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Aniline Dye on Woodturning Pen

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Forum topic by Shaun posted 08-21-2017 05:36 PM 376 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Shaun

32 posts in 184 days


08-21-2017 05:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple lathe finishing

Hi Lumberjocks

I’ve been busy turning pens for the last few months and really enjoying it. I’m getting better results faster. I’ve probably done 30 pens now and can go from prepared blank to glassy CA-finished pen in 35 to 45 minutes.

My question is about aniline dyes (or wood dyes in general) on finished pens. I got some beautiful 100-year-old oak from my brother-in-law that turns like butter. It’s nice wood but a little plain. I’d like to add some colour.

I’ve also got some gorgeous kiln-dried tiger maple that just screams to be tinted purple, emerald or blue.

I’ve seen my fair share of beautiful maple guitars with tinted finishes. I keep thinking this would be great for a pen.

My conundrum is this:

I’m attracted to pen turning because time for me is quite limited. Being able to complete a finished a project in 45 minutes is important. Most aniline dye tutorials I’ve seen talk about taking hours to dry.

Maybe this is a stupid question but here goes:

Immediately after sanding, I use DNA (denatured alcohol) to wipe down the pen. I do this with the lathe off and then with the lathe on. I find it doesn’t raise the grain to any significant degree. It doesn’t interfere with me getting a glassy CA finish. It dries very quickly.

Could I mix the aniline (or similar) dye with DNA? Then, after I do one round with un-dyed DNA for cleaning, could I do a round with dyed DNA for tinting?

I’m looking for something that dries very fast so I can jump quickly into CA finishing. I usually do a “sealer coat” of thin CA glue before moving onto several coats BLO (boiled linseed oil) and CA. I find the BLO cures the CA REALLY quickly.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning


9 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5285 posts in 3418 days


#1 posted 08-21-2017 05:57 PM

Here’s a video that shows how one dye manufacturer (KEDA) applies dye to quilted maple: https://youtu.be/m0T1T_CpzlY

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

364 posts in 1217 days


#2 posted 08-21-2017 06:22 PM

check out spirit stains, alcohol based and dry almost instant.
https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/148/6338/Chestnut-Spirit-Stain

colors blend easy too. alcohol base, even if it drys. you touch another color and it will blend. really fun to work with.

-- John

View Shaun's profile

Shaun

32 posts in 184 days


#3 posted 08-21-2017 09:01 PM

Thanks, guys – that’s great information.

I’ve reached out to both suppliers (Chestnut and KEDA) to ask them some questions relevant to applying dye on the lathe. I’m also looking for suppliers in Canada. Chestnut doesn’t seem to be available to me at all but KEDA seems to be reasonable for shipping from the US.

The youtube video was quite helpful. I watched 2 or 3 of the KEDA videos and it gave me some good ideas about layering different colours to make the grain REALLY pop.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

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TheDane

5285 posts in 3418 days


#4 posted 08-21-2017 10:18 PM

FWIW … I have been using KEDA dyes for 3 or 4 years now, and have been very happy with the results. Maybe I should do a review.

I’m not sure about how color-fast they are, but I haven’t seen any changes in the pieces I have dyed over the years.

I always use alcohol (DNA), but KEDA uses rubbing alcohol because doesn’t evaporate quite as fast … he says better for blending.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View jwisbey's profile

jwisbey

32 posts in 2168 days


#5 posted 08-22-2017 01:54 PM

I used full strength Trans Tint red on this pen made from tiger maple. Kept the pen spinning for 2 minutes then applied several coats of CA. A little of the dye came off with the first coat of CA, but it was not a noticeable change in appearance on the pen.

View gwilki's profile

gwilki

160 posts in 1229 days


#6 posted 08-22-2017 03:56 PM

I’ve used the powdered aniline dyes from lee valley, mixing with alcohol instead of water, with good results. They dry pretty much as they are going on.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View Shaun's profile

Shaun

32 posts in 184 days


#7 posted 08-23-2017 05:41 PM

TheDane:

I’ve been in touch over email with Keith from KEDA and he was pretty helpful. He recommended the liquid dyes mixed with alcohol for an the almost instant dry I’m after. Trouble is, his liquid dyes aren’t available to me in Canada.

Have you been using liquid or powder? I can get his powdered dyes in Canada and mix them with alcohol.

jwisbey:

What you’ve done with that pen is exactly what I’m after. And I’m happy to leave it spinning for a mere 2 minutes! :-)

When you say “full strength”, do you mean you didn’t cut the liquid dye at all (i.e. used it as the concentrate) or that you mixed it at the recommended full strength?

Trans Tint isn’t available to me in Canada but the former Trans Tint supplier now has something called ColorFX dyes. From what I’ve read, they are essentially the same. The link is here:

http://www.woodessence.com/ColorFX-Dye-Concentrates-C12.aspx

gwilki:

That’s great to know. I do get to Lee Valley often enough. It could be worth trying them as well. The colours on the Lee Valley website look pretty dull but it may just be that they didn’t do the best presentation with their dyes.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5285 posts in 3418 days


#8 posted 08-23-2017 10:38 PM

Have you been using liquid or powder? I can get his powdered dyes in Canada and mix them with alcohol.

I use their powdered dyes and mix myself with alcohol.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View gwilki's profile

gwilki

160 posts in 1229 days


#9 posted 08-24-2017 05:55 PM

Shaun: The aniline dyes looks quite dull when they dry. When you put a finish on them, they pop. I believe that the ones you want are what LV calls aniline mixing colour. You can mix different colours together to get pretty much any colour you want. The more powder to alcohol, the deeper the colour.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

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