fleur de lis

Wood staining advice needed.

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I've been working on a blade for my wife & found some very nice birdseye maple today for the scales. She loves the colour blue. So id like to dye the wood, but I've never done this before. I like a natural finish myself. 

I've been doing some interweb searching for this. But everything I'm coming up with involves acid of one form or another. Which she'd object to. 

Does anyone here have a formula or recipe for dying maple with a more natural method. 

 

Thanks for any advice.

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Aniline dyes.  SOP when coloring wood with weird colors.

They are VERY concentrated so be sure and use sparingly...plus test on scrap.

Here's an article from Wood magazine to start but there are other and possibly more thorough resources out there if you search.  https://www.woodmagazine.com/materials-guide/finishes/aniline-dyes

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Thank you. Very very helpful. Its says to finish with any clear finish. I'm assuming oil based & shellac would fit the bill of "clear"?

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Clear is subjective. Some people like the slight yellowish tint that certain oils and shellac can give.  I tend to lean toward the true clear water-based poly floor finishes because they are tough as nails.  A good one can also be musical instrument lacquers because they are slightly flexible when hardened--good for a knock-around knife that gets used.

True lacquers tend to give you more of that look of depth in wood but can be a bit more finicky to apply.  When done right, it feels like you are looking into the wood and not just at the surface.  Catalyzed lacquers can be remarkable finishes but that's a whole new can of worms.

For glass smooth finishes, it takes a little more work..you might even look up "french polishing" if you want to go crazy on it.

In any case...many thin coats, not fewer heavy coats.  Prep both before and between coats is also key.

Finishing voodoo is one of those wood subjects where everyone has an opinion...and they all tend to say their opinion is the "right" way and that others just haven't learned yet.   Take research with a grain of salt when poking around.

Edit---I should mention that shellacs are alcohol soluble so if you every get alcohol on a shellac finish, it can ruin it (along with some other things).  The benefit of shellac is that it's easy to re-finish if something like that happens.

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An oil finish is also easy to repair; things like varnish or powder coats require total removal and reapply to deal with chips or scratches.

With the colour being a major part of the handle, I think you would want a true water clear finish.

I like oil finishes of the: once a day for a week; once a week for a month, once a month for a year and once a year till the heat death of the universe! school of things.  I did a handle from an old osage orange fence post that way and you really did get the feeling you were looking deep into the wood.

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One problem with a lot of commercial oil finishes these days is they use a lot of artificial dryers (curing additives) as an addition--people don't have patience and want instant gratification and dryer additives tend to give that by allowing quick build-up.  The finishes can thereby come out mediocre.  With oils, it's often best to avoid the name brand big box store offerings because of this--assuming you want a high end finish and not just to get the piece out the door.

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Thank you kozzy & thomas. I really appreciate the pointers. Much food for thought.

I'm a oil or shellac guy traditionally. It's always been my go to. I've probably used more Danish or Teak oil than anything else. In my opinion, there is nothing like a good hand rubbed oil finish. Its what I'm most comfortable with & her blade is close to needing wood at this point. 

That said, I've never finished dyed wood in my life. Rarely ever stained anything either. So I'm grateful for your time to type that out. Will be of much help. 

 

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Try a sample piece and see how it looks!

I've done a LOT of Danish oil---all of our bookcases; well not all; but at least 20 of them. And tung oil for knife handles.  And BLO for hammer handles and misc woodwork.

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Finally got back around to this. To many projects going on.

Birdseye maple. Both dyed & natural. The natural is sanded to 500 grit & a couple coats of my BLO / Tung mix. 

I started with the instructions for the dye & prep. Then I said to heck with it. Mixed up a strong batch of dye in a large Mason jar & dropped the wood in it for a a week. Until the wood was just barely floating still. It's been drying for a few days now & hasn't been sanded or finished in any way yet. 

 

The big piece in the middle is some spaltted maple I've been playing with. 

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Just a warning for folks who love the look of spalted maple (or other woods) but are not very experienced in it:  To get to that spalted look, it's generally exposed to a nice and aggressive rot fungus (both naturally and sometimes artificially).  So...the wood has started down the "rotten" road pretty significantly.  

