Wood Stain Colors And Finishes
We are presently using KCI products for finishing. Their wood stains and lacquers are great and service is excellent so our experience since switching over has been a good one. The main reason we use their products is because they have an outstanding performance record in the “Green” finishing products field. Their water-born stains and lacquers provide peace of mind for the applicator who wants to avoid the high VOC’s and noxious smells of the solvent born products. Knowing that he is breathing in far less toxic materials and what is going into a clients home is a greener product with almost no perceptible post production odors is a nice thought. We are very happy with the durability of the finishes as well so there has been no real compromise to speak of.
Another advantage has been the water clear properties of the water born products we use. Urethanes made with traditional alkyd or solvent born formulas have a tendency to yellow in time as the resins absorb UV radiation from sunlight. The absence of that factor with the very stable water-born products means truer base and stain color details that aren’t affected by the top coating procedure.
We have a couple Minwax color charts to look at HERE. We used these as a reference because of their popularity and availability if you choose to go that route. We have also used their products successfully before.
Wood Species And Stain Colors
Although it is obvious it does bear mentioning that the color tones and pigments and even the natural oils present in the wood will play a part in the colorizing effects of the finished product. Some woods have a very neutral natural tone thus making them endlessly colorizeable (if that wasn’t a word before it is now). Species like Maple, Birch, White Oak, Poplar Sapwood to name a few are quite neutral will readily accept colorization. Contrast that with Cherry, Poplar Heartwood (Olive green), Cedar, Redwood, Black Walnut and even Fir which all have strong pigments to them that reduce their likelyhood of being well suited for certain color considerations. Sometimes these factors need to be considered when a specific color tone or shade is required or desired. Choosing a species that will work well with your intended use and that will lend itself to being colorized to meet your finishing requirements would be a wise start.
Sometimes a species’ pigmentation can be successfully altered using wood dye. The resulting less-pigmented lumber may get closer to your intended starting point. Of course as with anything else you should do some testing before working on the actual project itself.
For an idea of some wood species natural coloring take a look at THIS PAGE.