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You and Dye

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Blog entry by thewoodwhisperer posted 1245 days ago 5709 reads 10 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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Its all about dye, “Wood Whisperer Style”. My goal with this video is to grossly simplify the confusing world of dyes, while also giving you the knowledge you need to determine the working characteristics of any dye just by looking at the ingredients list or MSDS. We’ll discuss the different types of dyes, how to apply them, and we’ll even get into the chemistry behind water-based finishes and a key family of solvents known as glycol ethers. Knowledge is power!

This video was pulled from the Guild Archive and was re-mastered for your viewing pleasure. If you want to see more DVD quality videos like this one, consider joining the Guild!

Products Used

General Finishes Water Based Stain, ReducerGeneral Finishes Water Based Stain, Reducer
Add some life to your next project with these unique, water based, ultra penetrating stains. Designed to work like solvent-based stains, they feature deep rich tones that enhance the wood grain

General Finishes Water Based Stain, Reducer

TransTint® DyesTransTint® Dyes
Concentrated dye solution makes it easy to apply beautiful color to your projects. Dissolves in water, alcohol and oil!

TransTint® Dyes

Homestead Powdered DyesHomestead Powdered Dyes
Soluble in water. 1 oz. Because these dyes contain no fillers or extenders, a one ounce packet of dye makes two quarts of stain. Can be applied with brush, cloth or spraying. Color steadfast.

Homestead Powdered Dyes

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out http://www.TheWoodWhisperer.com



22 comments so far

View bubbyboy's profile

bubbyboy

137 posts in 1318 days


#1 posted 1245 days ago

Thanks Marc for the great and informative video. I am currently finishing up a mantle clock and trying to decide on a finsh. I do not have much practice with finishes other than clear spray. The clock is made from cherry and the stains that I have been experimenting with all seem to turn the exposed end grains almost black. I was wondering if dyes limit this effect or if they act like any other stains as far as the end grain goes. I have tried many different stains, on cherry scraps but have not been happy with the darkening. What I am looking for is to darken the cherry a little to the brown side without turning the edge and end grains so dark. Thanks for all your videos, I like many, find them very informative and appreciate the time you put in to make and post them.

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

View thewoodwhisperer's profile

thewoodwhisperer

601 posts in 2809 days


#2 posted 1245 days ago

Thanks bubbyboy. Endgrain is pretty much always going to be a problem for any coloring agent, including dye. If the dye is added in very light coats, like toner, you can sometimes get a relatively even coloring effect. This is because the color wind up drying near the surface instead being absorbed deeply as it is in a regular stain or dye application.

So aside from that, there are a few things you can do. One is to sand the exposed end grain about 2 levels higher than the rest of the piece. If you sanded to 220, consider sanding the end grain to 400 grit. Then I would recommend you use a pre-stain conditioner. Specifically, use Charles Neil's Blotch Control. This stuff is like miracle juice for staining and should help even out the color in the end grain. If you are curious, I wrote a little review of the blotch control formula here.

Hope that helps.

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out http://www.TheWoodWhisperer.com

View Vasko's profile

Vasko

271 posts in 1312 days


#3 posted 1244 days ago

I want to say thanks, too. I’m eager to experiment with dye, and your video is very helpful and motivational. I had a few questions I hope you can address –
Does the dye (powder or liquid) have to be used at the recommended strength, or can it be diluted for a subtle tint? Also, if finishing with an oil base – in my case Varathane satin poly urethane – should I still do a seal coat of shellac?

I love your videos, and I appreciate the professional level in which they are presented. Great stuff!

Thanks!

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

View thewoodwhisperer's profile

thewoodwhisperer

601 posts in 2809 days


#4 posted 1244 days ago

Hey Cindy. Think of dye like sugar. You can have any degree of sweetness that you like. So if you just want a hint of color, only add a little bit of dye to the solvent. But if you want the full-on color, try it at full recommended strength. As for the seal coat, you can probably skip it. Just be gentle when applying that first coat. And its probably not a bad idea to apply the coat fairly thin (thin 50% with mineral spirits) so it soaks in deep and dries quickly.

