TransTints- color- stains

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Forum topic by 305Tuna posted 06-11-2010 05:38 AM 3726 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 3416 days

06-11-2010 05:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

Has anyone used trans tints on any of there projects? It says you can mix these with water or Alcohol. Since I don’t want to raise the grain I will try the alcohol. Are they hard to get even? What is the best application method? After staining and and a coat of sanding sealer, I want to use a glaze to pop the grain. Can I use the same procedure that I use with an oil stain like Zar? Thanks.
Tuna 305

11 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117416 posts in 3811 days

#1 posted 06-11-2010 06:26 AM

Here’s who can give you the whole low down.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlesNeil's profile


2468 posts in 4105 days

#2 posted 06-11-2010 02:46 PM

tuna, trans tint is basically a water/alcohol soluble pigment, when mixed with either it dissolves, so its a pure dye, alcohol dries fast, water slower, so to get it even, depends on your ability to apply it, but dyes sure do a nice job of coloring, the best way I have found to apply a dye is saturation simply put.. drown it, sounds crazy I know , the problem with a dye is it is so strong and being so thin it is readily absorbed by the wood, so the issue becomes if you get one spot wetter than another you have uneven color , when I mix my dye, I mix it so I can put it on super wet, again basically soak the wood with it, when the wood is saturated the color is even, or better put not affected by wiping , spraying a dye if you can spray well works super , because you can control the amount of color you lay down, think of it like filling a hole in the ground with a sifter ( spray) and wiping ( shovel) , you can try ,but wiping a super even coat on wood isn’t as easy as it sounds, because of absorption , and with a dye if you over lap an area you just doubled the color strength, things like soaking the wood with the solvent base ( ie: water /alcohol) helps some, but because the dye is soluble by the same solvent it can also thin it out cause it to migrate in deeper,with an alcohol base , wiping the wood with some mineral spirits prior to dying,will also allow you some work time, so again for me if you are wiping ,get it wet, I like to take a stain application pad, soak it with the dye, squeeze it out, wipe a very light coat of dye on the surface as fast as possible ( do it piece X piece ,or section by section) , then get the pad wet and quickly wet the entire area , then with a separate cloth wipe it back, if it looks uneven immediately wipe it some more with the dye or use a cloth wet with the same solvent and even it out, do not let it dry , the key is to work it wet, in the initial application as long as it is saturated and wet its workable, this works well for woods that do not blotch, blotch prone woods are a different animal, here we have to do some sort of prestain, and in this case soaking the wood is not a good idea, because it can penetrate the barrier coat , so light applications , is the key here, but your oak isn’t a blotch prone wood so all you want is a good wet coat applied evenly and wet, what you see when its wet is pretty close to what you will see when its top coated, Dyes dry looking horrible, the topcoat brings them back, a common mistake with dyes is they dry fast and typically look very light in color, so folks think they messed up and wipe it again, you just added more color, typically dyes , unlike stains one coat is one color , 2 is double the strength, , you can also put as many coats of a dye on as you want, as it has no binders, like a stain, building up coats of stain is not a good idea, the binders in them is not strong enough to bond heavy layers together and can cause an adhesion issue, but that’s another issue,
once the dye has dried and you have sealed it , using a stain to glaze the color is an excellent Idea,
I know , far more than you wanted to know, but

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3471 days

#3 posted 06-11-2010 03:28 PM

Check out some of trifern’s turnings. His work is fantastic.

Here’s one of my projects that’s made from birds eye maple. Without the dye, the grain isn’t as spectacular.

It’s harder to color laminated gunstocks that have woods darker than maple, becuase the dye also changes the color of everything. A lot of trial and error is needed to get the color you want without messing up anything else. So far I’ve had my best result with maple and also my worst result! I use the cutoffs from each maple stock to test dye before I ruin a good stock. Good luck with your project.

Oh, and Ritt clothing dye also works with either water or denatured alcohol for dying wood. It’s $2.00 for a box full that lasts almost forever. The red is especially nice when added to a black background dye with a golden yellow as the last coat. (Thanks trifern for the idea) Ritt dye should be filtered through a coffee filter before use. Some of the crystals of dye explode with color while you are wiping on the dye if you don’t.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3715 days

#4 posted 06-11-2010 03:33 PM

I recently used Transtint on the tall clock in my gallery. I mixed the dye with acohol and applied it with a soft cloth. I then applied an oil stain and wipe on poly. I thought it worked well. The dye is strong, so be sure you cover up and protect the floor…it doesnt come off of the floor or your skin if you get it on you. It drys quick so thats another benefit.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3356 days

