Matching Red Oak to White?

wwwonderwhiskersAugust 13, 2011

Hello. We're in a new construction, and are almost finished. We chose a fabulous #1 common White Oak floor in 4" width, which was site finished with Minwax English Chestnut and Waterlox satin finish.

The stairs were done the same. Originally we thought to do the stairs, rails, and spindles all in a natural white oak to let the wood show through, and have a dark floor.

The issue is, that the builder did not order white oak rails & spindles with adequate lead time, so he is offering red oak. If we held fast, this would delay our move date a month. While we're a little sick over his error and poor offering, we feel like we have no choice.

So the question is, what to do with these Red Oak rails?

Any suggestions? Any suggestions which stain will negate the red oak coloring qualities so it will look more like white? We're open to either lighter, or darker.

I'd be OK with painting the spindles since the house has painted trim, but we're trying to coordinate the railing with the flooring. Coordinate - does not have to match.

Matching does not seem like a smart idea - although we've found weirdly enough that the Red Mahogany staining pen on sample seems really close to the floor now, if not a little blue-er. Not sure I trust a 4 year old staining pen on an approximate sample of red oak.

Going lighter, I wonder if the Fruitwood or Provincial color stains would counter the red, yet retain nice wood?

Going darker, I wonder if the Dark Walnut or Jacobean would work? On the minwax sample sheet it's hard to tell which of those two are redd-er, and which is green-er or blue-er.

Thanks for reading, and would enjoy your comments or response! Thanks......

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Bleach it to get the pink tone out, then stain with the same stain you would use on the white oak. White oak will have tan, gray and green undertones.
Oh, to clarify: you use a special wood bleach, not clorox.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 4:31PM
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I would wait on the white oak, maybe he could do a rush order, and eat that cost.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 9:56PM
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Casey - what a GREAT idea - thank you so much!!! After googling around & reading a couple of articles, it seems like a common solution. Wonder why Builder-guy didn't think of it??

Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 11:56PM
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"Wonder why Builder-guy didn't think of it?? "

Wood bleach will require a lot of hand work top apply and then prep the surface again for finishing.

They are commonly water based and result in some grain raising, requiring detailed sanding to get back to a surface for a clear finish.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 10:52AM
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"Wonder why Builder-guy didn't think of it?? "

He's probably not an accomplished finisher. Just glopping on the same can of Minwax on both is not going to do it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 9:49PM
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brickeyee & bobsmyuncle, yes. His background is framing. We've discovered that Framers Do Not Finish Carpenter Artisans Make.

We found that - on the sample red oak at least - Minwax's Provincial seems to be a cool coloured, very close compliment to the English Chestnut on White oak. If the spindles don't look great, we'll paint them after closing. Then the Rail & Veloute will be the stained pieces, and for those "close is OK" I think will be the rule.

Worst case, we'll just sand & lay down some Jacobean, LOL.

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:54PM
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