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Stain or Dye, what's your preference?

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Forum topic by bygrace posted 459 days ago 623 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bygrace

109 posts in 470 days


459 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: stain dye water based oil based

I’ve been playing around with stains and dyes, trying to figure out which I liked better, then it dawned on me – why not ask the pros? what do you prefer, and why? what are some of the draw backs? do you prefer oil based, water based, gel or liquid? Thanks for your opinions!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.


9 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2088 posts in 689 days


#1 posted 459 days ago

My understanding is that for dense woods like hard maple, dyes work better because they don’t have the (relatively speaking) big bits of pigment and will penetrate better. Stains are fine on less dense woods. Also, there are issues such as fading to consider . . .

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2310 posts in 1078 days


#2 posted 459 days ago

I like dyes. They leave the grain pattern in tact.
I use transfast water based dyes (cheap) and transtint alcohol based dyes as I can mix them with dewaxed shellac.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Henry6's profile

Henry6

36 posts in 528 days


#3 posted 403 days ago

I actually prefer wood stain over dyes, but it has to be a quality product or you won’t see the results you are looking for. Also, you need to make sure you select the right type of stain for your wood/project, because almost all have different qualities that will directly impact the look of the wood.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1320 posts in 862 days


#4 posted 403 days ago

You can answer the question yourself by continuing to “playing around” with them on different projects until you can decide what’s best for each project. Different strokes for different folks.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1000 posts in 870 days


#5 posted 403 days ago

I’m also a fan of Transfast dyes. I used their dark walnut dye on some hard maple with a few coats of shellac and it really popped the grain. I used it mixed with water because it was my first time working with dye, but I think next time I may experiment a little more and mix it with something else.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

855 posts in 635 days


#6 posted 402 days ago

Think Clink hit the nail on the head play around with both dyes and stains.

Wood stains mostly thinned paint and easy to use.

Aniline dyes come in powder or liquid form and mixed with water, alcohol, or petroleum solvent. Water mix said to give better clarity and light fastness.

India ink can be opaque and translucent depending upon color.

Not sure how well all dyes, inks, and stains hold up under indirect or full sun light over time. Woods will either darken or get lighter with age regardless of top coat finish.

Some species of wood (soft or hard) prone to blotching whether use dye or stain. Best to read product instructions before use to combat blotching.

Some dyes & stains mixed with topcoat finish provide excellent results. Waterborne top coats may cause water mixed dyes to run giving a muddy appearance.

-- Bill

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

763 posts in 611 days


#7 posted 402 days ago

I have always used oil based stains just because that is what I was taught. I keep meaning to try dyes but have not had the time to do so.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

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Tennessee

1447 posts in 1015 days


#8 posted 402 days ago

Used stains for years, then discovered dyes about three years ago. They both have their places, but the stains do have bigger pigment chunks, which make them less effective on tight grained woods, such as maple.
Dyes are very finely ground pigments and penetrate almost immediately. On the other hand, dyes can splotch faster due to quicker penetration, but often come in odd, non-wood colors like yellow and green.
I keep dark blue, blood red, and bright yellow dye to be able to mix almost anything when needed, like a purple color.
Most of my stains are woody colors, like walnut, ebony and mahogany.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

998 posts in 1294 days


#9 posted 402 days ago

I agree with Clint. It depends. I have used solar-lux dyes some – sprayed – and they do great as far as uniform coverage and color control goes. They are alcohol based and dry very fast. Disclaimer – I’m no Bob Flexnar.

-- "Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often." - Mark Twain

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