#5 posted 06-11-2010 03:41 PM

what your saying Charles is use water if your a rookie with dyes and alcohol if a pro. I watched your video on staining tiger maple and plan on trying it very soon. It will be a table so I’m going to dye the wood before the glue up. That way I’ll get the connection points even, legs to aprons & top frame to center veneer. I’m afraid to dye the top with the center veneer piece in place because no matter how you tape it will leak in at the edges.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View poroskywood's profile


618 posts in 3598 days

#6 posted 06-11-2010 03:55 PM

Here's a project I did after reading triferns post.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View CharlesNeil's profile


2468 posts in 4105 days

#7 posted 06-11-2010 04:03 PM

Bill , small things where you can wipe smaller sections , wiping with control is not as difficult, large surfaces are more difficult, if you can dye before glue up that’s good , but you can also just do sections, for a table base, I will sit it up, and take a spray guns and just soak it, but i have a place and the equipment to do it, most don’t, so learning to wipe it wet is a good thing, the control factor is simple, there really isn’t one, get it as wet as you can and that’s it, yes water is easier than alcohol, and if you get too dark you can take a wet cloth and pull some of the dye off much easier, even if it has dried some, I like to mix my dyes light and just go with the wet application, when I spray something like the table base , its got dye dripping , then I take a stain pad wet with dye and wipe it all, and then wipe it back with a clean cloth,
Bill , your clock , I agree a soft cloth and be done, its oak and relatively small, so its not as hard as say a big dresser with lots of drawers and so forth, or a set of kitchen cabinets, where you have multiple large pieces that have to be colored the same,..and typically done for me its always wet , quick and walk away … but remember dyes dry fast, and as they dry they will look streaked often, just let it dry .. again,what it looked like wet is how it will appear when topcoated , the other thing I do all the time, no matter what the topcoat , is after its got one finish coat, I do a quick scuff sand, then using the
same stain pad, I dampen it with the dye and re wipe, dyes usually have enough bite you can actually work it in a little, sort of like a glaze , it helps deepen and even the color, the only exception is alcohol base over lacquer , if yo use this combo, go easy , the alcohol will bite into the lacquer and it can get soft , just keep the pad not super wet and wipe it quickly..

View Jim's profile


7 posts in 3140 days

#8 posted 06-11-2010 10:58 PM

I’ve recently been forced to “cram”, to learn different aspects of basic woodworking, because our house caught fire this past January. Bottom line, most of our furniture got tossed. I had one room full of books (three walls) on ugly metal shelving. I decided that since we are starting with empty rooms, I’ll use the metal shelving in my in-law’s shop, and make pine shelving.

So far, my experiments with pine have had best results with 4-5 coats of clear shellac, then a top coat of shellac tinted with TransTint Medium Brown dye….......looked pretty good, to my eye. No blotching, like what happens from putting the dye straight onto the wood.

-- Just easing along; life is good.

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3356 days

#9 posted 06-12-2010 04:07 AM

thanks Charles, I was planning on following your video and sand after the first coat. I don’t use stain very often. I use highly figured or exotic wood and if it isn’t a crime to stain or dye that stuff it should be. But I saw the results on Tiger maple & I’ve got to try it. I’ll watch to make sure I get it drippin wet. Maybe I will glue up the base, more squeeze out there then on the top.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3471 days

#10 posted 06-14-2010 03:06 PM

I should have included this little tip in my other posting. If you get any of the dyes on you, or get too much on your project, regular bleach will remove or reduce the color. I dilute it by half to remove color from wood and then wash with water till all the bleach is gone. Then quickly dry with paper towels and start over with your new color choice. Latex gloves work ok for dying your project, but sooner or later they are going to tear and you’ll get stain on your hands. I’ve given up even trying to keep it off me. Soap, water and bleach gets all of it off. Only get it off before you rub on the oil. A covering of oil on your skin before trying to get the dye off will make the job much more difficult.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 3138 days

#11 posted 06-18-2010 09:32 PM

I use Transtint extensively on wood turned bowls and vases. I normally mix mine with water, but denatured alcohol works fine too – though the application is a little more difficult to get even with alcohol in my opinoion.

I apply it with foam brushes or a soft absorbant cloth (wearing nitril gloves, otherwise you look like you’ve been squeezing grapes for about a week). I usually apply multiple applications and never have any trouble with uniform color – especially when using the water based dye. I often apply a coat of pure black first. Allow it to dry, and then sand it down to remove most of it. This does two things, smooths the grain raised by the water leaving a glass smooth surface and brings out the grain. Then I apply several coats of the final color, lightly sanding after each application is dry. My dyed pieces are usually then finished with many coats of hand rubbed urethane – giving them a glass like finish. The colors are stunning.

I’m new around here, but sooner or later I’ll get some picture of my work up. In the meantime you can see an example of one of my dyed pieces

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

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