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Sanding Sealer Prior to Dye?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Ed Weingarden, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    I just got some Transtint dyes, which I haven't used before. My previous experience with water based analine dyes was that the colors could be blotchy. Is it advisable to use a sanding sealer prior to applying the dyes, in order to get uniform coloring. I would be using a shellac sanding sealer (Seal Kote). Thanks.
     
    Paul Lajoie likes this.
  2. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

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    That's an interesting question. Unlike many of the basics of turning wood, coloring wood is very subjective. No two turners seem to do it the same and the results are very difficult to replicate. I've done a fair amount of coloring but using a sanding sealer prior to coloring has never crossed my mind. As for advice, all I can say is to try this on a similar piece of scrap wood before risking it on something you've put a lot of work into. I'm interested to see both the results and the suggestions that others come up with.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    if you use sanding sealer first the dye won't penetrate. Although if you sand enough it probably would. Dye typically goes in deeper and darker on end grain than side grain. I would do a test on wood that is similar to what you want to dye.
     
    Ed Davidson likes this.
  4. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    The golden rule of learning a new finish. DO NOT EXPERIMENT ON A COMPLETED PIECE! Get some scrap wood sanded up and then play with methods and chemicals
     
  5. Tim Connell

    Tim Connell

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    You can use a wash coat of shellac (1/2# cut) before dyeing to get rid of some blotch, but won't be able to achieve as dark a color. End grain and side grain will differ in absorbtion as previously mentioned, but some woods tend to blotch worse than others - cherry, maple, etc.

    Using the dye as a toner will give a more uniform color, but if you are using a lot of dye, can obscure the grain. An air brush can be very helpful in evening out color if that is your goal.
     
  6. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    I use my dyes straight on to the wood as I want as much penetration as possible.
     
  7. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    What Tim said.

    If you want it to be as uniform as possible then apply using a spray gun in a relatively light coat. The blotching effect comes in when there's excess material that can be absorbed by the end grain. If you apply only as much as the least absorbent surface will take up the result will be much more uniform.

    Prepare your dye in DNA (some folks use acetone, I've never tried it) so you don't raise the grain and need to re-sand after dyeing.
     
    Tim Connell likes this.
  8. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'll try a test piece today. I don't have a spray set up, so it will be wipe on. I'll let you know my results.
     
  9. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    How does the species of wood enter the picture? Ash vs hard maple for example?
     
  10. Tim Connell

    Tim Connell

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  11. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    Thanks for the link. It's an interesting approach that's described in the article.
     
  12. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    These tops and yo-yos are Broadleaf Maple with some quilting and burl. No sanding sealer used, but I did sand with #600 and Yorkshire Grit after dying, which really smoothed out and mellowed the color effects.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    Beautiful pieces!
     
  14. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    Just a comment from someone that doesn't use dyes very often: I always thought the blotches were caused by uneven penetration that occurs in figured woods like maple, therefore using a sealer doesn't seam like a logical solution, I think.
     
  15. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Doesn't Yorkshire grit leave a residual film of wax?
     
  16. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    I can't imagine that it would not. I don't know what all is in it, but it changes the color of the wood, so there must be oil or wax in it.
     
  17. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    Yes, it does leave a soft waxy feel, but I mostly go through a Beall buff for the final finish, and that takes care of that;).
     
  18. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    I'm just thinking that the remaining wax will moderate dye penetration in a manner similar to sanding sealer.
     
  19. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    I think he said he used to yorkshire grit after dying
     
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  20. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    My bad. I read that as after "drying".
     
  21. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    If I am dying the entire piece I don’t use sanding sealer. However if I am dying just an area maybe to highlight a texture band I do. If you don’t the dye will pop out in the adjacent areas because of porosity of the wood. In these cases I use the transient uncut, straight from the bottle.
     
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  22. Paul Lajoie

    Paul Lajoie

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    Gorgeous pieces Ed
     
  23. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Some woods take dye better than others. Hard woods do not absorb as much as soft woods. The sanding grit you sand to also affects absorption. Since Ed sands to 600 it reduces absorption and therefore lightens color and shows grain better. As to using a airbrush yes that gives a even color but usually I use multiple colors when I do use it. My favorite way to apply is to blot the color on with a paper towel and then blend with a light spray of DNA. Sealers no I do not use that is for oil based stain in flatwork.
     
