Color-match finishes in the correct lighting
When I built my wife a jewelry box I was careful to dye and stain the wood to match a drawer from our dresser. But when I set the box on the dresser, the color was way off. What went wrong in my finishing process between the shop and the bedroom?
—Nathan Puckett, Baldwin Park, Calif.
The answer more likely resides on your ceiling than on your finishing table, Nathan. If your shop is like most, you have fluorescent lights overhead. But your project will reside in a bedroom where it sits under incandescent lights or sunlight or a combination of both. The different types of lights have color makeups that will skew the look of your finish.
For instance, fluorescent lights lack red, but emphasize green and blue, so projects created in your shop could seem redder in your house. Incandescents, on the other hand, emphasize red and yellow, minimizing blue and green.
For best results, match colors under a light source similar to the environment where the project will live. If you have to, bring incandescent lamps into your shop to simulate your home's lights. Or make color samples to test in the same room as your dresser. Another option: Replace the low-price cool white tubes in your shop lights with warm white tubes that produce a broader spectrum of light.