Color Matching for Small Wood Shops

By Bernie Bottens | Posted: 03/09/2012 12:01PM


Color matching I find I have to control the variables in order to recreate complex multi-step finishing systems, simple stain matches, or difficult color matches in pigmented conversion varnish.

Color matching and finish system creation is like a chess game. What happens in step #1, #7, or #10 is going to have an impact on another step that follows. If you use one drop of lamp black in step #4, is it going to shift the color too far away from the red you need?

Do you use a washcoat here or a full-bodied coat of sealer? What will the consequences be on the final outcome? You need to know these things. It is important to think through the entire process and know what will happen next.

For that reason, I have learned to be really anal. If my recipe calls for 8.2 grams of something, I better not put in 8.1 or 8.3. But, if I do make a change, I better make one change at a time. Otherwise how will I know for certain what helped and what threw me in the wrong direction? Three changes at once could prove costly, especially with productivity.

Source: A bloggist for, Bernie Bottens teaches wood finishing in industrial woodworking to shop owners, foremen, spray technicians and finishers all over the Pacific Northwest. He is wood finishing specialist with Wurth Louis and Co., Portland, OR. Reach him at

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About the Author

Bernie Bottens

Bernie Bottens ( and teaches on the subject of wood and wood finishing in industrial woodworking. He and his wife, Carol, live in Vancouver, WA. Bernie has been teaching wood finishing to shop owners, shop foremen, spray technicians and finishers all over Oregon, southwest Washington, and northern California for the past 9 years. Prior to that, he owned his own cabinet shop. His shop credentials include apprenticing and becoming a journeyman exhibit builder. Before that he taught in the public schools for 20 years. Bernie is the owner of Kapellmeister Enterprises, Inc. and Kap Coatings Consulting. Reach him at

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