  24. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    I've had good luck with WD Lockwood - the primary reason for my "good luck" is they have tech support there that can talk you through what you're doing.
    While I've only used walnut, the technique is:
    1) Sand to 220 or 320
    2) Spritz distilled water until it runs off
    3) Spritz a very diluted dye and wipe off
    4) Let dry and then rub very softly with maroon pad - should have said very very softly - maybe very very very softly
    5) If you don't like your first effort, keep going - that's the advantage of using lots of "very" diluted.
    6) Finish

    Most of their dyes are both water and alcohol soluble - never tried the alcohol..
    I know they will sell you a sample kit of five (5) 1-oz packets. The way I mix, you get almost a gallon to one (1) oz packet.

    A friend that made one-off conference-room tables and executive furniture (and hated woodturning) told me: Dallas is full of super talented woodworkers that do superior work - they then rush through the finishing with box-store products and hurry to the next masterpiece. The WD Lockwood, along with several others, will give the results you're after - just get good with it.
     
  25. Jerry Matamales

    Jerry Matamales

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    I'm new to turning as a matter of fact I've only been turning for one year, I just can't find a finish that I like, I've used polyurethane, verathane, paste wax, Mylan's friction polish, boiled linseed oil, etc. What do you guy's use?
    Jerry
     
  26. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Any of the above work well.if you do a good job of sanding. Some may take more coats to give a.glossy finish. I have 3 go to finishes. Mahoneys walnut oil.for user bowls. Spray lacquer for glass like glossy. This I rub out with automotive finishes to get perfect gloss. Minwax wipe on poly that i buff with the Beale buffing system for 90 percent of my work. With proper sanding the minwax gives me a glossy but thin n natural looking finish.
     
  27. Jerry Matamales

    Jerry Matamales

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    Thank's I have used the Minwax and Watco wipe on poly on some of my bowls but I seem to keep getting lines on my finished work, I've tried sanding up to 1200 grit but they still show, I am not familiar with the buffing system you mentioned.
    Thank you,
    Jerry
     
  28. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Jerry, if you have lines in your finished surface my guess is that it is most likely from inadequate sanding. I know you've gone up to 1200 grit, but p1200 paper is not going to remove a p180 scratch.

    It would be good to know what your sanding routine is, but here are some general suggestions for your consideration:
    1. Start sanding one grit more coarse than you've been doing.
    2. Before sanding lightly scrible over the surface with a pencil. Sand uniformly until the pencil marks are removed. You have now removed a complete micro layer of wood, and you've gotten an idea of how long to sand.
    3. Repeat the above with your first grit. It is the most important one.
    4. Advance to the next grit. Don't skip grits. Some people would call these half steps, but this is the sequence I use: 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 240, 320, 400, 600.... (I don't necessarily start with 60).
    5. After 180 and finer wipe down the surface with mineral spirits. This cleans off the dust and gives a preview of what a finish will look like and highlights any scratch marks.

    After you've gained some confidence, you can skip some steps, e.g. the pencil scrible.
     
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  29. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    I should have also mentioned that it is better to use raking light when you are evaluating the surface for scratches.
     
  30. Tim Connell

    Tim Connell

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    Jerry, on bowls and platters I use polymerized tung oil. Easy to apply, and you can get everything from a satin to fairly glossy finish depeding on number of coats. It is also very easy to "repair", just buff with steel wool and add another coat. The polymerzied oil dries in 8 hours or less vs the regular tung which takes days to dry.
     
  31. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    As Curtis said, it's very subjective. One question that should ask yourself is what is your objective ... two very different objectives include accentuating the figure as in the tops and yo-yos that Ed Davidson showed and toning the wood ... for example, the sunburst finish on a Stratocaster. If you want to accentuate the figure then apply the dye to bare wood. If you want to do toning then the dye is layered on top of layers of finish.
     

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