Toner questions???

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Forum topic by , posted 03-30-2010 07:16 PM 1359 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 3572 days

03-30-2010 07:16 PM

We are still growing a lot in our finish department. A couple of days ago I sprayed some toner on some doors, mainly because they took the stain lighter then all of the other doors, I was wanting to get them darker, more in the brown area though. I had on hand some “mohawk” dye that could mix into lacquer and thus I tried this. The doors finished out as dark as I needed but a lot of red ended up in the finish. So now I will probably be rebuilding those couple of doors. No problem with that though.

I did notice the toner coat really evened out the color and made the doors look very very nice. I was very impressed with the result even if it was not in the same color I was looking for. So I want to work more with toners in my future projects, especially my maple projects.

My question is, what brands of toner do you all use. What are the names of the primary colors? For example, if I am attempting to achieve a dark color with rich red tones, then what is the name of that color in what brand? I use Sherwin Williams for all of my products but my contact their advised me the dye they carry will not mix in lacquer. I think he is just not knowledgeable about this but I am sure they carry or can obtain a dye that will mix into my lacquer finish. The “mohawk” dye I had on hand had the word “brown” in the name but turned my work red. So the name evidentally does not coincide with the end result.

Could someone please help me with brand names and color name samples.

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4 replies so far

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3225 days

#1 posted 03-31-2010 02:31 AM

Sorry, I’m only familiar with toners used as water repellents. Like for treated lumber, made by Olympic.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3505 days

#2 posted 03-31-2010 02:36 AM

I have used TransTint dye sold at Rockler. It can be mixed with either water or alcohol. I used alcohol. The last project I used it on is the mission clock in my gallery. I mixed dark mission brown and red to get a rich brown color with a hint of red. I applied it, then cover that with Minwax dark walnut oil stain to achieve the color that is shown.

I was after the Stickley look. I am not sure if I obtained it or not, but the color turned out nice :-)

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View barryvabeach's profile


159 posts in 3069 days

#3 posted 03-31-2010 03:06 AM

Jerry, Transtint isn’t the cheapest way to go, but it can be used with solvent lacquers as well as waterborne. I use mostly waterborne topcoats, and I use waterbased dyes to make toners. I have used lockwood ( sold by TFWW ) and Transfast – sold at Woodcraft. What you need to do is buy 2 color wheels -you can get a basic one at any local art supply store, and it shows you general color theory – such as green when added to red makes brown. It would also help to get a woodworking wheel – here is what it looks like,, though I don’t know who else carries it. The names given by the manufacturers aren’t much help since cherry from one won’t look at all like cherry from another and you are right, the name that they list doesn’t mean anything ( though I have found if they offer a brown mahogany and a red mahogany, the red mahogany is in fact redder than the brown mahogany – but in no way does it look like the color sample put out by the manufacturer. In terms of color, though, there are some basic rules – such as adding green will tend to make red more brown, adding blue will tend to make the color cooler. I buy a few basic dyes such as mahogany and walnut, then buy some other colors such as green, red, black and blue, and make really small samples – 2 tablespoons mahogany plus 1/4 teaspoon green – and see if that is the right shade, if not – I change it up a bit till I get close. I am not any good at this, but I know from people who are excellent, the main 2 things are to make lots of samples, and take lots of notes of each recipe ( include brand names, amounts, etc. )so you know how to reproduce each thing you did. It helps if you have an eye for color, which I don’t, but it isn’t necessary, you will just end up making more samples, but should eventually get what you want. Once you get something you are happy with, try to keep a scrap with that, so you can reproduce it later, even if you have to use dyes from another company. Final point, the light makes a difference. You could stain a leaf so that it is an exact match to you table in the shop, under flourescent light, but at a home under incandescent, or even a diff temp flourescent, it may stand out like a sore thumb – so it is best to try to duplicate the light where the piece will end up when you are mixing the color..

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2387 posts in 3572 days

#4 posted 03-31-2010 10:44 PM

Thanks for the help. I have never really liked playing with dye because of the challenge it presents. I do have some minimal experience though. The color wheel looks to be a nice addition to my small collection of toys.

The thing I really enjoyed the other day when using the toner was seeing how even the color on the door was after the toner.

For those that use Transtint dye, buy at Home Stead and you will get a much better deal.

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