I’ve lost count of the number of test samples I’ve done of various different processes, formulas and layers using combos of 5 different stain colors trying to get the stain color I want for my counters. This is just a portion of the ones I’ve done so far trying to get a color that works with the sample block of my flooring in the lower left of the photo.
And I’ve decided I’m going in the wrong direction. All of these are too dark and allow too much of the yellow tones in the wood to come through and I just don’t like any of them.
So I have now added 2 different stain colors and have started the whole process over again.
Wood stain is really kind of horrible. First, you don’t have these nice swatches spread out in rainbow fashion for you to choose from like you do with paint. With wood stain, that is almost an impossible thing to do because different types of wood take stain differently. Even the same type of wood can present a wide range of colors using the same stain because wood isn’t uniform and stain soaks in, showing the various shades and lines of the grain, instead of just sitting on top like paint.
The other really obnoxious part about stain? Or one of them anyway. Manufacturers only provide the smaller containers of stain in the most basic, common colors. The slightly different or less common colors only come in the larger cans, which aren’t cheap at all, so buying a bunch to run tests to get the right color can end up costing a decent chunk of change and leave you with a bunch of stain you will never end up using making it not only expensive, but wasteful as well.
That doesn’t even go into all the other pieces to the puzzle, like how the color will change when you add your top coat or varnish to the mix or how obnoxious clean up is depending on the type of stain. Oh, and the smell. Holy hell, the smell!! I’ve already made my vent fan installation well worth the expense just because of the stain alone.
So, as much as I really wanted to get started on the paint-and-wait dance with my cabinets, I’m still messing with stain today. The good news is, my first test of my new colors seems to look like it is going in the direction I want it to, much better than all the other colors I’ve messed with so far combined. Fingers and toes crossed that it dries as nicely as it went on and that my sealant doesn’t change up the color too much.