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Spraying TransTint Dyes #2: Difficult: Maybe Impossible

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 12-28-2016 05:26 PM 849 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: First Experience with Dyes Part 2 of Spraying TransTint Dyes series no next part

I learned yesterday that spraying dye on this coffee table top with the intention not to wipe the surface was a difficult process, if not an impossible task. My sample test on scrap pieces of wood was successful, but those were small pieces. The largest scrap piece was about a foot square. Spraying the larger table top was much more difficult. It began to be clear quickly that I must wipe the surface. I looked for a clean cloth. After I began I realized I should have soaked the cloth in my dye mix. Wiping with a clean cloth left trails of where I initially wiped the surface. I could not remove those trail lines.

Today my strategy is to take a warm bucket of water with a cloth or a small white towel and with the towel soaked with this warm water to wipe the table top with the intention to remove as much of the dye as I can. I am attempting to clean the surface again. I know from my readings is that removing dye will be difficult because the dye sinks into deep the wood’s surface.

I also noticed that some of the finish that was on the original table top that I had removed with a finish remover was still on the surface in certain spots. After the wash is dry I will attempt to remove all of the remaining finish from this table’s top, again.

Sanding will be in order. After that I will assess what else needs to be done. If I apply more dye I will wipe it on and off and hope for the best…

I discovered that spraying dye even with an HVLP spray gun is a dubious process. These little dye water droplets fill the room with a cloud that a human, or at least me, see or detect. Even though I had a mop bucket filled with water to clean my garage shop’s floor during these winter months, the mist of dye in the room tainted the mop bucket. It was many feet away from where I was spraying, but it demonstrated to me that spraying dye needs a very secure paint room or booth. I doubt I will spray dye ever again. The clean up lasted longer than the dye spray setup and spraying time. Lesson learned…

-- --- Happy Howie



11 comments so far

View JAAune's profile (online now)

JAAune

1788 posts in 2281 days


#1 posted 12-28-2016 05:59 PM

Transtint actually sprays on very well if done correctly.

The problems you encountered were due to a host of complicating factors. But as you state at the end of the post, you are correct that spraying dyes and stains without the benefit of a spray booth is inadvisable. The only way to eliminate overspray is to pull it out with a fan and filters.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View HappyHowie's profile

HappyHowie

465 posts in 1909 days


#2 posted 12-28-2016 06:18 PM

I suppose “done correctly” is a very precise “learned” technique.

My guess is that one of the major techniques would be to have the source knob nearly turned off so very little of the dye is strayed. I thought I was there. I also suspect that if the first coat does not cover well then I must be patient and until the first dye coat dries completely, then spray at a 90 degree angle to the first layer. These are only my guesses. However, what I did yesterday was clearly not being patient after laying down the first layer. What I was seeing after spraying the first layer (but not recognizing) was small areas on the top where I was not successful in removing completely the initial finish coats. I had cleaned my sanded top with minerals spirits with the intention to find any missed spots, but my untrained eye did not discover the small areas of remaining finish.

I clearly should have waited for the first layer to dry. If I had waited after the first layer, I could have assessed what to do next. Now the correction phase will take a bit longer to fix.

If I attempt spraying dye again, it will be after reading how others have successfully done this process. There will have to be clear evidence that several others have mastered the process. I need to learn from someone else’s experiences instead of too many of my own mistakes. I do recognized that mistakes are good teachers because they “stick” in one’s memories…

-- --- Happy Howie

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JAAune

1788 posts in 2281 days


#3 posted 12-28-2016 07:44 PM



I suppose “done correctly” is a very precise “learned” technique.

- HappyHowie

Sort of. I didn’t go into too much detail because without being there in person, it’s nearly impossible to tell if surface prep or spraying technique was the main culprit. From your description, it sounds like insufficient surface prep was the worst problem.

As far as spraying it goes, I’ve had the most success with multiple light passes. Too much puddling can mess things up and I prefer to have the stain absorb into the wood almost as soon as it hits the surface.

