aniline dye on maple


I plan to use Water base analine dye on Maple. Sand to 180 grit or scrape then wet,dry,sand to 220 grit or scrape. My question is do I want to use wood conditioner before applying dye. With oil stains I found a more even color using conditioner. A sample doesnt always tell the anwswer.On top I plan to brush Rockhard Varnish which I have also never used and would appreciate any words of wisdom. Thanks in advance
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Hi Henry, WB dyes get into the wood fibers, therefore you do not want to use a conditioner / blocker first. Spraying and not wiping is a great way to apply them on blotchy woods. Although I have brushed dark ones on with good effect. Oil stains tend to have the pigments which rest on/near the top and a conditioner evens out the small amount of adsorption that occurs. JG
henry wrote:

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Henry said:
I plan to use Water base analine dye on Maple. Sand to 180 grit or scrape then wet,dry,sand to 220 grit or scrape. My question is do I want to use wood conditioner before applying dye. With oil stains I found a more even color using conditioner. A sample doesnt always tell the anwswer.On top I plan to brush Rockhard Varnish which I have also never used and would appreciate any words of wisdom. Thanks in advance
Ray replied: The WB stain works great on maple. You have the right idea of wetting then resanding.
You might also want to consider Boiled Linseed Oil after the stain. I tried this and the results are simply amazing. I applied the BLO with 220 wet-dry sandpaper. You have top put on a liberal amount of the BLO and use a light touch because the stain does not penetrate very deep. Wipe it off across the grain and let dry for several days. I ended up doing two coats of BLO before the varnish. Even the plain maple I got from the Borg looked great after doing this. Now if I could get the varnish applied without any drips...
I had to resand it all because I tried applying the varnish in a dimly lit basement over the winter and ended up with runs. Any tips on applying varnish? I tried a cotton rag and a foam brush and didn't like either. Should I thin out the varnish before applying?
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Tip 1: You need to see what you are doing. so buy some lights. Two tube shoplights are pretty cheap. Also, get one of those portable halogen worklights they can be repositioned to highlight the area you are finishing.
Tip 2: If by varnish you mean poly, I always make a mixture of 1:1:1 of poly/BLO/MS, then wipe it on. The finish builds slowly however. You may need 5-6 coats. