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Forum topic by highflyer posted 12-07-2009 04:30 PM 1050 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 3141 days

12-07-2009 04:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question trick

Hello all. In an issue of woodsmith magazine I had once read an article published about stain. The stain they were making they had used koolaid as the stain color. This was the non-sugar packets of koolaid of course. I have gone back through quite a few issues to try and find this but with no luck so far. If any LJ’s out there have any idea or know about what I’m talking about to give me a hand it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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11 posts in 3205 days

#1 posted 12-14-2009 10:05 AM

Tom’s Workbench has an interesting (if not exactly scientific) post about a test he did with various “alternative” stains, including Kool-Aid. I wouldn’t be discouraged by his results. Different colors may get absorbed differently, and playing with solution ratios or adding a mild acid might improve the outcome significantly.

Personally, I’ve never used Kool-Aid, but I have used red wines. Just the other day I stained a carved heart I’d made for my daughter with some Zinfandel.

I’ve only used it for whittling/carving projects, as an accent color in grooves and chip-outs (almost always on poplar). I do my final filing and sanding, and then I burnish the piece with stainless steel (dowels and screwdriver handles). But I’m careful NOT to burnish the recessed surfaces that I plan to color.

That may be a problem with the Kool-Aid. The color may only absorb well into ragged grain. Which is a property of most dry red wines, and one that I find to be a benefit: that is, it’s not easily absorbed by a burnished wood surface.

Depends on how rigorous the burnishing was, of course, and how tight the grain is to begin with, etc. But I mostly carve poplar, and I can liberally soak the grooves using the full head of a standard Q-Tip, and the wine will only actually wick into the “ragged” grain of the grooves, leaving the burnished surface uncolored by the overflow.

Now, you do have to wipe the excess off reasonably quickly. If I leave it on there for more than a couple of minutes, it will (more than likely) slightly tint the surface. So it’s dip, apply, wipe the surface, wait a few minutes for the residual to soak into the chip-out or whatever; repeat as necessary. That is, until you get the depth of color you want. Of course, the “few minutes” gets longer and longer as your tint gets darker and darker. Red wines can give you a range anywhere from pale and uniquely subtle pinks, to purple heart type shades, to very dramatic blackish-reds.

Once the project’s colored just right, I always seal it, because the wine will fade (some varieties more quickly than others) or tend to get blotchy. Not sure about Kool-Aid. With Kool-Aid, I might worry more about moisture and color transfer. After the wine’s dried, I usually either rub the piece with a little diluted sizing or some Formby’s tung oil mix, and then rub on some paste wax. Occasionally I’ve topped it off with a couple of thin coats of polyurethane instead.

I like using wine every so often, because it gives me a relatively quick and very controllable way to tint and create contrast, without using paint. I’m not a paint person. Plus, even good wine’s cheaper than good commercial stain. :-)

At any rate, good luck with the Kool-Aid. Please post any results if you can; I’m always looking for different ways to color my projects.

-- Chips and beer.

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