Copyright Notice

Friday, March 15, 2013

Color my World...

Four different stains, four different wood species - what are the odds?
Part 6 of the Library Project...

It only took us a few days to settle on a "white" paint for the bookcases (Behr Antique White #1823). We had planned on staining the trim pieces a contrasting darker color, but this is proving somewhat difficult. As you can see in the photo above, its starting to look like the Vulcan IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations).
Turns out I'm learning a lot more about modern (cheap) stains than I care to. Like the fact that the stains offered in the big box stores contain larger pigment particles, which are cheaper to manufacture, but that don't dissolve well into finer grained woods like maple, birch or pine.
I've also learned that some other stains don't absorb into wood fibers well unless there's a primary application of a prep solution that opens the grain first. And that also changes the color, by the way.
So, this has fed into my OCD/ADD nature perfectly - time to start testing and gather some empirical data!
But this is turning into its own little rabbit hole. So far I've spent more time and money testing for the right combination than it will be to actually stain the final production pieces.
Its not just the color - each one applies differently. Some look great on the oak trim, but blotch up on the birch. Or vice versa. The library will at least be a mix of three stock types - Oak, dark birch, light birch (the birch color variety having to do with revolving stock at the big box store that I didn't notice till I got the pieces home). We really, really wanted to use some nice finished Fir we found for the trim, but none of the stains took particularly well to this - with most of the color just wiping off, the grain was so tight.
So far the front runner is Minwax Red Chestnut. Unless we go with Red Oak. Or another stain manufacturer altogether. Or just leave the wood natural. Or perhaps we should switch to a lighter color scheme that's easier to apply. Or...
Next step is perhaps a visit to the locally owned paint and stain store to see what they recommend as an alternative to the big box brands. I'm sure that will give me a whole new gamut of stains to test out!

Previous postings on the library construction:


  1. Stain tuned for the further adventures of Bookshelf Man and his side kick Library Lady.

    1. I have nothing but dis-STAIN for this TINTed and WOODen retort...