What to use for color under a finish

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Regis Galbach, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. Regis Galbach

    Regis Galbach

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    I've been trying a variety of finishes. For almost everything bigger than pens, I've gotten to really like the friction finish called OB Shine. It's basically clear shellac/BLO/DNA

    Now, I would like to be able to put some color on some light items that don't have much grain to show off. My preferences are mostly thinks like walnut, cherry, etc.....woods not pastels(lol).
    What is commonly used to add some darkening or otherwise color an item? I can change finish but, like this OB stuff.
    Thanks,
    Regis
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Color can be fun to work with.
    If you want to show wood grain through then Spirit stains or transparent airbrush paint will let the grain show. Paints will give a more uniform color.
    I have developed a fondness for black. Here is a sand blasted citrus ball done with black leather dye. A black on black effect with no wood grain showing.
    IMG_1095.JPG
    Here is a camphor hollow form the frogs are done with green ( blue plus yellow) spirit stains. Then I sand blast the background and airbrush background with black paint. The wood grain shows though the frogs in a subtle way. IMG_1094.JPG

    This one is green spirit stain background sandblasted the airbrushed with yellow and orange. The wood grain is evident.
    IMG_2815.JPG
    Have fun
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
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  3. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I like the Trans Tint dyes from Woodcraft and other suppliers. I buy Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black and brown. From those colors I can mix almost any color I want. These are dyes so the wood shows through. Of course paints are fun. You can use almost any paint but there is a learning curve to each variety to get a good coat. Stains I use mostly to mix together to try and match older stains for building replacement parts for antiques. Airbrushing is fun and there are transparent as well as opaque colors. The air brush gives you a lot of exciting options.
     
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  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I've been using Watco stains for decades to match new work to existing trimwork and cabinets as well as furniture. I don't know if they still have the same selection of wood colors, but I used colors such as Fruitwood, Walnut, English Oak, Mahogany, Light Oak, Cherry, and others that I don't recall. I mixed colors to achieve the desired color. The thing that I liked about them is that they were a mixture of mostly dye stain and just a little pigment stain so they didn't muddy the grain the way that pure pigment stain often does. The other ingredients in the Watco products that I used were BLO and a little polyurethane varnish. My local Ace Hardware store doesn't carry much Watco stuff these days.

    I've seen OB Shine at SWAT and the local Rockler's and Woodcraft stores, but wasn't impressed enough to buy it although some other turners in my club do use it. I'm not too crazy about mixing shellac with oil, but that's just my opinion which is worth about 2¢.

    If you are thinking of using bright dye stains such as Chestnut aniline dye stains that have a small amount of shellac binder, TransTint concentrated liquid aniline dye, or TransFast powdered aniline dye then you will be restricted somewhat by any finish that contains shellac as well as what colors will give the results that you want. Even Super Blonde shellac still has a light amber color and of course BLO is a darker amber color. All liquid shellac finishes contains DNA because that is what is used to dissolve shellac flakes. The DNA is also what can mess up wood that has been dye stained especially with a friction finish because most aniline dyes are soluble in alcohol.

    If you are familiar with an artist's color wheel, it can help you with subtractive coloration. Even very light wood like maple isn't close to white. Think of it as a light yellowish tan. Also most finishes have an amber cast. So suppose that you wanted to dye a piece of maple blue, but since it is being combined with amber the final result will be green. If you used pink or red, the final result will be orange or reddish orange. If you tried purple ... well the human eye can't see yellowish purple or purplish yellow so it would be seen mostly as dark with a purplish tint or sometimes a yellowish tint.

    There is a way to use the colors that I mentioned and that is to remove almost all the pigment out of the wood to make it much lighter and almost white ... by bleaching the wood. You can't use chlorine bleach or oxalic bleach to do this, but a mixture of sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide will do the job. It's a bit much if you are only doing pens, but here is a link to a tutorial that I posted for making your own two part wood bleach.

    If you go the bleaching route, it is imperative that you use a finish that is crystal clear or else you will be adding Amber back to the final result. Mostly I use Deft rattle can nitrocellulose lacquer, but it can yellow slightly over years of exposure to sunlight. Pure acrylic lacquer will remain crystal clear.

    Finally, I have a problem with using shellac on something that will be handled such as a pen. The reason is that oils in the skin as well as lotions will soften a shellac finish over time and make it drab looking. Bottle stoppers may be even worse if a shellac finish is used because there is a good chance that alcohol will get on the stopper and dull the finish.
     
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  5. Regis Galbach

    Regis Galbach

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    Great information ..... almost an education on adding color.
    BTW, Bill, for pens, I use CA and wouldn't color them.
    I am enjoying getting into little larger things now. Made a chalice yesterday that was very white and that prompted my question.
    Thanks all
    Regis
     
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  6. Hy Tran

    Hy Tran

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    For minimal effects, wood stains such as the minwax stuff from the large chain stores are fine. For more subtle, but also quite appealing: Boiled linseed oil under your friction finish will give a more pronounced amber to your finish. Walnut oil will also lightly amber your light colored woods. Both are compatible with your friction finish. Tung oils are also compatible with friction finish, but take longer to polymerize. They will definitely "amber" your light-colored wood.

