Advice on matching cherry cabinets?

sun2007April 26, 2013

I am planning to order a few upper cabinets and tall pantry cabinets to match my current 3 year old cherry cabinets (we are reusing all my old cabinets and ordering new ones to fill in holes in the new remodel plan)

I keep hearing about how hard it is to match cherry. I understand the new ones will come in lighter. But will they eventually darken to match the existing older cherry? I'm worried it will always look obvious they are different.

Any advice on how to do this? I read that red birch won't darken, should we replace the new with that instead?

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1. Always try to re-use the same manufacturer's (or cabinet-makers) finish, if it all possible. It will catch up over time. If you don't know the brand....look on bottoms of drawers, backs of drawer boxes on a sink base or on the inside framework to find clues. Many place stickers hidden with loads of info. (brand, door, wood, finish...etc)

2. I would not try to use a different wood unless you can get a really good color match and the grain looks similar.

3. The darker the stain...the less it will darken. Natural cherry is drastic over 3 years. A dark stained cherry is not such a dramatic change.

4. You can speed up darkening by placing in natural , direct sunlight. Make sure nothing creates shadows. This can be difficult and tricky. I would only try this for a couple of hours a day and turn your a rotisserie :-).....then see how it progresses.

From "To give the aging process (darkening the wood's natural color) a head start, you can expose the wood to bright sunlight (bottom section of the sample). After construction/assembly, place the piece near a window that gets direct sunlight. Rotate the piece 90 degrees daily to even out the effect on all the sides.

I've used this method a number of times and found that the UV rays from the sun will darken the wood a fair amount in about a week. After that, the effect is a lot less dramatic and seems to peak after 3-4 weeks. If you leave the piece in direct sunlight for too long, it will start to bleach the color out of the wood (it takes months for a noticable effect)."

5. Or Color match cherry now. More than likely your cabinets are done darkening or will now darken VERY slowly from her on.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Have you looked at the same manufacturer of your current cabinets? We matched our cabinets and you can't even really tell the color difference. It actually adds some depth to the large amount of cabinets that we have.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Are you ordering them from the same manufacturer?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Thanks for those tips, Kompy. I'm thinking of replacing a small upper cabinet with a shorter one (cherry) and was worried that I may be opening a can of worms. I may go ahead and order the cabinet and do as you suggest to see if the colors match up before tearing out the existing cabinet.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Thanks kompy, really helpful tips!

I am ordering from same manufacturer and have same finish info. Do you think I'll be ok then? It'll eventually catch up and match to existing?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:51PM
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See if local dist. has a door sample or color chip already? Or order a door sample. Color chips are NOT a good representation of a finish. A door has lots of different pieces of wood glued together. Sometimes chips can look way off compared to a full door.

I think I've heard/read that it takes about three years to fully catch up. But like I said, you can speed it up by putting it out on your deck and turn it. I think you'll be OK.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:06PM
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I had some problems with some of my cherry doors and drawer fronts; about half were replaced after a few months so my kitchen had already started to darken. I used the technique that kompy suggested of putting the replacement drawers/doors in the sun for several hours to speed up the darkening process. It worked like a charm! I found the most dramatic darkening to happen in the first month so after few weeks you couldn't tell any difference.

But depending on what you want to replace there is another option. Don't match, go different! Add in a painted cabinet or two and make it a feature.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:28PM
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