Hand Tools Archive

Re: Coloring wood
Response To:
Coloring wood *PIC* ()

A dye will dissolve in the right solvent, and then can soak into the wood, to later be covered by finish. A pigment remains as particles that do not dissolve; while some of them will lodge in crevices when applied merely with solvent, most would simply fall off. So pigment needs some kind of carrier, like a varnish, to glue it to the surface.

Why would you choose one or the other? A dye will obscure the grain of the wood less, but it is more susceptible to fading over time on exposure to light. Uneven absorption can lead to blotchiness. A pigment is more light stable, but more care is needed to make the surface roughness very even, as it can highlight scratches, open grain, and uneven surface in general.

One way to color evenly without obscuring the grain is toning. You first seal the wood with finish, then apply dye color on top. This avoids any blotch, and can be protected by further finish layers.

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