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erich@muttcrew.net
08-06-2010, 06:52 AM
We got some stains in dark colors that you dissolve in alcohol. OK so I started with the "Dark Walnut" packet and dissolved half the packet in 250 ml of 99 point something percent. After about a half hour and some vigorous shaking there was still a bit of sediment at the bottom of the bottle (which you could only see if you turned the bottle upside down) - but I figured it would be OK to start.

So, I put a little thin rod of light colored wood right into the bottle and let it soak for an hour. When I pulled it out it had taken on some color, not really that much, but only on the very surface. In that case I'm thinking I might as well mix it with some shellac so that it develops a certain thickness. On the other hand I've never been a fan of anything darker than "orange" shellac, so I don't know if I would really like it - probably not.

Does anyone have an idea how I can get a nice dark stain in light colored wood? Any helpful hints would be appreciated.

dave g
08-06-2010, 07:44 AM
What are you trying to accomplish (just out of curiosity). Some time ago I did some experiments trying to make fake ebony fret boards. I tried india ink in alcohol and got about the same result as you - not much penetration. Much better results with H. Behlen "Solar-Lux" stain (jet black).

erich@muttcrew.net
08-06-2010, 10:42 AM
The main idea is that we wanted to make an all dark uke with a stained soundboard. We were planning to use a piece of stained spruce or "mystery mahogany". This time I was just using a small 3 mm maple rod for testing.

Timbuck
08-06-2010, 11:31 AM
Use leather Dye.

erich@muttcrew.net
08-06-2010, 12:11 PM
OK, where do I get some...

Everyone with leather dye, over there in the corner and empty your pockets ;)

Timbuck
08-06-2010, 12:25 PM
Cobblers...http://www.flickr.com/photos/katemonkey/2491241829/ http://www.chaffinch.com/item.cs4?00=dylleath03 loads on the web.

thistle3585
08-06-2010, 01:28 PM
I pretty much use Fiebings leather dye exclusively on my instruments. A couple things, a softwood will absorb stain different than a hardwood. A wood sanded to 600 grit will take less color than the same wood sanded to 220. I typically sand to 220 apply a wash coat of yellow then a coat of shellac followed by subsequent coats of tinted lacquer. You can't add dye directly to the wood because the starting point will show. You should wipe the whole instrument down with a solvent to condition the wood before applying the stain. It will go on more consistently. Finally, here is a great video on finishing http://www.finewoodworking.com/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesArticle.aspx?id=30182.

erich@muttcrew.net
08-07-2010, 12:23 PM
Thanks Andrew. I'll definitely check out that video.

olgoat52
08-09-2010, 10:15 AM
http://homesteadfinishingproducts.com/ His transtint dyes are great. The liquid version is soluable in alchol or water. You can also pray on layers. Be careful if using alchol with spraying. It can get a bit dangerous. Water based is totally safe. Pre-raise the grain with your solvent and knock the nibs down with fine paper, 220 ro 320 maybe. The spray the dye and seal with shellac or sanding sealer.

thistle3585
08-09-2010, 10:39 AM
If your trying to stain spruce then I'd recommend sealing it before staining because spruce can come out pretty splotchy looking. I've know some builders to "size" the spruce with hide glue by brushing it on then sanding it back. The hide glue fills the pores and reduces the splotchiness. Or, use a standard oil stain as you would on a piece of furniture. If you do spray alcohol stains then you should spray thin coats of shellac because the alcohol in the shellac will make the stains bleed.

erich@muttcrew.net
08-09-2010, 12:29 PM
Thanks for the tips, guys.

What I ended up with after immersing the test pieces in alcohol stain for a couple hours was not very satisfactory - very uneven and the stain didn't really penetrate the wood at all.

I did try mixing the stain with shellac and that was... well dark shellac, which I don't really like as I said - I think the final result would be better because you can build up layers, but I just don't like the look of dark shellac on light wood. I hadn't prepared the wood with blond shellac, which is definitely recommended if you want to go to darker shades.

I especially didn't like the way the stain made the grain pores stand out, so I guess the mahogany would not be a good choice. On the other hand, Andrew points out that spruce can look splotchy, so that puts us nowhere. Actually splotchiness is one of the problems you can get with shellac if you go too dark too fast - especially if you don't get good thin, even coats.

We have been considering a couple alternatives. One is to put together a liminate with spruce in the middle and a very thin layer of dark rosewood on the outside. I have no idea what that would sound like but I think it would certainly look pretty good - a lot better than splotchy stained spruce or whatever. The other alternative would be to go with a darker wood like walnut to start with and build up dark shellac on top of that. Again, I don't know about the sound but I think we could get the color at least to a dark brown.

Leather dye, as suggested by Ken, might be another alternative to look into.

Philstix
08-09-2010, 07:46 PM
How dark do you need this to be? Black walnut with finish on it can be very dark, especially if you choose the piece for its color. And walnut, as opposed to spruce or even mahogany will accept stain very evenly. Use a dark grain filler. If you need it darker than that you are essentially painting it.

erich@muttcrew.net
08-10-2010, 01:07 AM
How dark do you need this to be? Black walnut with finish on it can be very dark, especially if you choose the piece for its color. And walnut, as opposed to spruce or even mahogany will accept stain very evenly. Use a dark grain filler. If you need it darker than that you are essentially painting it.

We wanted to get as close to black as possible.

We started out looking for a dark piece of walnut (or mahogany), but I wasn't able to find anything suitable. And yes, I would agree that we're essentially talking about painting the wood, which is not really what we wanted to do.

olgoat52
08-11-2010, 01:29 PM
If I was spraying alcohol stains, I would seal with a lacquer based sanding sealer so the stain does not bleed Even water base of the stain would be better but the color will be a bit grey. Whatever your solvent for the stain is, use a sealer based on another solvent.


If your trying to stain spruce then I'd recommend sealing it before staining because spruce can come out pretty splotchy looking. I've know some builders to "size" the spruce with hide glue by brushing it on then sanding it back. The hide glue fills the pores and reduces the splotchiness. Or, use a standard oil stain as you would on a piece of furniture. If you do spray alcohol stains then you should spray thin coats of shellac because the alcohol in the shellac will make the stains bleed.