How do you match new stains to old wood?


Quick Answer

To match new stains to old wood, obtain a finisher's color wheel, and rotate its parts until you determine several color combinations that are similar to the old color of the wood. Obtain stains in colors that went into these combinations, mix small amounts of them, and try them out on a small piece of wood. Allow the stain to dry, and apply a topcoat. Chose the stain mixture that works best, and make a larger batch of it.

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Full Answer

Different stain colors are printed on the rims of two circles that overlap to make a finisher's color wheel. When you rotate the wheels, colors overlap, and you can see what color they create together in a small window. If you can't find the exact match, pick a color that looks lighter, as you can always darken it by applying several coats of stain. Don't buy large cans of stain unless you are completely sure that it is the color you need, obtain the smallest volumes possible instead.

Make sure that the piece of wood you are testing the stains on has been sanded to the same grit as the actual wood you are going to stain. Make sure to stir each stain before mixing them. Allow the stains and the topcoat to dry completely before you compare the colors and make the final decision. Remember that the type of the topcoat you use also affects the color of the wood after staining.

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