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how to accentuate QSWO ray flecks?

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Forum topic by harum posted 03-30-2017 08:17 PM 710 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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harum

262 posts in 1483 days


03-30-2017 08:17 PM

Hello, I’ve been looking for a finish that would make white oak ray flecks stand out but not the pores. I’ve tried Jeff Jewitt’s recipe for mission oak finish (Transfast aniline dye, light sanding, blond shellac, Antique Walnut Gel stain) and it looks pretty bland: the flecks do not really stand out, being about the same light brown color as the rest of the grain. They are only visible because they don’t have pores on them which everywhere else on the board have become unsightly very dark brownish streaks along the grain. It looks both unnatural and not impressive (no top coat yet).

Here are daylight photos taken at different angles—looks pretty bland to me:

I’ve seen QSWO finish where the medullary rays have much lighter color to them compared to other grain, which makes them “pop out”, and where the pores are not over-accentuated by the stain to the point that the finish looks muddy and dirty.

I’ve heard that ammonia fuming actually hides the flecks, not brings them out. On the other hand, fuming keeps the pores the same color as other grain.

Was wondering if grain filling is my only option or I could modify the dye-stain-top coat schedule to pop up the rays and not the pores?

Would appreciate any comment. Best, h.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."


9 replies so far

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AandCstyle

2911 posts in 2097 days


#1 posted 03-30-2017 09:06 PM

Harum, take a look at this process posted by CampD to see if it meets your approval. Personally, I like Jeff Jewitt’s mission finishes, but to each…....

Another option is to make a very dilute dye solution in a wash coat of shellac, maybe about the color of weak tea, then apply a darker stain over that. You will need to experiment to get the contrast you like. Also, oil provides more “pop” that water based products.

Hopefully, some of the finishing experts will jump in to provide more info for you.

-- Art

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harum

262 posts in 1483 days


#2 posted 03-30-2017 10:00 PM

Art, thank you for the response. CampD’s finish looks really beautiful! I’d be happy to end up with something like this. He applies oil-based stain to bare wood, then rubs BLO over it—and yet somehow the pores aren’t over-stained. When I applied oil-based stain to bare WO, it’s what looks the ugliest: over-stained pores and muddy grain. However, I used a gel stain and never applied BLO over. Will try this protocol with Danish Oil to test. H.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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KnickKnack

1087 posts in 3406 days


#3 posted 03-31-2017 12:02 PM


I’ve heard that ammonia fuming actually hides the flecks, not brings them out. On the other hand, fuming keeps the pores the same color as other grain.
- harum

Yes and no.
I invariably fume my oak, then you need to sand – the flecks did go black, but the ammonia didn’t penetrate very far, so the sanding or card-scraping gets those back to light.
Everything will, of course, get a lot blacker than CampDs work.
See here or here.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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harum

262 posts in 1483 days


#4 posted 03-31-2017 03:57 PM

I invariably fume my oak, then you need to sand – the flecks did go black, but the ammonia didn t penetrate very far, so the sanding or card-scraping gets those back to light.

- KnickKnack

Thanks, KK! This is good news to me. However, because my piece is ready for assembly and glue-up I can’t sand it more than 1/64” or even less. I’ve seen cross-sections of fumed oak—the color changes 1/8” into the wood. If the flecks darken only superficially and can be brought out by light sanding then I’ll open my gallon of janitorial strength (10%) ammonia for tests. The color and flecks on your WO pieces look perfect to me.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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pintodeluxe

5468 posts in 2653 days


#5 posted 03-31-2017 04:41 PM

Don’t judge any of your finishes until a topcoat is applied. It deepens the color, and adds a richness to the finish.
With Jewitt’s finishing recipe it totally depends on the color of the underlying dye. Here I used mohogany dye, then walnut stain and the result is fairly subtle. If you want contrast, use a honey colored dye and a walnut stain.

It’s fun to experiment, but always take sample boards through each phase of the finishing process.

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

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KnickKnack

1087 posts in 3406 days


#6 posted 03-31-2017 04:43 PM


Thanks, KK! This is good news to me. However, because my piece is ready for assembly and glue-up I can t sand it more than 1/64” or even less. I ve seen cross-sections of fumed oak—the color changes 1/8” into the wood. If the flecks darken only superficially and can be brought out by light sanding then I ll open my gallon of janitorial strength (10%) ammonia for tests. The color and flecks on your WO pieces look perfect to me.
- harum

I’ve actually been doing this today – you’re right – on the end grain the darkness seems to go in forever, on “normal grain” a fair bit, but those flecks I think are really hard, or at least pretty much impenetrable to the fumes – clean 320 usually does the job for me. But testing a bit is obviously the way to go.
A couple of words of caution…
1) Since the wood is sitting in very very humid air, it does tend to raise the grain a bit
2) Make sure you let the wood “gass-off” completely, in my early experiments I had glue failures which I put down (correctly or not, but it hasn’t happened since) to my impatiently gluing wood still reeking of ammonia.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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harum

262 posts in 1483 days


#7 posted 04-04-2017 03:50 AM

I’ve tried oil-based stain (MW Special Walnut) followed by Danish Oil. The pores again became over-emphasized and this sample didn’t look very different from the samples after the Jeff Jewitt’s recipe:

I switched to fuming with Ace 10% “janitorial strength” ammonia—and it turned out very promising!
This is a finish I have been looking for—natural color and texture, no over-stained pores dominating the grain:

To get the above finish: fumed from 9pm to 5 pm next day with 10% ammonia, in the backyard with the temps varying from 55 to 70F; then “applied” a few passages of No.4 plane set to very thin shavings; then 2 lb cut garnet shellac.

After fumung the flecks are barely visible:

After fuming and planing to reveal the medullary rays—note that the sapwood isn’t affected by ammonia at all:

I’ve also fumed the earlier (Jeff Jewitt’s recipe) sample that was dyed with aniline TransFast (Early Am. Maple), sanded to reveal the flecks, blond shellac-ed, stained with oil-based stain, then coated with Danish Oil. I didn’t like the sample before fuming because of the muddy look and over-darkened pores. But after fuming the pores evened out with the rest of the grain and the result is quite spectacular!

The last two samples are:

Aniline TransFast (Early Am. Maple), then fumed, then sanded, then a coat of garnet shellac:

and Garnet shellac, then fumed:

I’ll apply a coat of Arm-R-Seal to see if the clarity of the grain and the beauty of the flecks is preserved on the samples that were planed and shellac-ed after fuming. Looks like the search for the finish is near the end.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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Rick_M

10645 posts in 2220 days


#8 posted 04-04-2017 04:08 AM




- pintodeluxe

This is my style, I like the subtly.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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harum

262 posts in 1483 days


#9 posted 04-04-2017 04:22 AM

Rick, well, this is a great finish for sure, but nothing is known about sanding, sealers, top coats except for “mohogany dye, then walnut stain”.

-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."

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