I have a mirror with a frame which has a dark stain which has a gradient into an almost black finish.

Unfortunately a part of the mirror's frame got damage and small chunk was taken out of the frame. Despite the fact the frame is dark, the wood is quite light so the damage really stands out.

I've mixed saw dust of a similar complexion to the unstained wood with powdered wood glue (cascamite) and I've filled the damage.

My problem now is recreating the original finish in the new patch. I am fairly sure that is has some sort of shellac or other has finish, but I am not sure how stain it to get the gradient.

I've included some pictures of the frame.

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And a picture of the filled damage

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  • We (maybe) can help with generalities with queries of this type, but this is one of those things where you're going to have to do some experimentation, and possibly quite a bit of it, until you find a suitable method. It's not of direct help for the patching process but the original effect looks like it was done with toner or glazed (with either a true glaze, which can be bought as well as homemade, or done using "gel stain") so the number of possible routes could easily number 40 or 50.
    – Graphus
    Mar 16 '21 at 11:47
  • "I've mixed saw dust of a similar complexion to the unstained wood with powdered wood glue (cascamite) and I've filled the damage." FWIW I think this was a mistake, it would probably have been better to have bought or mixed a filler close to or a match to the 'ground colour' and gone from there. Plus having used Cascamite as the bonding agent this might be extra difficult to flush with the surrounding surface.
    – Graphus
    Mar 16 '21 at 11:50
  • cascamite could be dug out easily if needs be. My issue really is that I don't even know how the gradient was created. Does it just have more layers of stain on it or is it the difference between the normal grain and the end grain?
    – 111111
    Mar 16 '21 at 15:14
  • Looks to me like the darker sections are in the interior corners where the stain was applied, but wasn't wiped off as well, so it simply stained darker there.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 16 '21 at 16:40
  • This effect with dark and light modulation is actually much easier to do than it seems you're envisaging — in short you generously apply a dark glaze/colourant over the whole area then simply wipe the surface. Naturally on the high points most or all of the colour gets wiped away while it remains largely untouched in recesses. Although obviously you need a deft touch to match existing staining seamlessly the basic technique honestly is as simple as this makes it sound! The hard part is the colour matching, especially if you don't already own a selection of dyes/stains etc. that might work.
    – Graphus
    Mar 16 '21 at 19:12

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