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How do you match a stain and paint color for veneer and wood cabinets?

I have 20 year old white washed or pickled cabinets. I want to change the color by staining the doors that are real wood, but the cabinet itself is made up of veneer and partical board. How do I match the stain with the wood color and how do you keep the wood grain look in the veneer?

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Posted 2013-12-01T02:23:40+0000  by cannwells cannwells




Obviously, those parts that are veneered cannot be sanded significantly,  as the veneer is literally paper thin. Your only alternative on these parts is the use of chemical strippers and steel wool. Indeed, it is doubtful that your doors are completely solid wood either. If they are panel doors with a flat panel, that panel is very likely veneer also. Even if you were to sand these areas significantly, they would then take the stain differently then the non-sanded veneers.


If your cabinets are oak, there is an additional problem. Oak has deep graining which will retain the white pigment of the old white washed finish. Stripping will lessen its dominance, but it will not totally be blocked with the pigment of the new stain. When oak floors are sanded, about a 1/16th of an inch is removed to rach virgin wood. Most cabinets just don't have the luxury of surrendering that much fiber to such sanding.


It is understandable that you would want to change the whitewashed look that was so popular 20 or 25 years ago. Not only has it become dated looking, this type of finish tended to yellow with age, mainly due to the protective vrnish coating. Getting rid of the old yellowed varnish would be a big improvement in itself.


You will never be able to obtain a significantly darker stain, due to the white pigment in the grain and the fact that the grain will never be as open as was the original virgin wood. There are however stains that have lighter pigment in them that would somewhat mask the embedded white pigment. If the remaining pigment is evenly disributed, it might actually give an interesting antiqued look to the new stain.


Your best course would probably to strip the back of the most inconspicuous door and then experiment with what final appearance is possible.


When it comes to what protective finish to use after staining: all oil based varnishes or urethane varnishes impart a slight amber tone and become more so with age ( witness your present cabinets). Lacquers lack that amber tone and remain clearer than varnishes. Water based urethanes are crystal clear and tend to remain that way over time.


Perhaps the simplest solution is to forgoe thestripping and staining and paint your cabinets after a good washing and scuff sanding.


Sorry if I haven't sounded more encouraging, but it is a good idea to have some idea of what faces you and what is possible in advance.

Posted 2013-12-01T06:21:50+0000  by ordjen
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