What do you guys recommend for wood dyes and grinder?

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Forum topic by Biggamefish posted 02-08-2016 03:55 PM 1029 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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58 posts in 1383 days

02-08-2016 03:55 PM

This is a multi part question. I tried to dye some wood with some dye and it came out super splotchy. It wasn’t a water based dye. I am just looking to see what you guys have had good luck with?

I also need a grinder to sharpen my chisels. I don’t want to go super high end. Looking to spend 100-200 dollars

I have heard people using ones from harbor freight? What are your suggestions?

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14 replies so far

View OSU55's profile


1625 posts in 1952 days

#1 posted 02-08-2016 04:58 PM

I use Transtint dyes. Can be mixed with water, alcohol, lacquer. I mix with Target WR4000 stain base but any wb stainbase or finish can be used. I use Lockwood oil base dyes mixed into varnish for a 1step “oil” finish like watco for some lathe work. Blotching is addressed with glue sizing. I use elmers glue all mixed 4-8 parts water tp 1 part glue. Sand to 220 or higher, flodd surface with sizing until absorption stops ~ 5 min. Let dry, lightly sand raised grain with next higher grit, dye or stain. Test each type of wood for sizing reduction.

Any grinder or belt sander can work. Its only used for the primary bevel. Honing by hand provides the finished sharp edge. Look in my blog for how I hone chisels and plane blades.

View Wildwood's profile


2297 posts in 2098 days

#2 posted 02-08-2016 05:01 PM

I would stay away from Harbor Freight grinders. Buy locally if have problem easier to exchange or get a refund.

If have a Woodcraft store near you their 8” ½ HP grinder is very popular when on sale for $100. That grinder comes with two white friable wheels.

Lowes sells a Dewalt & Delta 8” grinders for $130. Will have to buy some friable wheels eventually. Have to shop for sales or best price whether in your town or online.!

Learning curve to dying wood. If trying to dye wood species known to blotch might be better off using sealer first. Also depends upon color want to use, do you want to see grain/figure in wood? Buy a transparent dye, if don’t care about grain/figure buy an opaque dye. Water mix dye is supposed to be more color fast than alcohol mixed dyes. That could be debated water mix will raise the grain and might need light sanding & another coat of dye. Alcohol mix not supposed to raise the grain but sometimes does.

Turners use food, iink, leather, or trans-tint dyes. Don’t worry about dyes listed as Aniline stopped making dyes with aniline due to health concerns.

For small projects have had good luck with Dr. Martins Bombay India’s ink. For larger projects have used shoe dyes. Only reason no mixing & can buy locally.

-- Bill

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4949 posts in 2456 days

#3 posted 02-08-2016 05:43 PM

The woodcraft (Rikon) grinder is the one you want. As for dyes, I’ve tried a few brands and noticed very little difference between the way they colored the wood. Transtint is the only liquid one I’ve tried, and that is useful (being liquid) in some cases like tinting shellac and using alcohol as the carrier. But I prefer the powder dyes and that is what I’ve used most. I’m guessing your “super splotchy” is just uneven coloring (more dye in one area than the next). If that is the situation, an easy solution is to spray it on….if you have the equipment. Otherwise it’s a matter of honing your application technique. One thing about them, they can be manipulated after they are dried. Wiping them with a damp sponge lightens them up, and applying more dye darkens them.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Woodknack's profile


11478 posts in 2343 days

#4 posted 02-08-2016 07:49 PM

I have the 8” Powertec which is the same grinder Rikon sells, it’s okay. It runs at 1750 and I sometimes wish for lower speed. In retrospect, I’d rather have something other than a bench grinder, like a sander or dedicated sharpening machine but I snagged the Powertec on sale for $50 and it was a good purchase at that price.

-- Rick M,

View bigJohninvegas's profile


435 posts in 1425 days

#5 posted 02-11-2016 06:38 PM

I use the delta 8” variable speed grinder from my local Lowe’s. About $129.00
Wolverine jig, and a 180 grit CBN wheel I got from
A bit outside the budget you mentioned for all of it.
I started out using the grinding wheels that came with the grinder.
Was looking for a CBN wheel and found a few post here about wood turners wonder. Best price I have seen on them and it works perfect.
The only dyes I’ve used so far are the chestnut spirit stains.
So far I have only used it on curly maple.
I have had trouble with blotchy patches when using other wood stains like minwax on soft wood like pine before.