And thanks for the kind words. Very much appreciated!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out http://www.TheWoodWhisperer.com

View bubbyboy's profile

bubbyboy

137 posts in 1318 days


#5 posted 1244 days ago

Hey Marc, Thanks so much for your insight I very much appreciate it, and know what I will be playing with this weekend. I enjoy your web site and videos very much and vote to have you on TV on a full time basis, as I am sure many others agree with me. WOOD WHISPERER 5 days a week ah if only! DVR would be set, Thanks again. Ron

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

View Roger's profile

Roger

14318 posts in 1429 days


#6 posted 1244 days ago

very good… appreciate the info

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View chrisstef's profile (online now)

chrisstef

10629 posts in 1632 days


#7 posted 1244 days ago

Marc,

You couldnt have posted this at a better time! Working on a cypress entry bench i had planned on using general finishes dye stain to give it a medium to dark brown color. Once again you cleared up some of the mysteries involved and explained it in an easy to understand way while providing the science behind it. Thanks for your expertise once again!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Vasko's profile

Vasko

271 posts in 1312 days


#8 posted 1243 days ago

Thanks Marc ~ I agree, you need to be on TV. I don’t have cable, so I’m glad you’re online!

-- - Cindy, texture freak -

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14878 posts in 1814 days


#9 posted 1243 days ago

I agree, Thx Marc as always your a big help! I have just started working with dyes from Trans Tint on an Entertainment Center I am building for a new TV….

Should I wet sand to raise the grain before applying wood conditioner to prevent blotching? I’m using Ash plywood for the case & Knotty Alder for top, doors drawer ect ect. It’s my understanding both have a tendency to blotch. I have an HVLP which I will use to spray the stain on with. I really like the color of mixing the brown with orange….

Again thank-you for all you do for fellow Woodworkers. Are you going to be a the show in Vegas in July? Would love to meet you or buy you a drink!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View thewoodwhisperer's profile

thewoodwhisperer

601 posts in 2809 days


#10 posted 1242 days ago

If your products are water-based, then yes, you should definitely pre-raise the grain. I prefer to mist the surface with a spray bottle of water, while wiping the excess with a cotton cloth or paper towel. let it dry, then sand back with 220 or 320. And yes, you are a good candidate for some sort of blotch prevention. You are working with two of the most blotchy woods I know! Good luck!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out http://www.TheWoodWhisperer.com

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14878 posts in 1814 days


#11 posted 1242 days ago

Thx Marc, got 2 raised panel doors made and the drawer face along with the drawer box with locking dados ready for glue up. I will pre-raise the grain as suggested in your video. I will be ordering Charles Niel’s blotch control as well. Thx

You going to the Vegas show?

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5077 posts in 2338 days


#12 posted 1242 days ago

Great information well presented, thank you. I have a project percolating in the back of my head which absolutely will require using dyes, I will certainly store away the information you presented here when I finally figure out how I am going to do the project.

-- "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 Dchip's profile

Dchip

267 posts in 1877 days


#13 posted 1242 days ago

Hi Marc,
Great video, I appreciate all the info. Regarding the common line for Transtint that it “works with just about any finish”, what is the group of finishes excluded by this? Oil-based poly?
Thanks,
Dan

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC, http://www.9x7woodworks.com

View Karson's profile (online now)

Karson

34870 posts in 3026 days


#14 posted 1242 days ago

Marc: Thanks for the video. Some very interesting points that youve made.;

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View thewoodwhisperer's profile

thewoodwhisperer

601 posts in 2809 days


#15 posted 1242 days ago

According to the labeling Dan, it shouldn’t be mixed with anything thinned with mineral spirits. I honestly didn’t know this at the time of filming because I never really add color with oil-based finishes. Had I known, I would have made it much clearer in the video.

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out http://www.TheWoodWhisperer.com

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