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Dying Wood: Aniline Dye vs. Alternatives

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  • two_halves
    started a topic Dying Wood: Aniline Dye vs. Alternatives

    Dying Wood: Aniline Dye vs. Alternatives

    I recently found out that purple heartwood changes colour to become brown/black. I need a permanent purple colour for my project. I've been shopping around to find solutions to dye wood, what I found was aniline dyes. Lee Valley sells it but for my hobby piece, it's really expensive (it'd cost me around $35 for 1 oz blue and 1 oz red dye). Can I not use food colouring? Or is there a different / more affordable alternative?

  • Rusty
    replied
    Hell yes Egon. it might even stain your reputation. LOL

    Leave a comment:


  • Egon
    replied
    Hey; whatever works. Beet juice will stain anything.

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  • Bill R.
    replied
    I'm to cheap to buy proper wood dyes so I try what ever comes to mind. Not sure exactly what color purple heart is but I dyed this wood with pickle beet juice. The finish is lacquer over it.
    Click image for larger version

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  • realkingmixer
    replied
    This is the Minwax spar varnish you can find pretty much anywhere:



    Looks like Lee Valley has the water-based General Finishes version (Exterior 450):

    Last edited by realkingmixer; 01-17-2018, 03:05 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • realkingmixer
    replied
    Originally posted by two_halves View Post

    Where'd you pickup the UV inhibitors from? I called Lee Valley they didn't have any and when I asked where I might find some they didn't know either. Home Depot's website doesn't show anything either. Not sure if I'm searching the wrong thing.
    As Kayak Jim mentioned, the product called "spar varnish" contains UV inhibitors. That's one of the things that makes it spar varnish and not some other kind of varnish. Spar varnish is intended for outdoor use. Manufacturers do two things, basically, to qualify a varnish as spar varnish:

    1) UV inhibitors to protect the colour of the wood from sunlight; and,
    2) stretchy resins, to better accomodate wood movement.

    The resulting varnish is tough, flexible and quite light fast.

    It's not an exotic product. All the big box stores carry some kind of varnish intended for outdoor use, usually under the name "spar varnish". About 20 bucks a quart or so. There are some really expensive ones out there, too -- performance might even be better with those, I wouldn't know.

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  • Kayak Jim
    replied
    Exterior finishes like spar varnish contain UV inhibitors. You don't apply them separately (that I know of).

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  • two_halves
    replied
    Originally posted by realkingmixer View Post
    In my experience the UV inhibitors in spar varnish (available at any decent hardware store) are very effective in wood keeping its colour over time. Not sure about the purpleheart application in particular as I've never done it myself. I've got lovely red cedar sitting outside facing harsh western sun -- it's been up well over a decade and is the same beautiful colour today as it was when I put it up. The same original two coats of varnish, too. Use high gloss spar as a finish topcoat -- let it cure well and then rub it out to whatever finish you want. I would personally prefer to do the best I could to protect the purpleheart but no more -- I wouldn't mess with dyes. Hardly anything lasts forever, but who knows what that's going to look like in 10 years? Let the purpleheart speak for itself.
    Where'd you pickup the UV inhibitors from? I called Lee Valley they didn't have any and when I asked where I might find some they didn't know either. Home Depot's website doesn't show anything either. Not sure if I'm searching the wrong thing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Doug G
    replied
    Originally posted by two_halves View Post

    Hi Paul,

    Yes, I was planning on dying maple to look like purpleheart.
    I am really unsure what to do if dye is going to fade also.

    The options I know of are:
    1) I saw one guy talking about baking purpleheart (300*F for 30 min) and then applying UV inhibitors plus a clear stain on top.
    2) Apply UV inhibitors to my purpleheart plus a clear stain on top.
    3) Dye maple purple, then clear stain on top.
    4) Dye maple purple, apply UV inhibitors plus a clear stain on top.

    I only started woodworking this past summer, so thank you for your input and anything you can teach me here.
    Maybe nitpicking, but stain is not clear, I think you mean finish as in varnish, polyurethane, shellac etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • MartyFromKingston
    replied
    It'd be interesting to see how Target Coatings UV products fare in keeping purpleheart, walnut and such woods retaining their natural colours over time. Anyone done this?

    Leave a comment:


  • realkingmixer
    replied
    In my experience the UV inhibitors in spar varnish (available at any decent hardware store) are very effective in wood keeping its colour over time. Not sure about the purpleheart application in particular as I've never done it myself. I've got lovely red cedar sitting outside facing harsh western sun -- it's been up well over a decade and is the same beautiful colour today as it was when I put it up. The same original two coats of varnish, too. Use high gloss spar as a finish topcoat -- let it cure well and then rub it out to whatever finish you want. I would personally prefer to do the best I could to protect the purpleheart but no more -- I wouldn't mess with dyes. Hardly anything lasts forever, but who knows what that's going to look like in 10 years? Let the purpleheart speak for itself.

    Leave a comment:


  • Egon
    replied
    The cloth dye I've expieremented with says it will work on wood. I also boiled my dye mixes.

    One suggestion ion would be a few applications of the dye with light sanding in between applications.

    My experience is limited to one prodject finished a few weeks ago so no comments on durability or so on. ( mixed dye with oiled finish )

    Leave a comment:


  • two_halves
    replied
    Originally posted by carbonBased View Post

    I was going to suggest rit dye. I've used it before, on test pieces, and it seemed to work fine.

    I never did end up using it on an actual project, though, as I ended up using the Lee Valley sold aniline dyes.

    Worth nothing that the aniline dye was used on a dresser unit which sits out in a three-season-room (therefore someone reasonably exposed to sunlight) and doesn't show any sign of fade, 5 years later (not saying that it wont; just given an expectation on time-frame... so far it's been solid for me, over many years). iirc, it has about 5 coats of oil based poly on top of it.

    Note that the rit website does specifically list that it works on wood:

    https://www.ritdye.com/faq/what-is-rit-dye-2/

    --Jeff
    Thank you! That's great feedback

    Leave a comment:


  • Wally in Calgary
    replied
    Originally posted by two_halves View Post
    Pictures are fun.

    1) Well to be honest, as a nooby I didn't even know the difference between translucent or opaque until I just watched this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCiMwwxSMZg Am I correct in saying, opaque would look more matte and translucent would be more shiny?

    2) I'm going for a purpleheart wood colour. The project I'm doing would look like this (see image attached). I'm planning on dying maple unless someone has a better suggestion on a wood I should dye to make it look like the purple heartwood in this photo.

    I hope that answers your question
    You will never dye Maple to look like PH. Why not just buy a small piece of PH and save yourself all the aggravation.

    Leave a comment:


  • carbonBased
    replied
    Originally posted by two_halves View Post

    https://www.michaels.com/rit-liquid-dye/M10227545.html
    For $4 I'd be willing to test this out for sure.

    I'm going for the purpleheart wood look (see image I posted above), so if you have experience with this do you think I'll be able to achieve that saturation?
    I was going to suggest rit dye. I've used it before, on test pieces, and it seemed to work fine.

    I never did end up using it on an actual project, though, as I ended up using the Lee Valley sold aniline dyes.

    Worth nothing that the aniline dye was used on a dresser unit which sits out in a three-season-room (therefore someone reasonably exposed to sunlight) and doesn't show any sign of fade, 5 years later (not saying that it wont; just given an expectation on time-frame... so far it's been solid for me, over many years). iirc, it has about 5 coats of oil based poly on top of it.

    Note that the rit website does specifically list that it works on wood:

    https://www.ritdye.com/faq/what-is-rit-dye-2/

    --Jeff

    Leave a comment:

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