I was training a person on
matching stain colors and I realized that there were few tools available to
help with this task. We have all seen "The Color Wheel" and this
does help us get and elementary understanding of how color
works, but in the real world of production finishing life gets a
little more complicated.
Stains are generally semi- transparent
so the color we see is influenced by the color of the wood that
it goes on. You can also change the intensity of color of wiping
stains by on how long you leave them sit on the wood before you
wipe them off. You can layer colors, such as applying a wiping
stain over a dye or applying a glaze over a wiping stain and so
on and so on.
For more on color systems click here.
So where do you start?
At our facility we use the HULS 844 colorants for our stains,
glazes and paints. I wanted to to show what happens
when you mix color A with color B. The charts that follow shows the results
of mixing every one of the 12 HULS
colorants with every other one of the 12 HULS colorants.
The colors are mixed in 3 different ratios:
2 parts Left Color & 1 part Top Color
Equal parts Left Color & Top Color
1 part Left Color & 2 parts Top Color
The resultant pigments are mixed
into a clear stain base and then wiped on Maple, Cherry and Oak.
What these charts show
I wanted to show not only what color you get when you mix 2
different colorants together, but also how the ratios of the mix
affect the final color - as in how much red do you have to add
to green or blue to get brown. By applying the stains to 3
different color woods we can see how much the background color
of the wood affects the final color.
What these charts can teach you
These charts are not meant as a stain matching chart, though to
a limited degree they could be. They are designed to provide
some insight into the much bigger picture of color development.
See how the colorants interact and then the added nuances from
the background color of the wood.