MATCHING THE FINISH
Blending in a repair to a built-in requires some finesse. Make the repair with wood of the same species, grain tightness, and cut. Then experiment with potential finishes. Buy small cans of three or four stain colors that most closely match the desired color and test them on a piece of scrap wood similar to your millwork.
It’s unlikely you’ll get an exact match without mixing a little of one stain with another. Sometimes stains that look nothing like the color you are after can add just the right tint to a blend of other stains. Keep experimenting until you get a close match.
Try to match not only the color, but also the intensity (or depth) of the color. Once you’re satisfied, apply the stain and allow it to dry. In many cases, following with several coats of orange shellac will produce a warm, rich finish that approximates the look of old wood.
Adjoining rooms in a house pictured in The Home Beautiful, published in 1915, are fitted with bookcases.