Wiping Transtint is a valid technique but the effect is totally different. Spraying without wiping results in a very even application that minimizes grain variations. Wiping accentuates the differences which is sometimes desirable but can be ugly on woods prone to blotching.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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AandCstyle

3027 posts in 2222 days


#4 posted 12-28-2016 11:16 PM

Howie, I hope that I am not too late, but you indicated that you sprayed the top with shellac before applying the dye. If that is true, you should be able to wash most of the water based dye off the top without the need for sanding. Then, if I were doing this, I would rag on and off one coat of dye and cover that with shellac before spraying the polyurethane. As always, pre-test the entire process. Good luck.

-- Art

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Mean_Dean

6417 posts in 3112 days


#5 posted 12-28-2016 11:40 PM

Well it sounds like you’re definitely getting an education here!

As far as refinishing goes, I’ve run into the same issue with small spots of the old finish still present. I’ve learned that when you think you’re done stripping, apply more stripper, and go over the surface again. After it’s dry, wipe mineral spirits all over the surface to find any missed spots.

Stripping old finishes is a real PITA, and a lot of work!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

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pintodeluxe

5620 posts in 2778 days


#6 posted 12-29-2016 12:58 AM

Yeah, I’ve only wiped Transtint, except for a hand spray bottle to get into crevices. However oil based stains spray well.

Don’t give up on spraying color, but figure on wiping it back for sure.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View JAAune's profile (online now)

JAAune

1788 posts in 2281 days


#7 posted 12-29-2016 01:43 AM



As far as refinishing goes, I ve run into the same issue with small spots of the old finish still present. I ve learned that when you think you re done stripping, apply more stripper, and go over the surface again.

- Mean_Dean

Also, don’t forget that after that final pass with stripper, everything should be cleaned twice with solvent then allowed to dry completely before applying new stain and finish. I usually clean with lacquer thinner then alcohol using green ScotchBrite to scrub the wood.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View HappyHowie's profile

HappyHowie

465 posts in 1909 days


#8 posted 12-29-2016 04:20 AM

I see I have been given great advice. I appreciate it. Thanks…

I did wipe the dye with water soaked towels. Much of the dye came off, I then applied the finish stripper because I discovered that there were several areas that had not been totally stripped when I began this refinish process. More dye came off with this coat of finisher stripper. I applied another coat of finish stripper, then I used denatured alcohol to try to get any remnants of the original finish off.

After doing all this I could see that I still had either some dye left or finish cause the surface looked blotchy. I used my orbit sander with 120 and 220 grit to attempt to clean the surface. It looks much better but still have some blotchiness.

I have left the project in this state thinking that tomorrow I will evaluate what I should do next. I am thinking about using my belt sander. I would need to purchase new belts for it. The only belts I have in my shop right now are coarse grits. I won’t use those; they tear too fast into wood. I may try 220 or 320 grit if I can find some in my local big box stores.

Here is an image of the table top before I began spraying my dye mix. It looked pretty good to my eye, but I had overlooked the thin sheet of finish that remained in a few areas or waves. I should have applied another finish stripper coat, just in case. It won’t happen again.

My orbit sander has not made much more of a dent in cleaning in what remains. I don’t want to drop any lower than I have with 120 grit.

Of course, I am nervous about using the belt sander on my neighbor’s coffee table. I do not want to blow through the oak veneer; its not a plywood top so I think this veneer is thicker than an oak plywood would give me. So I believe I have a safe amount of veneer left to try and clean the surface better.

I have used my belt sander often enough to know how to use it effectively without burning through. Those mistakes were made early on in my woodworking days. I think I have learned not to repeat that mistake again. So I am confident that I will not over sand this top. So after saying that I will first check if a higher grit in my belt sander will do the job first before dropping down to 220..

