Dye Wood Color Mixing

Dye Wood Color Mixing

How to dye wood and make preparations for wood dyeing, water based wood dye colors and mixing.

Craftsman Style

¶ The group of stains which come within these classifications are relatively unimportant but are given largely to clarify the finisher's understanding of the various kinds of stains.

¶ The color pigment stains are of no value for high-class work, especially upon hard, close-grain woods, because after all pigment stains of any type do not really color or dye the wood fibre, they simply spread a semi-transparent color coating on top of the wood. If the pigments are very fine and transparent, as those of good quality are, the stain does very well for porous, soft woods like soft pine, poplar, fir, etc. The pigment stains are satisfactory also for cheap work and temporary structures where it is desirable, principally, to color the wood and to put on little or no finish beyond color.

Dyewood Water Based Stains

¶ Years ago before the coal tar dye stains, anilines, etc., appeared on the market for use as wood stains finishers made water stains from a great many materials by cooking, steeping and brewing roots, berries, barks, leaves and minerals and gums in water and acid or alkaline solutions. In that manner the natural dye coloring matter was extracted.

¶ After securing the dye extracts various solutions of acids or alkalies were mixed with the stain or used on the wood in advance in order to fix the colors, to act as mordants.

¶ Time is worth too much in these days of high wages to make it practical to use these old formulas on the average job, but there is some advantage in knowing how those stains were made. The prepared aniline and other coal tar dye stains are much more simple to handle, they save time and produce better results. There is no danger connected with their mixing and use, whereas some of the acid and strong alkaline, caustic solutions in the following formulas burn the skin and clothing if carelessly handled. Rubber gloves are needed.

¶ The dye woods and other materials commonly sold for use in these stains are:

¶ Extract of logwood(black).
Red Sanders(red).
Alkanet Root(dark red).
Dragon's Blood(red).
Madder(purple red).
Cochineal (bright red).
Nutgalls(brownish black).

¶ There were many other dye substances used which are not listed by some of the paint supply houses, such as japonica, chestnut, fustic, bloodroot, etc.

¶ All of these coloring substances vary greatly in coloring strength and so it is necessary constantly to doctor formulas. Some of them are quite permanent in strong light, others like madder are very fugitive. All colors produced by the dyewood group of stains can be reproduced in character and better quality by the use of the aniline and other coal tar dye stains, most of which are permanent in light.

Mixing Dye Wood Colors

Oak Browns - 1 pound annato,
1 ounce strong lye,
6 quarts warm water.
Mix and boil about thirty minutes or longer for a darker color. Add 6 ounces of picric acid. Brush on one or several coats as needed, letting each coat dry before another is put on.

Mahogany - Nitric acid. Dilute with water and brush on to wood. Let dry.
1 ounce dragons blood. Dissolve first in a little denatured alcohol.
1 ounce sal sode. Dissolve in ½ pint water.
Mix these two solutions together and strain. Apply one or as many coats as are needed to make the color dark enough, liet each coat dry before putting on another.

Cherry - 1 pound annato,
1 ounce strong lye dissolved in 1 quart water,
5 quarts of water.
Mix together and boil for half an hour or longer for a darker stain. Brush on while hot. Use one or more coats, Jetting each dry.

Ebony Black - 3 pounds extract of logwood,
1 pound strong lye,
1 gallon water.
Mix and boil, then strain the solution. Brush on to wood, hot or cold. When dry brush on a coat of table vinegar. Heat the vinegar first and dissolve in it 3 or 4 ounces of copperas (sulphate of iron).

Silver Gray - 3 pounds extract of logwood,
S ounces vinegar,
1 gallon water, hot.
Brush on, let dry and finish with white paraffine wax only. Heat the wax and cut with ½ turpentine and % benzine. Varnish or shellac will turn the gray to brown.
On oak fill the pores of the wood with a white filler mixed: zinc oxide or white lead ground in oil. Thin with a mixture of 1 ounce boiled linseed oil, 1 ounce japan drier and 5 ounces benzine.

Other Grays - Gallnuts. Soak in denatured alcohol two or three days.
Green Copperas (sulphate of iron). Dissolve in denatured alcohol or boiling water.
Indigo. Dissolve in four times its weight of oil of vitriol (66 degree sulphuric acid) allow it to settle and dilute with, water.
Mix each of these solutions separately in a stone jar or in glass. To stain hard woods apply 1. The gallnut solution; 2. The copperas solution; 3. A weak solution of indigo. Allow each solution to dry before putting on the next. Use a white filler for oak, ash, chestnut.

Next Page: Color Pigment Based Stains.

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