Stain color help

I'm trying to match a color with some Red Oak that I'm working with and just about have it, but would like to get a little closer. By mixing 2 parts Light Oak Watco with 1 part Medium Oak Watco, I've got the light wood color just right, but the dark wood is just a little too dark. Is there a way for me to lighten the dark wood without lightening the light wood?
Separately, has anyone tried to match the medium oak color commonly found on laminated partical board furniture? I have some Bush and Sauder drawers that I'd like to replace with real wood, but I like the color of the current stuff.
TIA, Shawn
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If you are that concerned about color matching, you have to start when you select the boards for the project. The only real successful way to change the tone on an existing project such as this is to use a tone (color) in the lacquer or poly. Then you vary the number of layers with more layers where you need to darken it and less where you want to lighten it. You can do this as you spray or you can sand out some of the layers. Staining to various colors can be done but way harder and I've never seen it done successfully.
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Just for clarification, by light wood and dark wood, I mean light grain and dark grain. I want to lighten the dark grain, but would like the light wood to stay close to what it is now once I stain.
I've never really got it straight about early/late/heart/sap etc.
Shawn
Shawn wrote:

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On Tue, 21 Dec 2004 12:26:28 -0700, Shawn wrote

To color woods like oak more evenly, you either need to use a dye (versus a pigment) stain or use a pore filler. Pigment stains make open grain woods have wider dark/light variations due to the tiny pigment grains getting trapped in the pores while the rest gets wiped off. Pore fillers make the surface even so everything gets an even "coating". Check out Flexner's book on wood finishing, he discusses this extensively.
-Bruce
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Your "light wood" is also known as "summer wood" because that is the portion of the annular ring that was growing in the drier, hotter summer weather.
Your "dark wood" is also known as "spring wood" because that is the portion of the annular ring that was growing in the wetter spring weather after the tree awakens from its' dormant winter stage.
Because the cells of the spring wood grow much quicker than the cells of the summer wood, they tend to be larger and more porous. (picture a soda straw as compared to a smaller cocktail straw) This bigger size cell leads to softer, more absorbant cell than that which is found in the summer wood. This leads to a darker color when stained.
The easiest way to minimize this (not eliminate it) is to lightly seal the surface (I use tung oil or a thinned wipe on poly). When this dries, I sand with 220, vacuum/tack it and then apply my coat of stain.
As always, this is what works for me... your mileage may vary, and most importantly, try it on a piece of scrap first to see if you like the results.
Joe
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