-- John

View OSU55's profile


1625 posts in 1952 days

#6 posted 02-11-2016 09:34 PM

Sharpening turning chisels not flat chisels – slow speed 10” grinder like the Rikon and wolverine or similar jig. I use a griz wet grinder and a 6” dry grinder with Tormek jigs, but I got there in steps – starting over with no tools and the knowledge I have now, definitely the slow speed grinder and jig.

View HapHazzard's profile


116 posts in 831 days

#7 posted 02-13-2016 02:37 PM

I recently picked up a Grizzly 10” wet grinder. I had been drooling over the Tormeks on amazon for a while, so I was surprised to see that the Grizzly was so much less. I was even more surprised to find that they were even less if you buy them direct from Grizzly, and when I saw that they had their “anniversary model” on sale for well under $200 I had to go for it.

It can use all the Tormek jigs ,and they make a few nice jigs of their own, but so far I’ve just been making what I need and sharpening everything from turning tools to kitchen knives.

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3540 days

#8 posted 02-13-2016 02:45 PM

I use General finishes dye/stain and Charles Neils blotch control.
That’s what I used on this,it’s made from pine that can be very blotchy.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3540 days

#9 posted 02-13-2016 02:51 PM

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3094 days

#10 posted 02-13-2016 03:02 PM

My preference is water soluble aniline powdered dyes. Much easier to apply evenly than alcohol based dyes.

-- Gerry,

View Kelly's profile


1994 posts in 2907 days

#11 posted 03-13-2016 11:13 PM

I have an old Delta 1” sander I use for my turning knives. I use a fine sandpaper because I don’t want to take off a lot, just to touch up. For chisels, I get on and off QUICK.

No matter what you get, slow and repeatability are key. Slower speeds will reduce the probability of damage to tempering.

A jig to insure you don’t shift even a degree will allow you to get done quicker and to the sharpest edge you can. For example, my pocket knife push cuts paper after each sharpening (very high quality steel holds that over-sharpened edge well), because my EdgePro sharpener allows me to repeat what I did before. (Putting a little felt tip on the edge and taking it off allows me to be sure I’m doing what I want to do.)

On a side note, I acquired a 3/4 hp DC servo motor and reversible controller that allows me to adjust speed from zero to four thousand RPM. Once mounted on my four disk grinding center, I should be able to sharpen knife and chisel steel without too much concern for over heating.

If you’d ever consider this, think in terms of industrial sewing machine motors and controllers, which only run around a hundred bucks.

View oldwood's profile


132 posts in 1207 days

#12 posted 03-14-2016 02:43 AM

Was going wait until I could post some pictures but this is a good answer to the dye question.
Fabric dye, the powdered type. I use two brands that the fabric and hobby stores carry. Mix as per direction, then play with shades by varying the ratio of dye to water and by mixing colors. Give a bright, clear color that does not hide the features of the wood. I normally spray couple coats of shellac and finish with lacquer or poly. Usually sand up to 350 or 400, higher doesn’t seem to add much.
Would like to hear from others who use this.

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3540 days

#13 posted 03-14-2016 03:39 AM

Sorry to disagree but fabric dye is not colorfast on most wood,I’ve had some students try it thinking they were saving money and after a relatively short time those colors fades big time.
Transtint dyes,aniline powdered dyes.Lockwood powder dyes,general finish dyes are far superior and last longer.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View loiblb's profile


142 posts in 1019 days

#14 posted 03-14-2016 03:09 PM

Transfast powder stains work well.
I have a grinder and Worksharp 3000 and the Tormec t7 but love this little Belsaw 1”x42” belt sharpener I can run 1” x 42” leather Belts and 1”x42” 3M 2000, 1400,800,400 Trizact belts
It is fast and belts change easy. The others gather dust.

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