I’m going shopping for sanding belts early in the morning…

I will take the advice to use lacquer thinner before I begin any more sanding. I will see how that works first…

-- --- Happy Howie

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JAAune

1788 posts in 2281 days


#9 posted 12-29-2016 05:13 PM

I’d actually advise against more sanding. Veneer is thin enough and oak is open-grained so it’s likely the original finish has penetrated fairly deep.

It is possible to use chemicals to remove unwanted colors. Wood bleach, chlorine bleach and oxalic acid all have different uses. I can’t recall exactly which are used for the various applications off the top of my head. I believe wood bleach is used to lighten wood, chlorine bleach is used to remove stain and oxalic acid gets rid of black stains. There are also specific procedures that need to be followed to use those products safely and without causing damage to the furniture. If you are interested in using any of them, there are lots of resources online that describe their use in greater detail.

Now if you can’t completely remove the old color from the wood, it’s still possible to refinish successfully. You have to wipe the wood with solvents and try to mix up a diluted (don’t want it too dark) water-based stain (Transtint works) that is very close to the color that’s already in the wood. Then everything gets stained with that color. It helps blend in the color differences and additional layers of stain will finish the job.

Those processes are easy to do with experience but should always be tested on samples before doing the real project.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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HappyHowie

465 posts in 1909 days


#10 posted 12-29-2016 11:58 PM

When I looked at the coffee table this morning, I saw some improvement in the display of blotchiness. The image below is a photo I took last night after I had wiped on some denatured alcohol. It made the top look very blotchy.

After seeing some improvement on this table top this morning after the table had dried from my work on it the night before, I concluded that I really did not want to use a belt sander at all. Besides no local store stocks any finer grit than 120. This means I would have to order online any 220 or 320 grit belt sandpaper. If I did any sanding it would be by hand; and lightly at that.

The picture below was taken after I completed sanding a little of the top by hand this afternoon.

What I am still seeing that looks blotchy I believe is where my dye penetrated softer and more open grain areas of the oak top.

I am perplexed what to do next.

Your suggestions are much appreciated so I will search the Internet and the finishing books I have here in my library to see what they may give also as suggestions. Thank you for those specific chemical solutions. I will research those more thoroughly. I have the time to make the right steps.

My neighbor Martin who owns this table s away visiting his son during these holidays. I will do the research prior to talking with him when he returns. I will present him some options of how I can proceed with refinishing his table. For instance, I have seen a product on YouTube that appears that you brush on this product which allows you to apply a stain over it. I believe though it would cover any grain that you might have wanted to show through. I would prefer to have this grain pattern show through. If you look closely at the above photo you can detect the triangular shape designed in this table top.

I also want to state that I do own some of Charles Neil’s Blotch Control concentrate. I just received it. I have not used any of this product so I do not any experience with it. If I was expecting to have this top display more blotchiness (which I think I can expect) I could apply a coat of this blotch control product. I doubt it would cover or control the existing dark spots that I can see while the top is dry. It might be a good thing for me ask Charles his opinion on my situation. He might answer me since I have become a member of his online woodworking instruction. I will write him an email asking for his help on this. It won’t hurt to ask.

Thank you all for your help…

-- --- Happy Howie

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HappyHowie

465 posts in 1909 days


#11 posted 12-30-2016 02:42 PM

I did some reading last night. I found three articles that I studied. Their links are provided below

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/bleaching-wood

http://www.antiquerestorers.com/Articles/jeff/using_wood_bleach.htm

https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/strippers-removers/oxalic-acid-wood-bleach/

I was reaching a conclusion that I should use swimming pool bleach to clean my surface on this table top. However, I also wrote Charles Neal. I reviewed what I had done to date and provided photograph images. I asked him for his help. I had a short reply waiting for me this morning from Charles. He wrote: “will be later this afternoon before i get to this, but don’t bleach it”. I replied: “Take all the time you need. I am happy you are willing to help me.

I will wait to see what he has to say.

-- --- Happy Howie

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