My client wants to change the design of her eight-year-old kitchen and add new cabinetry. Fortunately, the same maple cabinets are still available from the manufacturer, either unfinished or with a clear lacquer finish — but I know they will look much lighter than the originals until they’ve had a chance to age, and even then the match probably won’t be exact. Short of replacing the old cabinets, what’s the best way to match the new with the old?

A.Scott Burt, owner of Topcoat Finishes in Jericho, Vt., responds: A light-toned wood species like maple doesn’t change in color as much as a dark-toned wood like cherry, but the change happens more slowly and the results are less predictable. That makes it difficult to “match” the effects of time on clear-finished maple cabinets. (The job would...

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