Hand Tools Archive

Making Linseed Oil Stain?

David Weaver
I haven't done this yet, but I"m not satisfied with commercial stain on cherry. I'm guessing it's formulated more for heavily sanded softwoods, and even if I sand to 220 on cherry, the absorption is poor and the depth of the color isn't what I want.

I have the ability to dye the piece that i'm making, but I'd rather have an oil based stain (my dyes are alcohol based and will find use on guitars eventually).


I located this as well as some other things, and it encouraged me to try an oxide that I have on hand for razors (but don't use), which is very submicron iron oxide. Doing something as simple as wiping on regular stain and then rubbing the oxide onto the surface and wiping off the excess made a wonderful uniform result.

I have time that some other people don't (as in, if it takes a couple of applications and there's a wait between the applications, I don't care. I prefer a good result two weeks later to a crappy one two weeks sooner).

Any thoughts from folks who have made their own pigment stains? Thoughts on the recipe in the link? I've purchased some earth pigments and a couple of small cans of japan color to try either way (the second is a hedge more in the case that the pigments are too coarse). I'm looking for dark on cherry, like the sample on the right (burnt umber, raw umber and burnt sienna are the colors I've gotten, and if I need a little bit of reddish, I have a lot of sub 0.1 micron iron oxide on hand that'll never be used for anything else). The sample on the right is alcohol-based keda dye, though. I'm looking for oil-based because of the finish I'm probably going to apply over the colors.

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