sawdust chronicles challenge #1: need a little advice

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Blog entry by BigTiny posted 09-11-2010 03:21 PM 1253 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of sawdust chronicles challenge series Part 2: rough patterns »

Greetings all.

Well, the plans are coming along, but I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock. To make the Rubik’s cube pedestal I will need six different colors, and they must be different enough to stand out against each other. This could be hard to do if I stick with natural wood, so I’ve been thinking of going with a single species with a light color such as white oak or maple, then dye it. I want the grain to be obvious, so something transparent is in order, plus, to keep with the “green” part of the build, I want to keep with as natural a material as possible,

Anyone got any suggestions as to wood species, dye material and technique? My experience in this area is just about non existent!

Suggestions for the three woods for the “Louis cube” pattern are also welcome.

I hope to have the SketchUp designs to a good enough state to post in the next day or two.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

7 comments so far

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2933 days

#1 posted 09-11-2010 04:20 PM

Leather dye – the liquid – works pretty well, and it comes in colors!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3138 days

#2 posted 09-11-2010 05:22 PM

Just looking around the shop, the woods that come into view for colors are cherry, maple, walnut, zircote, oak,
juniper, ironwood, purple heart, english walnut, and my stand by beetle killed blue pine, all of these always come
in different shades and tones, that if we had enough money, would make any colored project very simple and
complex at the same time. A quick wipe with a damp cloth will give you an idea of what the finiished color of
the wood will be. I am lucky enough to have two good wood stores close to me, and they do not mind me
coming to look as long as I do not drool on the wood (Superior Hardwoods & Millwork Inc and Buckeye Hardwood & Lumber Co). Aromatic Cedar looks and smells the same as Juniper. If you do not have a wood
store close to you, I know Woodcraft, one of the advertisers here has wood available, their closest store is in
Spokane -200 miles away, so I have not made it over there yet, but I have read good things about them on
this site. Picking out wood for a project is always fun for me, until it bumps up against my budget and makes
me think I may just have to go back to work for money so I can afford more fun. Good luck and have fun.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View bench_dogg's profile


63 posts in 3190 days

#3 posted 09-11-2010 06:16 PM

Check out some dye—I have used both WD Lockwood and Trans-tint (bought at rockler), both are good. I have used both mixed with water, a little bit goes a long way, just mix it up and brush it on. If you decide to try this make sure you do some test boards I have found the color varies a bit depending on the top coat and you WILL need a top coat for it to look right. Just using the dye alone looks really ugly but once you put a top coat it really pops the grain and gives a nice shiny translucent finish.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3089 days

#4 posted 09-11-2010 07:29 PM

Well Tiny, Pau Amarello{yellow), Padauk{red), Purpleheart{purple}, Ebony{black}, Yew (English){orange} and Mahogany{reddy brown}. Garish but thats me. All natural, no dye involved.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2895 days

#5 posted 09-12-2010 02:50 AM

In use a lot of water based stains from Home Depot. They can tint it pretty much every color of the rainbow and all shades in between. Of course, being water based, it does raise the grain a bit in certain woods, so you have to deal with that. The stain makes brilliant colors though. If you look at some of my projects, all the reds blues and greens have been done with these stains. As per usual, several thin coats does better than one heavy coat. If you go this route, I highly suggest using some sort of clear topcoat. I have used Minwax oil based poly and Bullseye shellac over this stain with no problems.


View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2941 days

#6 posted 09-12-2010 03:27 AM

All good ideas. However, since I’m in Canada, some are out of the question doe to customs and shipping costs. Have to check out Home Depot’s stuff. Maybe get a single color and try it out first. Budget is very limited.

Thanks for the input!

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View souichiro's profile


369 posts in 3398 days

#7 posted 09-12-2010 12:50 PM

Well I’ve used mixol dyes from woodcraft, they work really well. But if you can’t ship them, or budget is an issue, I’ve heard that RIT fabric dye works well. If you seal it with lacquer after. I don’t know how much it costs, but I’ve seen it in department stores.

-- Dale, Oregon

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