Primary Colors #1: This IS my first rodeo

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Blog entry by newTim posted 08-01-2011 05:18 AM 1596 reads 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Primary Colors series Part 2: Guilt by association »

A little arts and crafts on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at dyeing and tinting for a while so in typical New California Workshop style I jumped right in. In this round I’m using TransTint dyes from Woodcraft mixed in water. You can see my calculations written on the paper. I diluted about a half an ounce of tint into about 16 ounces of water. I just used bottled water and spilled out a little to approximate 16 ounces. I made up some samples from tiger maple sanded to 180. The first round is at the top closest to the tint. I immediately noticed that the lighter colors went on without much blotching. It seems the darker the color, the greater the blotching. The top row was applied with a foam brush and wiped off with a t-shirt rag. The bottom row was an attempt to avoid blotching. I used a clean t-shirt rag to apply the dye and wiped it off right away.

Its pretty clear I’ve got a lot to learn and am looking for any and all suggestions. Should be fun.

-- tim hill

7 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3769 days

#1 posted 08-01-2011 05:56 AM

I have a project in mind that will use tints, it will be interesting to follow your progress. Some of the colours you are getting are pretty close to what I need, I may have to follow in your experimental footsteps.

Would shellacing the samples beforehand stop the tints from colouring the wood? I understand that shellac is often used to control blotching, so I was wondering how it would affect the colour?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3364 days

#2 posted 08-01-2011 06:01 AM

I bought a couple of bottles of the same dye but have not used them yet…The samples you did look good and I should try using mine after seeing your results.

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4144 days

#3 posted 08-01-2011 11:39 AM

2 things you can try to minimize splotching – a wash coat (1# cut) of shellac and then sand off the raised grain or a thin coat of boiled linseed oil.
Have fun with your experiment.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2860 days

#4 posted 08-01-2011 01:44 PM

very kool. great information.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3042 days

#5 posted 08-01-2011 02:26 PM

I used the shellac trick to avoid blotching and it works REALLY well. :)

love those colours!

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3293 days

#6 posted 08-01-2011 02:34 PM

I use trans-tint dyes on tiger maple all the time for my gunstocks. The two things that improve the look of the finished product is to start with wood that’s sanded to a very fine finish. 320 grit or finer. Then use denatured alcohol to minimize raising the grain and don’t even think about looking at the finish till you’ve sanded again with finer grain sandpaper and put on at least one coat of tung oil thinned with 50% thinner or mineral spirits. The oil pops the grain like you won’t believe till you try it. Trifern has a bunch of projects that inspired my experiments. I usually start with black dye, sand almost all of it off, then use a light brown dye, sand till I like the colors, and finish with a very light golden yellow dye to highlight the rays of grain that run through the maple. Trifern has a blog post with details on how he dyes his projects.

You can also use Ritt dye that you get at the grocery store to experiment with dying. It’s $2 a box for enough powder to tint a huge pile of wood. I use denatured alcohol instead of water with Ritt powder and filter it with a coffee filter because there will almost always be a few crystals of dye that don’t disolve and make spots on the wood.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View newTim's profile


608 posts in 3663 days

#7 posted 08-04-2011 06:18 PM

Thanks all. I’ve been experimenting all week and will post an updated this weekend. I havn’t yet tried the #1 cut shellac. Lots of videos and stuff touting it. Stay tuned…

-- tim hill

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