I've been working for three weeks to get a perfect stain formula to
match my existing Oak kitchen cabinets. Because I'm building new
cabinets and trim to match the existing cabinets, the stain has to
match perfectly, or it'll stand out like a sore thumb.
I started out at the home center. The store clerk was very
helpful...he opened up cans, grabbed some scrap red oak and started
dabbing on stains. There was no stain that was a perfect match, so I
finally decided on mixing two of the Minwax oil-based stains.
I get home and plane up some fresh boards to experiment on. I use 3
boards: one for the cherry stain, one for the colonial maple stain, and
one for a 50/50 mix of the two. Of course you have to wait 4 hours
between coats, so it takes 3 days just to get a board with test patches
of 1 coat, 2 coats, 3 coats, and 4 coats - all with polyurethane coats
on top. Wow.
I get looking at the sample boards closely. The 50:50 mix is alot
closer, but it doesn't seem 'red' enough. So I make up another test
board and a formula of 2 parts colonial maple: 1 part cherry. Another
couple of days for several coats, and this sample is looking very
So I get looking at the sample boards...they look pretty close, so I
grab my 1/8" inch oak skins that I'll be applying to the sides of the
new cabinets, and start staining away. After the first couple of coats
dry, it's clear that the panels are missing a 'tint'. I have some
Minwax water-based Golden Oak stain laying around, so I try applying
this over top of the oil-based.
Once I get the panels all poly'ed they look very close, but I'm
thinking, 'Hmmn...this is going to be a difficult application to touch
up, or match at a later date.'
Back to the home center. Find a third oil-based stain with a yellow
tint, Puritan Pine. Another test board, several more formulas and test
applications. Finally, I've settled on a formula that will work...I'm
Well I'll have another look tonight before I stain my newly fabricated
door. If it still looks good in the day light, I'll start by staining
the back of the door, in case I need to adjust yet again.
THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY?