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Dye Another day #1: Cut method

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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 660 days ago 3445 reads 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Dye Another day series Part 2: Glue line method »

I’ve been experimenting with spirit based wood dyes, as in the project ‘Any Colour You Like’. Mainly though I’ve been working with black. The long term aim is to see if I can substitute black dyed woods, such as Sycamore, for Ebony in my projects. Ebony is really expensive. I think this is mainly because of it’s overuse and therefore currently restricted supply. I use spirit based dye as this doesn’t raise wood grain in the same way water based dyes do. This allows for wood that is finished sanded to be coloured. This is the dye I’m using

This is readily available in the UK, made by Chestnut. As far as I know this is not available all around the world though I feel sure there must be local manufacturers of something similar.

Today’s experiment is based on a need to have adjacent ‘white’ and black sections of wood. Dyeing one piece first and then glue it to the undyed is the simple method. This can lead to alignment problems and glue on the wood surface. The dye does not penetrate very deeply (as will be seen) so re-finishing the wood is not an option. This led me to think of using one piece of wood and only dyeing a small section. For this you would need a very steady hand, something I don’t possess. My solution is to score the wood with a blade.

For this experiment I will be scoring along the grain, to different depths and dyeing one side of the line only. I hope the score line will prevent the dye spreading whilst being visually unobtrusive. Hopefully the wood grain will recover somewhat (closing the gap) whilst allowing the dye to dry first. I used a scrap piece of 3mm Maple.

The first line (leftmost) is scored once, the second twice and the third three time (or thrice in old English). Towards the bottom of the piece I did stray with the brush on the leftmost but the top half is representative of dye spread. By the time we get to the right (3 scores) the effect is reliable, the dye doesn’t spread over the line.

I have tried this along the grain only though I suspect the effect will be similar across the grain as the hollow fibres are cut stopping capillary action along the grain length. Now for dye penetration. There was a certain amount of overspill from the brush to the board edge

so I cut through the board halfway down, to exclude this possibility and sanded the edge to give an idea of how far the dye has penetrated. Remember this is one coat of dye on one side of the board.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions as to whether this is suitable for your own application. Suffice to say that in earlier experiments (during Any Colour You Like), using 0.5mm Birch ply and dyeing from both sides colour throughout the wood was fair but not bold when sanded in to the centre (.25mm down).

So now I feel confident that I can produce dyed/ natural wood on one piece with a sharply drawn border between the two colours (dyed and un-dyed).

That’s all for now.

Be seeing you.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com



14 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7600 posts in 1557 days


#1 posted 660 days ago

This was really a useful blog, Martyn. I can see that many will benefit from your findings. I think what makes it important is not only showing which methods were successful, but also those that were less so. Learning from each other is part of what makes this site so good. Thanks so much for sharing what you observed and learned.

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View patron's profile

patron

13021 posts in 1978 days


#2 posted 660 days ago

when i do colored epoxy fills
i have learned to ‘size’ (artist term)
the pieces first
as some woods ‘leach’ the color from the epoxy

i either spray or use a small brush to seal the face’s and edges first
then pour the colored epoxy
(the epoxy likes to spread some
it wants to be above the surface
and i spray lacquer thinner
to burst any bubbles that rise
and that thins the surface tension so it runs some)
sanding later to flatten it takes any surface sealer with it
so the finish is on fresh wood

here is what happened without the sealer
(any lacquer, poly, or sealer will do)
you can see the bleeding into the softer woods

not sure how this may apply for you martyn
in some places it may help

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4359 posts in 1673 days


#3 posted 660 days ago

That’s invaluable experience, David. I’m sure it will come in use somewhere. Often I find that knowledge like this can lead my design head off in all sorts of directions and spur new designs and even styles. Thank you.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View soccer2010's profile

soccer2010

76 posts in 1066 days


#4 posted 660 days ago

any suggestions for similar dyes (especially black) in the U.S. ???

-- John

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2071 days


#5 posted 660 days ago

Very interesting Martyn, keep on playing. :-)

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4359 posts in 1673 days


#6 posted 660 days ago

John, personally no.

Can anyone in the US help?

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4359 posts in 1673 days


#7 posted 660 days ago

Update 1.

A conclusion I have reached is that as long as the cut is deep enough to allow the dye to dry before it penetrates past it then you will not get bleed over the cut line.

I’ve also just looked at my test piece again. It seems the dye had time to pass through the ray cells to the other side of the wood

The ray cells running from the heartwood to the sap wood of the tree (90° to the long grain) this would seem to be by capillary action along the ray cell length. The scrap of wood was quarter sawn.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4359 posts in 1673 days


#8 posted 660 days ago

Update 2

I tried a square of black in an un-dyed piece. First I cut a square with a scalpel.

Then coloured it in using a cotton bud (Q-tip)

There was a little bleed over in the top right corner. I hadn’t cut deep enough, cross grain, at that corner.

All other sides appear to be successful though.

Be seeing you.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4359 posts in 1673 days


#9 posted 660 days ago

David’s comment, earlier, suggests to me that adjacent woods could be cut, re-glued together, then sanded flat. Then dye is applied to the area you want to colour.The glue between the pieces forming a barrier to the dye. Further experimentation needed.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View patron's profile

patron

13021 posts in 1978 days


#10 posted 660 days ago

looks like you are laying siege to this martyn

that’s the age old way to get there

keep us posted

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112028 posts in 2214 days


#11 posted 660 days ago

Thanks for the tips Martyn, interesting experiment.

John
For black stain in the US take a look at General finishes Dye/stain or you can use water base indelible black ink.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2002 posts in 1470 days


#12 posted 660 days ago

Have you tried heating the wood to quicken the drying process, thus reduce spillout and impregnation?

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1752 days


#13 posted 660 days ago

years ago I made a tabletop with wooden tiles in different colours made with spritdye
what I discovered when I brush lacked the tabletop was that the different colours
did bleed into the other lighter coloured tiles …. had to make all over again
where I did lack every tile before glue down and first then gave the table top several layers of finish

take care
Dennis

View LittlePaw's profile

LittlePaw

1571 posts in 1715 days


#14 posted 660 days ago

This one is a keeper. Thanx for the good info!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

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