Add color to friction polish?

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Perry Hilbert, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    Just wondering, I use friction polish on most of my spindle work pieces. It would be nice if I could add some color to the friction polish for some items. I realize it would just be a transparent layer of color, but sometimes that is just enough.

    I tried adding green food coloring to a small bottle of friction polish. I added approx 12 drops of green food coloring to 1.5 oz of friction polish. The friction polish was a dark green. The result was a really pale transparent yellow-greenish hue. It was so slight, it was a bit disappointing. the addition of more coats really did not deepen the color noticeably. I am going to try more food coloring next time, but I am not real hopeful about the result.

    My next thought was to try a bit of latex paint mixed with the friction polish. I have been turning some small snow man ornaments out of poplar. Poplar is a dull wood. If I could give them a light white tinge with friction polish, it would make them look brighter and better. And then perhaps black for the hats. I won't have a chance to try the latex paint in the friction polish until next week.

    So before I ruin any more objects or friction polish perhaps perhaps repeating the efforts of others, has anyone tried this yet? Results?
     
  2. John Torchick

    John Torchick

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,158
    Location:
    Southeast Tennessee
    Not an expert on wood finishing but I would think it would be better to color the wood with tint, dye, or stain first.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  3. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Marietta, Georgia
    Bill Boehme and hockenbery like this.
  4. Hy Tran

    Hy Tran

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Dyes are little itty bitty molecules that penetrate the wood. Pigments are particles with color. Pigments are opaque (with sufficient density of coverage), dyes are not. Paint is made with pigments.

    Latex paint is a chemical polymer carrier with pigments. It will not mix well with friction polish, but it is a perfect finishing compound by itself. If your intent is a white snowman, you can certainly just use white latex paint, applied with either a brush, rag, or spray. I wouldn't worry about priming the wood. (Or you could use white primer--it'll still look good).

    I've used aniline dyes for decorative effects. That's generally applied to the wood first--but you have to use a finish that won't dissolve the dye after you've dyed the wood. Alcohol-based finishes will dissolve aniline dyes; oil-solvent based finishes generally won't. Friction polish on top of dyed wood smears the dye around, and cause one to come back with a gouge to redesign your project to be a bit smaller (don't ask me how I know that).
     
    Bill Boehme and hockenbery like this.
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,358
    Location:
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    For snow men consider pearlescent white airbrush paint. You can put it on with a brush.
    Looks like sparking snow.

    Also another color option is transparent airbrush paint. This lets the grain show through and you can brush it on.
    Brushing will give more color than an airbrush.
    An airbrush can give just a hint of color.

    alchohol base dyes give you a lot of color control. Wiping with an alcohol soaked cloth will reduce the intensity. You can remove almost all of the dye but not all and it will vary with the wood species. [edit to remkve ambiguity]
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  6. Hy Tran

    Hy Tran

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2012
    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    I would add that it is very difficult to use a dye to "lighten" something.

    By "lighten", I suppose I would mean reduce the saturation of the color. Saturation in general means "distance from white."

    Best,

    Hy
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  7. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    5,870
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    The problem with dying the finish is it's transparent. So it will mix with whatever color the wood is and can change the color. This is similar to using transparent air brush dyes. Spray the yellow and then spray some blue next to it. where they overlap you get green. The one advantage of dying the finish is being able to remove it or even add more with a different color for subtle changes. This is often used when trying to match a finish on an antique piece. As Al said if you dye the wood you can rub it with a solvent to reduce the affect of the dye when it's too dark. If it's mixed in the finish and is too dark you have to remove the finish.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,217
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    I think that you will be much more satisfied with the results if you apply dye directly to the wood prior to finishing. There is a sprayed finishing process called "toning" where dye is used to color the finish, but it must be sprayed to get satisfactory results and it also requires a lot of skill to be done well. One potential problem that I envision with using dye mixed with a friction finish is annular streaks of varying intensity of color.

    Food coloring isn't lightfast. Aniline dyes will work much better for coloring wood. When using a dye it would be very useful to be familiar with subtractive coloration ... the color of the wood, the color of the dye, and the color of the finish all play a role in the final result. In general, very light colored wood works best for dyeing a wide range of colors, but even a light wood like maple has enough amber to turn blue to green or to turn emeral green to grass green. The lighting conditions also affects the end results. Blue color will be subdued under typical indoor lighting which is strongly weighted towards the red end of the color spectrum. Bleaching the wood prior to dyeing is one option for having less color shift. Using a clear finish is also important. Shellac would add quite a bit of amber to the final color. Varnish also would add a bit of amber.

    I think what you are wanting for the snowmen is what's known as a pickling stain. I have some made by Behlen, but I don't know if it's still available. However, since the wood is poplar, I would recommend just painting them with flat white latex paint.
     

Share This Page