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A Non Traditional Windsor Finish: Time to Dye…

In our last post we had raised the grain and sanded away any stubborn glue spots. Now it was time to add the color.

I messed around with some of the mix your own dyes. Specifically I was seeking a dark brown with a touch of red for the final hue. I used Transtint’s Cordovan and started mixing and mixing. I have three scraps of wood in the 3 species represented in the chair: poplar, maple, and red oak. No matter what I tried I was not getting the depth of color I wanted. I kept strengthening the dye and I kept getting a purple cast to the pieces. Photobucket

The picture may not bring out the real colors, but trust me in the light this is definately purple. What did I do? Whenever I have a woodworking question I turn to the blogosphere to help. I put a query up on Lumberjocks and I dropped a question to The Wood Whisperer. Ironically, my frustrated Twitter update brought the first response, and Marc Spagnuolo offered to show me some of the General Finishes water based dyes. This solved my problem and I took a trip to Woodcraft for some Medium Brown dye. Photobucket

After a couple more test pieces I was excited to apply this to the chair. The consistency of this stuff is such that you can brush it, wipe it, or spray it without any messing with the formula. I poured this straight into a small spray bottle and was ready to go. Photobucket
I set up the chair in the driveway on some of my Painters Pyramids. Photobucket

Next I went to town with the spray bottle. It takes a certain technique to get the dye into all the nooks and crannies while dodging hornets the size of Volkswagons but the dye did go on easily. Since this is water based and the chair was sitting in the sun, the chair dried very quickly. I did go back over a few spots, but the shade was perfect with just one application.

In these pictures you can see how the color has unified nicely. There are still grain differences but I am not worried about that at this point.
PhotobucketAfter the chair was completely dry I did hit it with some 400 grit sandpaper. Even though I had already raised the grain with this amount of water based spray it is only natural to expect a little more to rise.

Next I will put on the oil/varnish topcoat. Stay tuned…

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