Matching wood stain on furniture? Pecan?

Is there an experienced furniture restorer who would like to offer some advice? Not too far from the top of my job list is the renovation of some cane-backed dining chairs. The finish has worn off some of the wood, some of the cross spindles are missing and a couple of the cane backs have suffered from the attention of a cat. I think I can deal with the last two but I don't know how to identify the type and colour of stain, or to blend new stain into existing. The only information I have is that they are about 30 years old, made in Singapore and might be Pecan. Any suggestions?
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On 03/01/2017 15:50, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

As to colour, there is no common high tech solution here - its just a case of trial and error using individual finishes, or more likely, combinations of them. Experiment on a bit out of sight, and see. I often find that getting close with a spirit based wood stain, and then over coating with a coloured film finish to adjust the final colour will get something close enough.
Some finishes like shellac will go sticky if exposed to alcohol - so apply a drop of IPA or meths, wait a moment, and then see if any finish pick up on a small brush.
If its not shellac, then you could try a drop of lacquer solvent - again lacquer finishes would soften a little.
Some water born finishes (quick drying varnish etc) may be touched by more aggressive thinners like xylene or acetone.
If none of the solvents touch it, then it must be a fully curing varnish or poly - although even some of those may soften a bit with acetone.
Oil based finish you can usually identify by just applying a drop of oil. It would normally spread out and soak in on an oiled piece. On a modern film finish it will just sit there in a bead.
Have a look at some of Tom Johnson's restoration videos, he demos a number of techniques:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd8v3SbzGP9_wuSOr_xk_eA

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Our house has stained floorboards throughout. After we had our new kitchen installed, some unstained areas of board were exposed. The only way we could match the existing stain was trial and error. We bought a lot of sample pots...
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wrote:

There was a store here selling stains, varnishes, lacquers, spraying equipment, filters etc. to the trade. One could drop off a bit of wood as a color sample, and unstained wood samples. There was a faintly grouchy lady in back that would mix up a tin of stain with a very close match overnight -- no computers or colorimeters, just experience and a shelf of the full range of manufactured colors. AFAIK it was only a nominal fee.
Alternatively, Clou (and others, probably) make a range of water-based stains. Little sachets of powder that you dissolve in nominally 1/4 liter of water, two-three Euros each. This makes it easy and cheap to get a whole range of colors. Water-based is easy to dilute, and keeps indefinitely as a powder, and I guess years once dissolved.
Wet water-based stain looks like dry varnished/lacquered stain, as a good first approximation. So you can get closed by mixing, painting, looking, and repeating immediately. Once close, let it dry and try it with the final finish. Testing under natural sunlight, fluorescent, and incandescent is important. This is not a job for a cellar workshop with a gas light:-)
Thomas Prufer
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