Staining new fir/oak to match old oak

Questions & AnswersCategory: Wood Finishing and Refinishing QuestionsStaining new fir/oak to match old oak
Brenda Marr Staff asked 3 years ago

Hi, I am in the process of getting replacement windows for my 1920’s home, which will also likely require replacing the trim as well. The original trim and doors are oak (I think red) with a deep reddish-brown finish which I’m guessing is some combination of shellac and a stain. The new windows will be Douglas Fir, and the new trim will be White Oak.

1- What is the best kind of process/product to use on the new stuff to get it to blend reasonably well with the old?
2- I do have some stain samples from the contractor and they look really washed out compared to my original trim – is that a question of product, # coats, or stain type?
3- What’s the best kind of stain to use? Is some kind of pretreatment advised (and what)?
4- Should I try and go the old method of using actual shellac then staining?

I’m attaching a photo of the current door/molding I’ll need to match up with – color is perhaps a little less red than the photo but pretty close. Sorry, I know this is a lot of questions but I get one shot at it! 🙂

1 Answers
crowderpainting Staff answered 7 years ago

Your old trim might be finished with a shellac or not, but what it does have is a patina. This will be somewhat difficult to reproduce, not impossible.

What you need to do is take a 4ft piece of the new trim and a 2ft (or more) piece of the old trim to a paint store. Personally, I would check out your local independent paint stores not the corporate ones. Let them know you need a custom mixed stain to match the existing.

OK, let say they are able to get close but not quite there. Now you need to ask if they can tint a clear coat, can be poly or acrylic urethane. This tinted finish will act as a toner to push the color further than a stain alone can do.

The toner is just that. Don't use it as the first seal coat (sand/tack coat). Use either a sanding sealer or untinted clear as the first coat, depends on the finishing system you choose. The toner will still need an untinted clear over top to protect it from scratches.

I do this all the time. Locally I have a great paint store that is willing to put in the effort and time for such a custom match. If your paint store can do this, great! Remember, they are loosing money doing this match; lots of time for a little profit. Make sure to buy not only the materials you need now but future paints as well from this store. This truly good paint store deserves your business.

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