HELP! Aniline dye + wax = disaster...

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Forum topic by Dekker posted 11-18-2011 04:16 PM 1903 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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147 posts in 3904 days

11-18-2011 04:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: aniline dye dye wax question

OK, so I’ll admit to a mess up… and I need help fixing it ;)

My wife wanted a small display for a craft sale this Saturday, green if possible, but “natural” looking (no poly). No problem – I thought I’d try my hand at dyeing the wood, and just use a wax to seal it.

The problem is that the wax did not properly seal off the dye, and the dye is coming through, even onto the hands! The dye (from Lee Valley) states “If you are using a water-based finish as a top coat, such as lacquer or urethane, a sealer should be applied first or the aniline color may bleed”. For some reason, I thought the paste wax (also from Lee Valley), which is waterproof, would not let it bleed! If I wipe it with a damp rag, the wood appears unchanged but the colour on the rag is intense.

Now that I’ve applied the wax, what can I do to properly seal the project, so that it can be used and handled (and not smell offensive) within about 12 hours of it being fixed? I don’t want to “buy” more products, since I will probably re-make the project after the weekend using scraps (not a complex project) but I can’t do it before Saturday..

As crazy as it sounds, could I just “wash” the project down with a hose, to remove any dye that has gotten to the surface while the thinners in the wax were still there? Once dry, it would still have the wax outer layer

Will a single coat (or two if I have time) of shellac be able to adhere to the wax?

I have some wipe-on oil varnish, but its label says to have the surface free of wax. If I wipe down the project with some kind of mineral spirits to remove the wax, then apply the varnish, would it adhere?

So, anyone with suggestions that I could do?

-- Dekker -

2 replies so far

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3745 days

#1 posted 11-18-2011 04:29 PM

It sounds like you may need to 1) Remove the wax w/ solvent; 2) Sand off residue to get a clean surface and start all over.

Use a scrap piece of wood before starting your project over.

What is the finish you’re trying to accomplish? If you use the dye, allow to dry, sand, and apply another color, you get a layered effect. Allow to dry then coat with an oil or oil/poly product. Minwax tung is an oil/poly product that you can get a satin or shiny finish, depending on technique and layers. This will take a few days to do properly, depending on how fast things dry in your environment. Humidity & cold temps will alter time frame. The thinner coat applied and warmer temps will dry faster than a heavy one, so don’t think you can rush it by applying one heavy coat, as it won’t dry propery.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3984 days

#2 posted 11-18-2011 06:47 PM

I always seal a stain with a coat of dewaxed shellac (Zinsser Seal Coat) before a finish is applied.


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