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Watercolor Dye Technique #2: New Lessons Learned from "Facets"

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 02-03-2011 10:51 PM 4472 reads 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: General Concept Part 2 of Watercolor Dye Technique series Part 3: Tips and Tricks I've Learned »

The biggest and most dramatic new lesson I learned from the “Facets” project’s dyeing was the huge dimensional movement that you can get when you wet out this particular kind of veneer work. The most important thing learned from that experience is that if the pieces fit when you cut them they can be made to fit again, no matter how far out of whack they may seem to have gotten. It’s only water and all you have to do is restore their original moisture balance. This can be done with a spray bottle or a hair dryer, depending on which way you have to go. This is well documented here: http://lumberjocks.com/shipwright/blog/20211 so there’s no need to go over it again now.

The new area I wanted to experiment with in “Facets” was detailing within a color in a single piece. The big maple leaf on top was the subject. First of all I gave the whole leaf a wash of the shade of green I wanted for background color.

Then I applied a darker shade and even some black “wet on dry”to form curled up details in some of the tips and edges. I found that if I held a hair dryer with it’s hot air aimed at the brush I could keep a quite bleed free line. I decided to try this after the leaves in “Cabinetree” showed me that I really didn’t have to use the walnut bits to show dark edges.

Here it’s about 1/2 done and you can see some of the detail is coming along nicely. Wet on dry lines that follow the grain work quite well even without the dryer.

In this photo the pieces are assembled into their backgrounds and adhered to their substrates but have suffered from the washing out that resulted from the dimensional stability problem. Now I had to see if the work could be repaired post assembly. I suppose I should explain the caterpillar. When I was double bevel cutting the corner pieces into the leaf center piece, I accidentally made the cut for the larger top right corner in the bottom left. The caterpillar covers most of the boo boo.

He had to be hand cut in and created his own dying challenges.

Since I wanted to darken the background color anyway, I decided to test the barrier qualities of the glue line with that color before going on to the leaf repairs. The last time I tried this the glue line was CA glue and did not present any barrier at all to dye bleeding. This was a different glue line. Firstly it was urea formaldehyde glue and secondly it had been vacuum bagged, probably giving it a better fill between the pieces. At any rate the glue line held as you can see in this photo. Once I knew this it was just a matter of repeating the previous steps albeit more carefully to re-create the lost detail. The whole process seems to be amazingly forgiving.

I chose to make a butterfly for the lift handle and dyed it with a simple wet on dry system. I discovered later that I could have done the fine detail after the first bit of poly and gotten better lines, but I don’t mind this.

Here’s a finished shot of the leaf panels with finish applied. The colors in the piece actually look more vibrant that they do in the photos but the extreme gloss and the many planes make it very hard to photograph.

That’s it for this segment. Hope I’ve cleared up a little more of the mystery here and that some of you will jump in and clear up some more of it.

I’ll do one more segment to discuss a few observations and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

For now Thanks for enduring and let’s see some of you dyeing stuff.

Thanks again

Paul

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/



13 comments so far

View Hoakie's profile

Hoakie

306 posts in 2691 days


#1 posted 02-03-2011 11:46 PM

That is an outstanding piece. I’ve been working on shop projects as of late but have some ideas for my next dye project. I will definitely keep your techniques in mind.

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

View degoose's profile

degoose

7013 posts in 2010 days


#2 posted 02-03-2011 11:56 PM

Very informative..

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View mickyd's profile

mickyd

31 posts in 1793 days


#3 posted 02-04-2011 05:29 AM

Great recap Paul. Excellent documentation. Thanks. I’ll try your technique at some point in the future.

I know that you’ve worked around the obsticle of the dimensional changes due to the water based dye. Is there a dying process that doesn’t involve water based materials?

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4971 posts in 1453 days


#4 posted 02-04-2011 06:07 AM

I haven’t checked. I’m having too much fun with this one right now. I’ll look into it.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2503 posts in 1432 days


#5 posted 02-04-2011 03:49 PM

Some ideas in the photography, and using a flash, try putting a bar towel or piece of paper over the flash to take away the glare. Otherwise, try a soft light and use a tripod with a longer exposure on a higher f stop. Also, by taking the picture at a farther distance and zooming in may help.

The piece as it looks is great as it is.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4971 posts in 1453 days


#6 posted 02-04-2011 06:08 PM

The final photos were done professionally in a studio. He tried all that and more.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View Pop's profile

Pop

419 posts in 2601 days


#7 posted 02-04-2011 06:16 PM

Congratulations Paul, on a wonderful piece of work. I was a graphic designer of a few years and I’m here to tell you that this project is not just woodworking it’s also a very nice design project and your work isn’t just woodwork it’s art.

Pop

-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2503 posts in 1432 days


#8 posted 02-04-2011 07:05 PM

Paul, anytime you can make something that a profesional photographer has a hard time getting a good shot from the gloss, it speaks for itself. Better than I can do.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 2902 days


#9 posted 02-04-2011 10:12 PM

Very beautiful.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View sawblade1's profile

sawblade1

754 posts in 1682 days


#10 posted 02-04-2011 10:20 PM

Beautiful work :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path elmerthomas81@neo.rr.com

View shouldwood's profile

shouldwood

42 posts in 2813 days


#11 posted 02-04-2011 10:25 PM

Man, creativity just oozes out of this club. Never saw such talent before. Thought this was the beautiful things only found in finest art galleries.
Beautiful.

View Hoakie's profile

Hoakie

306 posts in 2691 days


#12 posted 02-04-2011 10:29 PM

Is there a dying process that doesn’t involve water based materials?

I believe the powder dyes I used on my inlay sailboat project said I could dilute them in water or denatured alcohol. I imagine the alcohol would not cause the wood to swell as much. I opted for water dilution so I it is hard for me to say. For my project I stained the wood first and let it dry then cut out the template so it wasn’t that big of an issue.

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4971 posts in 1453 days


#13 posted 02-04-2011 10:49 PM

That’s standard for aniline dyes. You can dilute / dissolve in water, methyl alcohol (methyl hydrate), ethyl alcohol (denatured, vodka etc.), isopropyl alcohol or a combination. All have different properties, mostly to do with drying time but also with wicking and workability in this context.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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