To trim out the family room, we choose red oak colored with Minwax natural wood stain. The story would end here, but I also needed to match some pine picture rail to this trim. After shopping around, the only picture rail I could source locally came in pine. Now you may ask why didn’t I just order some oak picture rail through a lumberyard or an online store. I would say that’s a good question. You see I am very picky when it come to purchasing wood. I’m that guy in the big box store with most of the stack pulled out of the bin sorting lumber looking for the pieces that match best. It doesn’t help my problem with perfection that since the picture rail is installed near the ceiling, I’ll be looking at one continuous line of moulding. There’s nowhere to hide imperfections or sections that just don’t match. I don’t know if you’ve ordered wood anytime lately, but they usually just give you the first stuff they grab off the pallet.
Once I chose my 9 sticks of picture rail (it only comes in 8 foot lengths), I needed to match the natural stain I applied to the red oak. I’ve had decent luck going one shade darker, so for Minwax wood stain that means golden oak. So I prepped the pine moulding by sanding it to 180 grit rather than the 120 grit to which I sanded my oak trim; I figured anything I could do to keep the pine from absorbing too much stain would help with the blotchiness. Then I brushed on a pre-stain wood conditioner to further reduce blotchyness. I let the conditioner sit for about 10 minutes, wiped off the excess, and then brushed on the golden oak stain. With oak, I usually let the stain sit for 15 minutes, wipe it off, and let it sit at least a few hours if not a whole day before I apply another coat of stain, but with the pine I wiped the excess stain off sooner and I immediately reapplied it to areas that that seemed lighter. I repeated this as necessary to try to get all the trim to a uniform shade. My reasoning for this different procedure was that if I my application of stain wasn’t even, areas that sat with more stain longer would turn darker and I wanted everything to be one even color.
When I finished, I snapped the above picture. I mixed in a piece of the finished oak trim for contrast. The color is similar but of course the oak looks a little darker because of the grain. I think it is a pretty good match though just using off the shelf stain. My wife made a good point about the color not exactly matching. Since I’ll mount the picture rail near the ceiling where it is darker, you won’t notice the color difference as much. Now I just need to wait a day before I can apply the water based polycrylic.
To check the color under different conditions, I turned off the camera flash and snapped a second picture under the fluorescent lights.