H2O versus NGR dyes - why bother with water based?

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Forum topic by JayPique posted 04-02-2010 05:50 PM 2804 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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61 posts in 3257 days

04-02-2010 05:50 PM

So I’ve just started using some WD Lockwood and Gemini Coatings dyes and have found myself in the middle of a color matching nightmare from which I’m slowly recovering. My question is why bother with water based stuff? What with all the grain raising and sanding and potential for additional grain raising after application it seems like alcohol or oil based stuff would be the way to go. Am I missing something other than the environmental and potential health benefits? Thanks.


PS – Also, can anyone tell me how I can track and search for only messages that I’ve posted? I feel like I post to a topic and then can’t find it again. Thanks.

6 replies so far

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#1 posted 04-02-2010 05:56 PM

As to the second question, look in the upper right of the screen. You’ll see a folder tab with your icon and “My Lumberjocks” on it. Click on this, and you’ll get a dropdown menu with My Home, My Projects, My Blog, My Reviews, etc. Click on My Home and you’ll see a list of your posts.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View tbone's profile


276 posts in 3653 days

#2 posted 04-02-2010 07:32 PM

First part of question: I agree with you on the water-based products. BUT, I just used water-based dye on a cedar chest without raising the grain noticeably. However, working with white oak is a real pain in ash!
I also suspect that you are about to find out that there are almost as many finishing methods as there are woodworkers. None of them are wrong—as long as there is some sort of protection on the wood.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

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159 posts in 3012 days

#3 posted 04-02-2010 08:16 PM

Jay, I like water soluble dyes because I can also through some in my waterbased clears and make toners. In general, water soluble dyes are more light fast then dyes that dissolve in alcohol or oil, but they can present grain raising, and also don’t sink in as well as alcohol or oil based;wap2 . While I really liked the results from Behlen’s NCR dyes, the water based are much cheaper.

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1074 posts in 3100 days

#4 posted 04-02-2010 08:58 PM

Alcohol soluble aniline dye is a nightmare to use on larger pieces. It dries so fast that it’s almost impossible to get en even color.

With water soluble dye, I don’t bother to raise the grain. I start with a heavy coat of water based poly, and the first sanding removes any raised grain. One or two more coats and I’m done.

-- Gerry,

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61 posts in 3257 days

#5 posted 04-02-2010 09:32 PM

Thanks for all the replies – I’m learning a lot. I mostly spray with and HVLP turbine so it might be a bit easier to get consistent color from alcohol based dyes. I’m curious about the heavy coat of water based poly to start – do you use the h2o dye right in the poly to start – like a toner? I’m wondering about the “depth” of finish that way I guess. I dunno….experience will tell.

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3100 days

#6 posted 04-02-2010 10:00 PM

No, dye first, and let dry before spraying the poly. See my kitchen in my Projects for an example.

Spraying the alcohol dye is a much better way to apply it. I tried wiping it on.

-- Gerry,

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