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wood dyes

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Armacielli, Sep 30, 2010.


  1. Armacielli

    Armacielli

    Oct 16, 2008
    I've done a search

    I'm kicking around the idea of a blue burst on my next project, so what I wanna know is:
    what wood dyes do u guys use/have experience with?
    flakes or concentrate?
    water, alcohol or other soluable?
    shelf life?
    happy with results?
    where do u get it?
    where to get it inexpensively?
     
  2. LedBelli Bass

    LedBelli Bass Fine, Handmade Custom Bass Guitars

    Dec 25, 2008
    Pasco, WA
    wow, there's lots of stuff out there . . .

    So much of what you ask is dependent on the type of finish you intend to use. Nitro, poly, oil, . . . those all open up different options on color and compatibility.

    Can you give me a hint on what you intend your final finish to be?
     
  3. Armacielli

    Armacielli

    Oct 16, 2008
    rattle can lacquer
     
  4. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I'd apply black dye, let it dry completely, and re-sand, leaving just enough dye to pop the figure. Then apply the blues(s) of your choosing, followed by a clear coat. For more of a 3-D effect, apply a tinted coat before clear coating. Allow the finish to cure for at least a week, then rub out the finish to the sheen level of your choice.

    My favorite dyes are Transtint concentrated aniline dyes from Jeff Jewitt at:
    http://www.homesteadfinishingproducts.com/htdocs/TransTint.htm

    Transtints are more resistant to fading from UV exposure than any of the other dyes I've tested. Red and blue dyes seem more prone to UV fading than earth/wood tones.

    They're versatile:
    They're concentrated (makes it easy to experiment with different saturation levels);
    They can be diluted with water, denatured alcohol, and lacquer thinner;
    They can be used to create a tinted clear coat when added to shellac, lacquer, and water-borne clear coats.

    If you're not concerned about UV fading, or your clear coat contains a UV inhibitor, Transfast powdered dyes cost less; water only:
    http://www.homesteadfinishingproducts.com/htdocs/TransFastdyes.htm

    There's a good video on Fine Woodworking magazine's website that features TBer James Condino applying a green sunburst finish on figured maple using dye and traditional french polishing technique:
    http://www.finewoodworking.com/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesArticle.aspx?id=30136

    General Finishes pre-mixed water-borne dyes are very good, and you won't have to do any mixing. I haven't tested their fade-resistance yet, but they penetrate well, provide very consistent colors, and don't raise the grain much at all:

    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21632&filter=general finishes dye

    For the best possible results, complete a finishing test piece using the same wood species as the actual project.

    If you choose a water-borne dye, you'll usually want to pre-raise the grain with water, let it dry, and sand it back with 400-grit before applying dye; hasn't always been necessary with the GF pre-mixed dyes.

    Dye usually looks a little flat and lifeless until the clear coat goes on; to find out exactly what your completed project will look like, make sure to apply clear coat to your test piece. If you select an oil-based clear coat, the color will shift toward amber, providing a warmer appearance than a clear water-borne finish; however, under an oil-baed finish, blues can shift to green; red to orange.

    I'd use a transparent, non-yellowing clear coat over blue; clear WB finishes are getting a little better with each passing year.

    Good luck with your project! :)
     
    comatosedragon likes this.
  5. cloclo

    cloclo

    Dec 13, 2009
    Antwerp, Belgium
    wow, thank you for taking the time to type this all out.
    i was wondering about this stuff just yesterday :)
     
  6. Rob17

    Rob17 Inactive

    Aug 28, 2009
    Holland
    Very usefull info indeed, that's why I like TB and read an hour every day, at least, going through different threads and learn.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    It's a good idea to practice on scrap to get your techniques and color mixing down. A light blue tint that goes on a wood with some yellow tones will leave you with a green bass! I'd suggest taking a look through some of the painter and artist guides available online to give you a better understanding of primary and secondary colors and how they interact.

    Lonnybass
     
  8. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    From What i've seen, the water based dyes are more susceptible to fading, due to uv rays.
    alcohol or M.E.K (methyl ethyl ketone) based dyes are a little more resistant to uv rays.
     
  9. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Hmmm. I don't think there's an accurate connection there.

    Organic dyes produce your more vivid colors are are the quickest to break down in UV. Inorganic dyes last the longest in UV but aren't as vivid in color. They are both available in H[SUB]2[/SUB]O and EtOH solvents.
     
  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    ^ Too bad the labels on dyes aren't consistent with the way you describe them. Then again, the labels on most finishing products are about as obfuscatory as you can get...
     
  11. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    I can see what you mean about water base being somewhat more vivid. I did the uv test by placing each type in the sun for a day, and compared them to their respective test subjects, that weren't out in the sun, water was the most noticeable.
     
  12. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    ...there is no connection to the solvent and the brightness of the color. The chemical foundation is the key to the color's life and can be carried by nearly any chemical base.
     
  13. JmJ

    JmJ

    Jan 1, 2008
    NYC
    comatosedragon likes this.
  14. bassmanhamilton

    bassmanhamilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 21, 2007
    Georgia
    Owner, J. Hamilton Guitars
    I like Transtint dyes. Recently finished a green burst with transtint and I liked the results. Best price that I have found is at www.veneersupplies.com
    Good luck, Joe
     
  15. cloclo

    cloclo

    Dec 13, 2009
    Antwerp, Belgium
    difference between dyes and stains and why you don't always have to believe what they print on the can ...

     
  16. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    +1 for WD Lockwood dyes. This bass was dyed using Lockwood's "Bright Turquoise" dye. Applied dye, sanded it back, applied it again (to enhance the grain). Finished with nitro lacquer. As viewed under flourescent lighting:

    5040957310_b8c2dee051_b_d.jpg

    As viewed in direct sunlight:

    4987281359_5483576f6d_b_d.jpg
     
    JmJ and comatosedragon like this.
  17. I'm currently building a quilted maple topped bass and the sunlight view of the bass you posted is the color I REALLY want to apply (looks like some areas of the Great Bahama Bank when viewed from 30,000 feet). I've looked at the Lockwood dye charts mentioned further back in this thread but I don't find "Bright Turquoise." The closest I see is "Peacock Blue Greenish" (http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...op&Product_Code=LW-WCON.XX&Category_Code=CLWW). Do you have a different source that uses a different name?
     
  18. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I went directly through WD Lockwood. It was listed as "#20 Bright Turquoise", and the dye type is listed as "fiber reactive". It's water soluble. It's listed on their website. :D
     
  19. Many thanks!
     
  20. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 1, 2021

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