Saturday, December 20, 2008

The perfect match

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and when I get my mind stuck on something, no alternative is good enough. This can be a good trait and a bad trait, depending on what you're trying to accomplish. If you have a real affinity to do things right it can be great, but sometimes when you just need to get something done, it can be your own worst enomy.

I've been laboring over the stain color in the house for some time now. Which is right? Light, dark, medium? What type of stain? Should we shellac over it, or just use a linseed oil? perhaps a nice wax finish would be good.

The pieces of furniture we rescued from the house slated for demolition simplified this decision making process. No way were we going to strip these amazing cabinets and try to refinish them. The color was splendid, and they had the patina you only get with time. So, the decision was simple -- we'll just stain all the wood in the house the same color as the cabinets. Next step, match stain.

Finding a way to match stain when you're a perfectionist is not a simple task. First, Kurt visited with a number of woodworking shops, and they all referred us to their sample books. The problem was that we were not finding a match close enough to call it good. Then came a suggestion Kurt got from someone at work -- contact Dalys.

Dalys is amazing. It's a Seattle based company with an interesting history that makes stains and other wood finish products. And guess what else they do... THEY MATCH STAIN! You can go in and look at their samples and pick from their pre-mixed recipes, but lets face it, stain color is all about the wood it is applied on, and you'll rarely find something that's an exact match. Dalys will do a custom stain match for the very low price of 20 bucks. 20 BUCKS! Hell, you can spend that at Starbucks in less than a week.

We took a peice of wood in from our cabinets that was the color we wanted matched. We also took in two peices of unstained wood -- douglas fir and western hemlock. In about 4 days, Dalys called us and our custom match was ready.

Because the stain color we're matching is so rich and pigment loaded, Dalys had to go with a two step process. The first layer is a pigment loaded dye, which is the first coat you apply. The second layer is a stain, which is applied on over the dye. We purchased a gallon of each, and we're told that's enough to stain approximately 400 sq. feet. That should get us pretty far into our project. Our plan is to use this color on all the wood trim, the wainscoat, the boxbeams, etc.

Our first application was the new 3 panel door Kurt installed in the dining room that leads upstairs. He finished the door jamb, and the trim that goes around the jam. It looks really terrific and we're happy to have the color peice of the puzzle solved.

Restoring a house is a chore, especially since real craftsman with expertise in their field are hard to come by. If you too need to match stain color, I highly recommend Dalys. We need more local independent businesses like theirs. Be sure to check them out.

1 comment:

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

OMG! That's amazing! I've been dreading the inevidable stripping of the painted portion of our pine woodwork for this very reason. While I'm an artist, I've always had a better eye for form than color. If they can match my existing trim... awesome.