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What is toning finishes?

Toning is the process of adding colorant, either dye or pigmented stain into a top coat and then applying over an entire piece in order to subtly deepen the color. All of our stains can be used: Stock base colors of RTM, Water-Based Wood Stains or Dye stains. If you are new to toning, we recommend starting with Dyes stains, which can be easier to use as they only contain dyes and no pigments. 

All of General Finishes water-based topcoats with the exception of Conversion Vanish can be tinted to create lightly colored finishes for toning.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TEST to your satisfaction before application to your entire project. 

There are limits anytime you add pigments or dyes to water-based topcoats. Toning should always be done in small increments to achieve the desired color. If you are starting with a light honey tone door and you want to create an Espresso color this will take multiple coats of color including base coat of stain followed by several toning coats. It is impossible to achieve a radical change in color in coat application.

A good rule to follow when toning is starting with a minimal amount of stain or dye, 5-10% by volume. Some colors work better than others. Normally 1-2 ounces or stain per quart of clear topcoat is sufficient to create a toner. Always test color first and strain material through a fine mesh filter to remove any undissolved particle of pigment. Once you have achieved the desired color tone apply a clear topcoat to lock in the color. Toner made with water based wood stain should be used at point of use only. Do not store for extended periods of time.