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Old 15th Sep 2021, 10:25 am   #1
PsychMan
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Default Spirit dye reccomendations?

I thought I'd share my experiences of using Liberon's spirit wood dye, the "new ethanol based formula". And also ask if anyone knows of something better?

I thought spirit dyes didnt raise the grain like water based ones do, this does however!

The directions are to apply liberally, allow it to penetrate, then wipe off excess. As opposed to water based dyes it's a single treatment process.

Following those instructions, I have a piece that was perfectly smooth before, sanded to 600 grit in stages, and cleaned with a brush and white spirit cloth. And it now feels very rough, as if I'd applied something water based! The areas where the grain has raised to a greater degree are also darker, and overall the coverage has proven less consistent than when using a water based dye.

The other issue is this doesn't seem to penetrate like a spirit dye should. Granted, it does a slightly better job of this than water based dye, but light sanding to alleviate raised grain is a risky business and you can end up with lighter patches. Cellulose sealer is also incompatible and lifts the dye.

I havent used any other "spirit" dyes, only read about them. Is there any particular brand or formula I should be looking for?

Best Wishes
Adam
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 10:55 am   #2
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

Grain raising is kind of independent of what finish you use. Sanding, or scraping, or planing always mashes the wood fibres over. As soon as you apply a finish, it soaks into the mashed fibres and causes them to pop up.

I tend not to use wood dyes. I prefer different types of French Polish (Pale, blonde, button etc) to give the colour, or different colours of wax polish.

What wood is it?

Craig
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 11:39 am   #3
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

the last wood dye I bought (for walnut veneer) was Rustin's, which is described as a 'solvent based, non grain-raising' dye. I overcoated with Lidl's Parkside alkyd-resin clear lacquer.

Rustin's also do an 'oil-based' dye which is also described as non grain-raising, I've never used it, and a water based one.
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 11:46 am   #4
PsychMan
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

It is only plywood, but old plywood with a fairly nice grain pattern. Its just something for the house. The various wipe downs with white spirit didnt raise the grain pattern, I was under the impression something spirit based wouldn't do that.

I've tested the spirit dye on a few walnut veneer pieces and other scraps I had lying around, the results were also quite poor. I went with this because the other half preferred the colour and had already bought it . I would have preferred to just use danish oil on this as it is, but unfortunately not my decision - Hopefully the danish oil will now restore some of the character that has been lost!

Adam
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 11:48 am   #5
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

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Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
the last wood dye I bought (for walnut veneer) was Rustin's, which is described as a 'solvent based, non grain-raising' dye. I overcoated with Lidl's Parkside alkyd-resin clear lacquer.

Rustin's also do an 'oil-based' dye which is also described as non grain-raising, I've never used it, and a water based one.
Ah good old Rustins! I do like their products. Unfortunately the other half wanted this particular colour. When you get into the darker stains the choice seems to reduce somewhat
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 12:01 pm   #6
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

Colron too.
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 3:12 pm   #7
stevehertz
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

I have a small 1970s collection of tins of Colron wood dyes that are spirit based, never had a problem with them and they just go on forever!
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 7:39 pm   #8
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

It's no good, I couldn't resist it any longer....

Spirit in The Dye by Norman Whitebaum



Lawrence.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 7:33 pm   #9
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

Quote:
Ah good old Rustins! I do like their products
Me too, quite a selection of reasonably priced products.
I've had a quick look in my 'finishing' box and most of my stains are Colron, (now part of Ronseal) the walnut Rustins being the first of theirs I tried. I also used some their 'Small Job' brown paint to do the plywood end grains (applied with an offcut of sponge) and applied to any filled-in worm holes with the end of a cocktail stick.

I've just tried Rustin's 'primer for galvanized metal' so I'll report back in a few years time to see how good it was...
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 7:56 pm   #10
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

It's fairly common practice in woodworking circles to deliberately raise the grain before your final finish sanding. It'll swell stray fibres and help raise old dings. Just go over the surface with a wet (not damp!) rag and leave it to dry naturally. It'll feel as rough as a badger's butt, so finish sand it thoroughly, go over it with a tack rag to get rid of all the dust and then apply your stain and whatever finish you're using.

Here's one take on the process on YouTube

Cheers,

Frank

Last edited by frankmcvey; 16th Sep 2021 at 8:09 pm.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 10:11 pm   #11
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

The way to get dings out is a damp cloth and an iron. I have two workshop irons - one for dings, and another for veneering use. Ultra cheapo ones.

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Old 22nd Sep 2021, 8:40 am   #12
PsychMan
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

I think all the dyes I've previously used were Colron water based ones. I think they're more "toners" than dyes technically, they don't penetrate deeply at all. Its quite easy to knacker your project if your rubbing down a coat of varnish on top and you accidentally go through the varnish. I'm very careful now to build up a few coats first before any dealing with any rougher imperfections. On the plus side with the colron stuff you can apply multiple treatments for a darker effect as they leave more of a surface layer.

I like the point about bringing out the grain first with a damp cloth, I remember reading about that a while back but have never thought to try it.

On the Rustins products, I like their Polyurethane varnish, and also the coloured acrylic varnishes are decent. Their decking oil I've found to be excellent and much better than the ronseal ones. It doesnt have artificial colouring added like Ronseal, and you can leave a nice durable gloss on the surface which lasts a long time. I did use their 2 pack plastic coating, which while very good is a challenge to apply. I've learned the secret is applying it is with a good quality fine roller. The stuff sets so fast that it doesn't settle much, leaving bubbles behind. It is also the most "fumy" VOC laden product I've ever encountered, more so then cellulose and the odour is less pleasant.

Thanks all for the contributions anyway, including Lawrence for the bad joke which I did enjoy, cant believe I didn't think of it myself!

Adam
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Old 22nd Sep 2021, 11:20 am   #13
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Default Re: Spirit dye reccomendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsychMan View Post
Thanks all for the contributions anyway, including Lawrence for the bad joke which I did enjoy, cant believe I didn't think of it myself!
No problem, it was just my imagination running away with me and I couldn't resist the temptations.....I'll get m'coat.

Lawrence.
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