I am trying to stain this product to match the cabinet face shown in the picture below.

I believe the cabinet is made from oak, based on the grain pattern.

I did a few test applications. "A" and "B" had stain pre-conditioner applied, "C" and "D" do not.

"A" and "C" have one stain application, the other two have three applications. I let the first two applications sit for about 5 minutes before wiping the excess. I let the last one sit for 15 minutes, hoping it would give more saturation.

Instead, I'm ending up with this very light, barely stained look. I suspect maybe the grain is just too tight? I don't know, I don't have a lot of staining experience.

How do I get more saturation in my stain applications?

enter image description here

Stain used: Varathane 339702 enter image description here

Pre conditioner used: Varathane 342087

enter image description here

  • 1
    You really should edit your question to include the pictures you've linked to. Once the links go invalid, this question will be useless for people that come along later. Check out the third link as an example....
    – gnicko
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 1:30
  • From outside the US, I can't access any of the homedepot links.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 7:54
  • I've edited the post to include pics, add product numbers, and fixed the 2nd home depot link.
    – rothloup
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


Thing is, you're using a fairly light-colored oak stain (over a pre-stain conditioner) to try to make birch look like oak. A losing proposition I think.

Perhaps, with multiple coats you'll match the color, but because you're using two different species of wood--with distinctly different grain patterns and absorbancy characteristics--you'll have a really hard time getting birch to look like oak. Even if you match the color, you'll have a hard time matching the grain pattern.

Birch is fairly fine-grained while oak (especially red oak) is very open grained. Stain isn't likely to cover up the grain differences.

The best way to do it would be to get some oak and try to match the color. Red oak and red oak plywood are readily available. At least give yourself a fighting chance and limit your matching problem to the color alone.

  • Thank you. I can't imagine what possessed me to purchase the birch in the first place. I'll try it out.
    – rothloup
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 15:58

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