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new cabinets, uneven stain absorption, HELP!

GEBanDLB's picture

Building our dream  "getaway" home on rural property we've owned for 25 years. It is about a two hours drive from our current home.  Recently the new kitchen cabinets were installed: Made of Beech wood with Zar  "early American" stain.  We are very happy with the construction of the cabinets by a local cabinet  builder,  but over-all the stain is much lighter than we had expected.  (The sample pieces we had seen, took the stain very differently.) 

Most of the Beech plywood panels and end pieces are close to the color we had expected , but some of the solid wood frames and solid wood drawer fronts are quite light.  (people looking at the photos comment, "Oh you have  two tone cabinets?") Some of the solid wood drawer fronts were  made from narrower boards glued together and while that  process seems agreeable and the grain appears to match very well, in some cases 1/2 the board took the stain fairly well and the other half , hardly at all. (Other than the apparent color difference, these  appear to be one solid board.)

The cabinet builder remade several of the drawer fronts but with little improvement in the color lines. Some, but little.

We are looking for any insigts and guidance as to  what we can do.

If these had come from a "big box" store I'd be screaming bloody murder.  But we are dealing with the cabinet maker himself, and he's a nice guy willing to try and "fix" the problem but he seems at a loss as to how to really resolve the problem without building totally new cabinets out of some different wood, or perhaps painting these. (neither of which realistically seem to be an option.) Yes I get that plywood and hardwood might absorb stains differently. But how do cabinet makers otherwise make cabinets whose colors are consistent?  And how do you account for differential absorption in the hardwood?   HELP!

We started this project  two years ago, doing much of the work ourselves, but with a wonderfully skilled and widely respected local builder and general contractor closing the sturcture in and offering great oversight.  Tragically he was killed several months ago in a traffic accident.


This is always a hazard when (post #211292, reply #1 of 2)

This is always a hazard when dealing with real wood products, and certain woods (birch & beech in particular) are commonly much more of a problem than others such as oak.

There are various things that can be done prior to staining to assure an even stain, but after the pieces have been finished your options are more limited.  However, there are varnish products available that contain a colorant and can be applied after the fact to darken a surface.  It's been a few years since I've needed to do this, so the names aren't on the tip of my tongue, but I'm thinking that Zar has a line of such tinted varnishes, and probably several other brands do as well.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

not much you can do aside (post #211292, reply #2 of 2)

not much you can do aside from either living with it or sanding everything down and re staining. penetrating stains dont work to good on beech.  try gel stain, i get a much more consistant stain with gel.


in regards to the fronts taking stain differently, every peice will have different characteristics and the density of the wood pores will very greatly. hard to get consistancy when doing what you guys ended up getting.