Not a big deal if you catch it in time but if you don't stop that rot process in a timely manner, areas can start to get punky.  It's a balancing act to get enough of the spalted look but not let it go so far as to degrade the wood structure appreciably.  Because of this, I would recommend that one never buy the stuff online or site unseen--if at all possible, be sure and physically inspect the piece before you buy.  It's expensive (retail) and you don't want to discover you are paying a premium price for punk*

Or...if you live in an area that has hardwood forests, it's a wonderful way to spend a day if you go on a treasure hunt for "found" wood.  It is a true treasure to find a hunk o' downed wood that is still structurally solid but also beautiful--like natural field spalting or bluing or sometimes even burl.  Good family activity too...if you can get the kids to not point out every rotten log they find and ask "is this good?!?"  Hard to tell them their treasure is trash.  There are some remarkable finds hiding in most forested areas if you search.  Obviously with permission/legality.

* Punk can be stabilized using a process similar to other stabilized wood, such as impregnating with clear epoxies, but it's not something people usually want to set up for at home.  It's best to use a pressure/vacuum process to make it happen although there are other ways.

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Kozzy speaks truth. Every word.

 

I just got stupid lucky with this. It's part of a bowl blank I bought about 10 years ago. Was supposed to be birdseye but is just soft maple. So I set it aside and forgot about it until a couple months ago. Fortunately it's not gone punky yet. 

 

Professional stabilization would be best, but in a consummate cheap skate. So here's another method. Not a good, but doable one. 

#10 coffee can filled halfway with minwax wood hardener. Cut that 50% with acetone. Add a dye or stain of color preference. I used a minwax redwood something in this one. Submerge your wood in the can & seal it good. Forget about it for a few weeks to a month. Then remove & let it cure for a few weeks or so. Not fast, but it does work.

When you work it, WEAR A MASK!! This stuff can't be good on your lungs. 

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Mr. Fleur …,

Acetone will not only trash your lungs. It will also do a job on your kidneys.

Using a two cartridge, gas filter is strongly advised. (the gas pre-filter and the main cartridge filter.)

Do it outside and if your obsessive like me, I also use a fan.)  Please aim said air flow away from the kids and your neighbors.

Just my two cents. 

SLAG.

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Very good point Slag. I do use a two filter full face mask. Preferably of a known name brand. I use a Honeywell right now. I keep different filters for different things. I don't like a that covers multiple things. I feel that those won't do anything well. 

I don't particularly care for  acetone & don't really like having it in my shop, but I do & I do use it. I just try to be careful about using it. 

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Acetone is also a transdermal solvent, meaning it will pass through your skin and carry other stuff with it. Soooo, once you remove your wood from the bath WITH TONGS! let it cure more than a couple weeks them warm it gently to maybe 150f. You don't want it too warm or any residual acetone will boil and you get weird results so don't even think of using the toaster oven. A light bulb from a little distance warm. Yes?

Another similar technique is dissolving catalyzed epoxy resin in xylene and soaking. Xylene is a powerful penetrant and retards epoxy polymerizing.  It does not stop epoxy from setting but it slows it WAY down finish like described for Minwax/acetone stabilization treatment.

Unlike Minwax/acetone, epoxy/xylene works a lot faster thinned 50/50 and you're stretching your luck with more than 24 hrs. expecting it not to start setting. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 3/20/2019 at 2:02 PM, fleur de lis said:

Does anyone here have a formula or recipe for dying maple with a more natural method.

Others have said it........................but please, oh please do not stain wood with that kind of chatoyance.  If you just have to color it, use denatured alcohol based aniline dyes.  I wouldn't do a thing to that piece of wood except put a nice penetrating clear finish on it.  Who needs dye when God does a great job on his own?

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When quoting please edit the quote to remove pictures and long text. Also pictures should be resized to around 500X375 so they don't take up so much bandwidth and load faster. A lot of members are on dial up or have to pay for bandwidth.

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