning the polyurethane glue off the door with the paint thinner, I noticed that the reddish color came off the plywood when I swiped it with the paint thinner cloth. Are plywoods stained? Is this a natural wood pigment that comes out because of the very thin veneer?
Please tell me: Other than applying darker stain, is there a way to keep the same natural color of plywood and solid oak after the finish? Many thanks.
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On Wed, 16 Jul 2008 02:35:03 -0700 (PDT), Student

Unless wood is from the same tree, matching color and pattern can be difficult or nearly impossible.

Maybe. I have not heard manufacturer's staining ply, nor have I experienced this. A rag dampened with thinner should not wipe off any color.

There are numerous books about finishing. Generally, to even out color differences the piece is stained.
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Student wrote:

Some or possibly much of the difference may be in the sanding -- did you sand both the frame and panel to the same grit? If you sanded the frame very well, it may be smoother and hence less absorbent than the panels.
For finishing w/o staining at all, may still need to experiment w/ a sanding sealer on the ply or a cut shellac to obtain better match.
As phisherman says, a light stain may help; again you may need the sealer first.
You'll have to experiment w/ the actual materials to learn what will work for the particular pieces of material and the desired effects--it's always a variable situation...you at least were still on practice pieces instead of the real thing.
--
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Is your plywood panel oak on both sides? Often thinner oak plywood had Luan on the back side. Luan is a red colored wood. Typically Red Oak will look "Pinkish" when sanded but that color goes away when the finish is applied.
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I used to sell, manufacture and install 'builders kitchens'. Low cost, not too bad to look at, and almost always 5 piece doors with oak frames and oak plywood panels. (An upgrade was solid wood raised panels.) I tried many suppliers of doors, and that combo of solid frame/plywood always showed different colours between them. After a few thousand doors, you get to minimize that effect by applying very light, thin-thin coats of anything that might otherwise soak the thin oak veneer down to the glue layer. I found that made all the difference: do not make the plywood too wet. The finish has nowhere to go after it hits the glue beneath the veneer.......nowadays that'd be what? 40th or 64th of an inch? The solid wood frame, however, deals with 'wet' in a totally different way. Also in the way it dries.
The best results I got with ply-panel doors was a clear finish... step WAAAY back with a progression of sanding sealer sprays ever so lightly until a barrier layer was built up protecting the plywood from being soaked.
Then, when the client requested it, I would apply tinted lacquers for colour.
Red dust? Too much sanding going on me thinks.
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On Jul 16, 9:22am, Robatoy <Counterf

Fair point, but get this: When I applied the same danish oil finish to the 3/4" plywood, with the same thinner-than-razor veneer as pm mu 1/4" panel, the colour was much closer, almost indistinguishable from the solid wood.

I think I figured this one out: I noticed that they applied a wood filler, stained in red oak - obviously their veneer wasn't top grade. So when I wiped it with the thinner, it took off some of that color. And that perhaps has most to do with the color difference between my solid wood frame and the plywood panel. Since danish oil is rubbed in, it smears around the coloured filler.
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That filler would/could be all the reasons why you are having a colour problem. Crappy plywood. Period. I seem to recall having sent back a load of 1/4" sheets (I used them for gable ends and island faces) because of sub-standard veneer with filled patches. I think you found your answer. *S* Try another and get back to us.
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Get a different piece of plywood. I'd done projects with wood trim for the edges and plywood for panels with no big differences. Every tree, or even parts of a tree, will have variations in color and grain. Since what you have are from two different trees, two different forests, the colors will vary.
Another factor is UV. Was the plywood exposed to light for a long period? Was it sanded? If not, it may be some darkening from age, but sanding usually refreshes the surface. Caution: Don't sand through the paper thin covering veneer.
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Just the simple fact that 8 or 10 species of Oak are called Red Oak and that every tree is different, you will get some differentiation with wood from different sources. However, the biggest factor is likely sanding.
Plywood will come sanded to about 220 very consistently. You should back down to 150 and hand sand it coming back to 220. Do the same with your solid wood. Then do some testing. You can tone whichever is lighter with some slight coloration, then stain both with the darker color. You can also tone the lighter faces after the initial dark staining. You can simply dilute the dark stain and do a reapplication to the lighter surface to tone it darker.
Be very careful and create a formula that works on test pieces. Something like, stain both, let dry, re-staing lighter piece with 20% dilution of original stain.
You can't tell while it's wet so you need to do tests, keep notes and let things dry completly You also need to see the final finish. Things that look like the match well can change when you add a clear lacquer or ploy or shellac, etc. So test and develop a formula.

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