I’m often asked if I can do a repair and match the color of the existing piece. I have matched numerous pieces over the years and it’s not that difficult.
Preparation – The first step is to sand the new piece. I work through a series of sanding grits from 120 to 220 grit paper. Next the piece is dusted off and wiped clean with a tack rag, a cloth treated with a sticky substance, to remove all sanding dust.
Base stain – I pick a base stain that is as close to my target color as possible, making sure not to go too dark. I prefer to wipe the stain on, coat a large area and then wipe the excess off.
Secondary color – Wait overnight for the base stain to dry and then it’s time to assess where to go next. This is where the art comes in, knowing what color to add to get the right effect. Once you’ve chosen your color, apply it just like the first.
If the color still isn’t right – Again wait overnight before the next step. By this point, your wood is saturated and won’t accept any more stain, so it’s time for glazing. Glazing is a way to stain over a finish. The next step is to apply a coat of shellac. Shellac is quick drying, but I still like to wait a minimum of four hours. Once the shellac is dry, scuff sand the pieces with 220 grit sandpaper, and use your tack rag to remove all the dust.
Additional Colors – You can add additional color at this point as before. If you need to tweak colors after this, it’s a matter of shellac, stain and repeat.
Top Coat – Once you have achieved the color that you need, it is time to apply the top coat. Three to five coats of your finish should offer years of protection. You can use varnish, shellac, urethane whatever finish is appropriate for your piece. Sand with 220 grit paper between coats and clean with your tack rag.
Final touch – You can finish off your piece with a couple of coats of paste wax. If you’ve worked carefully, and used your artistic flair, your new piece will now match the original will little or no difference.