    Jimmy Clewes does a demo (this also speaks to the sanding thread, by the way) where he applies a black aniline dye to the rim of a platter (platter rim has been turned, but inside not turned yet). He then knocks the black (or dark) dye off a bit, and applies a lighter color. He then applies lacquer (spray can) over the dyed surface, then, finishes the rest of the turning. Search google for "clewes dyed platter", and you'll get some pretty pictures.

    The alcohol-based dyes that Craft Supplies sells are aniline dyes similar to what Jimmy uses in his demo. You can buy the powder from places such as Woodworkers' Supply (woodworker.com) and you can buy pre-dissolved dye-in-alcohol.

    These dyes are all applied using a paper towel or cloth.

    Others have talked about all the various paints if you want to paint. Metal containing waxes (gilding paste, I think it's called) may give quite interesting contrasts when applied over limited areas.
     
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  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Milk paint is another option for the surface of turned wood.
    This is something I have not done much.

    Through combinations of applying a color and sanding or burnishing and applying other colors
    Terrific effects are achieved. A great way to breath some life into bland wood

    The paint also gets some color reaction from different species of wood.
    It is a medium that can be used at all levels. Just brush on, sand and it looks great.
    Color choices are fairly limited and subtle.

    Treat Bands or the whole object.

    Merryl Saylan is doing milk paint demos in KC
    Kimberly Winkle did superb milk paint demos at this year's Florida symposium.
    Al Stirt & Trent Bosch and many many others use milk paint in some series of their work.


    Of the tung oil finishes- I prefer Waterlox because it is close to clear. It does have a slight amber cast that is hardly noticeable. I use it on light woods like maple and they look almost white.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
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  8. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I had been using Chestnut Stains applied with airbrush with good effect. VASE cover light.JPG
    Then tried a modified Clewes style on a pecan Beads of Courage bowl yeaterday IMG_1135.JPG
    So far I think I like the airbrush better as I can get subtle blending of the colors and the color wheel application that Bill talked about can be critical for this overlay of color. Also with the airbrush I can color a grain line or that know you might have.
     
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  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I generally apply dye stain with a paper towel and then feather by sanding lightly when working on figured maple, but when the wood is bland I try to use color to bring life to the turning. Sometimes I want to spray a dye stain and not having a suitable airbrush I use one of these for about 2½ bucks from Hobby Lobby.

    image.jpeg

    It works quite nicely after a little practice. I use just about any technique that comes to mind and sometimes a mixture of ways to apply the dye. Below is a practice piece where I used a paper towel as well as an art sponge (AKA, cellulose sponge from the laundry room).

    image.jpeg

    The center was a different technique that I've used a few times with interesting results. I used silver Rub n' Buff, then brushed blue aniline dye and finally sponged on some yellow and red dyes.

    Background is courtesy of Scott Shop Rags paper towels.
     
  10. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    Bill, I really like this piece and the color combinations! (maybe because I've used the same colors on several pieces myself ;) ) That center medallion is very interesting….I may have to give that a try. Those three arcs…..are they off-center cuts that are filled?
     
  11. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes they are. I don't recall the exact offset, but it wouldn't be hard to figure it out from the radius of the arcs. Getting them equidistant and the tilt the same is crucial to having the arcs the same. As you can see, I was off by a hair ... or two. I think that I used Inlace to fill the arcs. They could just be painted and not filled, but this was easier. Originally, the arcs looked better, but the first couple times I didn't like the dye job so this piece has been through several iterations. The tool used was just a sharp pointed tool that I got when taking a class from Joe Ruminski. It's a fairly sharp angle on the tool, about 45 degrees.
     
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  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I forgot to mention one other thing I do when dyeing. Using the spray bottle mentioned above filled with alcohol, I adjust it for a very fine mist and then just very lightly mist the surface after the dyeing is completed. Not too much or the colors will muddy together in a murky mess. If you're tempted to do just a little more misting once the results are "pretty good", stifle the urge.
     
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  13. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Hi Regis, I was a pen turner also for about 4 years and like you I wonted to turn larger things so here I am learning all I can about expanding woodturning to another level. I have seen some beautiful colored bowls here and the turners are so helpful and share their knowledge with beginners. Happy turning
     
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  14. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Al,

    How do you mask off the areas you don't want sandblasted? What you've done is really awesome looking!

    Kind regards,
    Rich
     
  15. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Thanks for the kind words, I'm having a lot of fun with the Sand-carving. It is a process that enables me to put images on my turnings to express an idea.

    Short answer- I use a sandblast resist - Anchor BlastLiteTM Stencil #T226, 22 mil
    I use a tabletop Titan cuter to cut the resist.
    Simple objects like dragon flies can be cut by hand easily.
    Also I use transfer tape when I want to keep the special relationship of the cut objects.

    Longer answer- is in an article on the process in the December 2016 AAW journal.

    I am doing demos on the process. The next is at SWAT in August. Coming up soon.
    I cut dragon flies in the demo by hand.
    Slides I use in the demo show the equipment, supplies, and process.
    http://swat.hockenbery.net/SWAT Sandcarving.pdf
     

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