Oil Stains, Oil Based Wood Stains

Oil Stains, Oil Based Wood Stains

The main types and characteristics of oil stains or oil based stains for painting and wood finishing.

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¶ Oil stains are very extensively used largely because they are convenient and very easy to apply. They dry slowly enough to permit brushing and rebrushing and so no laps and joints show. If the color is too dark after the staining is done some of the stain can be wiped off to make a lighter finish.

¶ Oil stains as a class do not penetrate as deeply into the wood as water stains, but they penetrate deep enough for most practical purposes.

¶ There are two kinds of oil stains, those made from the fat aniline and other coal tar dye colors called oil-soluble colors and those made from good quality tinting color pigments such as are used for coloring paints.

¶ The oil-soluble anilines are not much used, as such, by painters for mixing stains. But on the other hand the most popular factory-made stains are, perhaps, the oil stains, most of which are anilines, although many are not. Paint supply dealers do not always carry the oil-soluble anilines, but they do carry the water and spirit-solubles. The oil-solubles are sold in the dry form like the water and spirit-solubles.

¶ The factory-made oil aniline stains are called penetrating stains to differentiate them from the oil pigment stains made by painters. There is, of course, considerable difference in these two classes. The former really do penetrate into and color the wood fibre, they are really transparent. Whereas the oil pigment stains simply spread a very thin, fine coating of pigment on top of the wood, allowing some of the wood fibre to show through. The oil aniline stains as a class are far brighter, clearer and more transparent; they penetrate more deeply than pigment stains.

¶ Furniture finishers prefer water aniline coal tar dye stains, and they are generally preferred for all high-class finishing, because they are far more permanent in strong light and there are thousands of colors. The oil-soluble anilines, however, are used on cheaper grades of furniture and wherever it is desirable to protect the wood from moisture with a heavy coat of stain. They are also used considerably for the interior of drawers and cupboards of case goods furniture. These places are not exposed to light much and when so finished require little sanding. Variations of color are not important in such places.

¶ The oil-soluble aniline and coal tar dye colors are limited in number, - as compared to the water anilines, but there are quite a number at that. From the following list of oil-solubles any stain color wanted can be produced by mixing and blending:

¶ Black - nigrosine or naphthalene.
Brown - seal, loutre.
Brown Mahogany - orange and naphthalene black.
Reds - scarlet, carmosine and Bismarck brown.
Orange - orange Y and orange G.
Yellow - naphthalene yellow and auramine yellow.

¶ These are the basic coal tar colors. Each manufacturer, however, markets such colors and modifications of them under private brand names and numbers. If you will order as above you will get what you want.

¶ Among the advantages gained by using oil stains are the easy brushing qualities and freedom from: laps and joints. That makes for lower labor cost because it saves time. They do not raise the grain of the wood and so save the labor cost of sandpapering such as is necessary when water stains are used. This class of stains is brilliant in hue, as has been said; they are transparent and they penetrate into the wood deeply enough to be practical. They really enhance the beauty of the wood grain and color shadings. In the hands of unskilled workmen the results obtained generally will be better than when other classes of stains are used. Largely for this reason the factory-made oil stains are probably the largest-selling class of all.

¶ Considering the disadvantages attached to the use of aniline oil stains, we may say that as a class these stains are not permanent to strong light, at least not nearly to the same extent as the water aniline stains. The reds and greens in particular are very fugitive, so much so that when oil stains are used on interiors, the window sills, frames, casings and all trim exposed to sunlight, should be and usually are colored with water stains.

¶ Show windows, sun parlors and all light places ought never to be finished with oil aniline stains. Some of these oil stain colors are fairly permanent while others are extremely fugitive. It must be said, however, that the factory-prepared oil aniline stains are so prepared that they are far more permanent than the oil stains made by the painter from dry anilines and other coal tar dyes of this group. That is accounted for by the fact that skilled chemists are able to so combine the oil anilines with other chemicals as to get out of them the maximum durability or permanency in strong light. So that those stains used on the average interior and not exposed directly to the sun are entirely practical and satisfactory.

¶ It should be noted also that the factory-made oil stains are not all anilines; other coloring substances are used - whenever a more permanent color can be so produced. Asphaltum varnish is much used in these stains because of its great staining strength and permanency of color. In these factory-prepared stains correct proportions of many ingredients are used, - the aniline oil soluble reds, yellow, black, scarlet, orange and browns, as well as naphtha, xylol, acids, acetone, benzole, asphaltum, etc. Each serves some purpose well when skillfully handled by experts, such purposes as penetration, permanency of color, easy brushing and spreading without laps and joints, keeping the ingredients in solution, etc.

¶ In times past one of the most troublesome disadvantages of the oil-soluble anilines has been non-drying. A finisher should never spread varnish directly on top of an aniline oil stain. That causes the stain to bleed into the varnish, making a cloudy, muddy color effect. The solvents in the varnish lift the stain. Also this practice results in non-drying or tacky varnish. A thin coat of shellac should be put on top of the oil stain first and as soon as the stain is dry. That will seal it up. This shellac coat should go on before the filler, too, or the oil in the filler may lift the stain, resulting also in a muddy and cloudy color on the surface.

¶ The oil anilines usually require wiping over with a cloth to even up the, color before drying.

¶ These stains are apt to make very dark or black streaks on soft woods unless the soft, porous places are treated before staining with oil or shellac. Also the pitch-filled streaks take the stain much lighter than the balance of the surface unless such areas are first treated with a coat of alcohol; this to cut the sap or resin and give the stain a chance to penetrate.

¶ The oil aniline stains are useful in the medium dark and dark colors only. The light stains made of this class of coloring matter fade too soon to be practical. Better to use water anilines for very light colors as well as for the reds and greens.

Next Page: How to Apply Oil Stains.

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