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Help! What did I do wrong? Dye on Walnut

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Forum topic by Mark C posted 03-18-2017 12:52 AM 1004 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mark C's profile

Mark C

10 posts in 1412 days


03-18-2017 12:52 AM

I just followed the directions I read on a few web sites and youtube, mixed some Transtint Dye about 16 drops to 1 oz of Denatured Alcohol and painted it on to my walnut top with a foam brush. It started out looking fantastic, but then I went out to pick up the kids and came back to find the sapwood had gone all splotchy with what look like water rings all over the sapwood parts. See photo.

What did I do wrong?


14 replies so far

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

1147 posts in 767 days


#1 posted 03-18-2017 01:14 AM

Why would you want to stain walnut in the first place ?

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5784 posts in 2989 days


#2 posted 03-18-2017 01:23 AM

Hi Mark,
I fear that the alcohol may have started to dissolve the foam brush. That would explain the weird dark colored bubbles. The lap marks are pretty common when you mix the dye in alcohol, because it dries too fast.

I would recommend sanding it back to bare wood, and mixing the dye with distilled water instead. Then brush, rag or spray on the dye, and wipe off the excess.

One oz. per quart of water is a common dilution rate, but sample boards will help you decide.

Of course you will need to raise the grain with water, let dry, then scuff sand before applying water based dye.

Good luck with it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Mark C's profile

Mark C

10 posts in 1412 days


#3 posted 03-18-2017 01:41 AM



Why would you want to stain walnut in the first place ?

- Carloz

It’s dye not stain. I’ve seen many videos and articles describing how the dyes help to darken the walnut and pop the grain. The examples I’ve seen look great.

View Mark C's profile

Mark C

10 posts in 1412 days


#4 posted 03-18-2017 01:42 AM



Hi Mark,
I fear that the alcohol may have started to dissolve the foam brush. That would explain the weird dark colored bubbles. The lap marks are pretty common when you mix the dye in alcohol, because it dries too fast.

I would recommend sanding it back to bare wood, and mixing the dye with distilled water instead. Then brush, rag or spray on the dye, and wipe off the excess.

One oz. per quart of water is a common dilution rate, but sample boards will help you decide.

Of course you will need to raise the grain with water, let dry, then scuff sand before applying water based dye.

Good luck with it.

- pintodeluxe

Thanks for the tip. I’ll try again without the brush. Any idea why it would just be the sapwood that did that though?

View mrbob's profile

mrbob

182 posts in 745 days


#5 posted 03-18-2017 02:14 AM

First your mix was too strong, 16 drops to 1oz. 2nd I bet you left it too wet and it puddled. B4 sanding take a rag dampened/semi wet either with water or DNA and wipe the wood, it willl reactivate the dye and may even it out.

View mrbob's profile

mrbob

182 posts in 745 days


#6 posted 03-18-2017 02:27 AM

Also you dye to get color, you stain/BLO to pop the grain color/differential after you apply the dye.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5784 posts in 2989 days


#7 posted 03-18-2017 02:48 AM

Mark,
Good point, I’m not sure why it affected the sapwood differently.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12401 posts in 2556 days


#8 posted 03-18-2017 04:23 AM

Instead of a brush, I use a plastic spray bottle and spritz dye onto the wood. Want it darker, spray more. Worked really well for me.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Paintress's profile

Paintress

2 posts in 611 days


#9 posted 03-18-2017 06:09 AM

The biggest question is what are you trying to achieve? I’m guessing the ambered blush tone on an article which a wood magazine features from time to time over the years on facebook.
the foam brush most likely did break down at least somewhat, all suggestions are viable as different methods work better for some than others. My suggestions might be too advanced, however I would rather have the advantage of knowing my method in addition to the others as who knows what your skill-set is in other fields such as painting and building. I might have just the right answer you didn’t get at the store as they typically service retail clients. As a hobbiest or a professional woodcraftsman dyes are intended to have various functions dependant upon the type of dye you have purchased as no they are not all the same.
It is best to spray the dye on regardless what anyone recommends you. Most will suggest an NGR non grain raising alcohol as they are most commonly found in Woodcraft/ Rockler/wood hobbiest stores. Additionally other factors relating to the ease of pigment dispersion or breakdown if you will in alcohol along with the safety,ease of use for a retail customer, shelf life, Hazmat issues etc.etc.
I prefer a different brand which I distrbute. These can be mixed with a variety of solvents or water. It’s application of recomendation first is spray for best results before dip, brush, rag, roller etc.
As with all finish products you will achive various results depending on your method of application, woods as well as the solvent used,grit sanded 150 to 180 is the range to stay within. By spray I’m referring to a compressor & cup gun or HVLP or even a Preval aresol worse scenario. You would achieve beter results diluting with zylol or acetone though acetone is very fast drying it can be difficult for the first few times to gauge your depth of color. To keep uniform you want to dilute enough to make several checkerboard passes. Many times the appearance of it wet is what it will look like dry. Always practice on test boards first especially if you decide to use Prevail’s (get more than a couple you can always return them) if you do much woodworking I might recommend finding a local distributor of finishing products in your area. Though they do not have the time to teach novices they typically sell kits give (for a nominal fee) classes in applications as well as producti knowledge. They do not sell anything les than gallon containers. They are formated for the professional woodworking industry. I hope you find solutions to your questions in everyone’s advice.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

574 posts in 924 days


#10 posted 03-18-2017 12:24 PM

I use Transtint. Tried it with DNA years ago, but switched to water for easier blending of color. I use a foam brush for application.

Use water to raise the grain a couple of times prior to using the dye. Test it on scrap. Note that you can remove some amount of dye by wiping with a wet cloth. Also note that the dyed wood won’t look that great until an oil based finish brings it to life, and often it’s the second coat of finish that starts to look really good.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10506 posts in 1662 days


#11 posted 03-18-2017 02:58 PM

I’m sorry. Hobbyist. I can’t help it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12401 posts in 2556 days


#12 posted 03-18-2017 06:07 PM

Walnut will accept stain very well, if the dye doesn’t work out.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Mark C's profile

Mark C

10 posts in 1412 days


#13 posted 03-18-2017 06:32 PM

I think I found out what went wrong from this site:

From http://www.joewoodworker.com/transtints.htm :


When applying solvent or alcohol dyes by brush or rag, the choice of solvent is critical. Straight alcohol evaporates very quickly causing lap marks. On porous and figured woods, you may experience bleeding of still wet dye back up and around the pore, making a dark circle. When this happens we suggest that you add a retarder to the alcohol. This slows down the overall drying making the dye easier to apply and eliminates bleeding. Alcohol dye retarder (Behlen Solar Lux retarder is one example) is available from most suppliers. Lacquer retarder also works. Many companies sell a pre-mixed blend of alcohol and glycol ether (Behlen Solar-Lux) which will work fine.

So here is how it looks after some fixing. Better but still needs more work.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2342 posts in 1398 days


#14 posted 03-19-2017 02:17 PM

You can even things out a bit by wiping with an alcohol soaked rag. It will redissolve the dye.

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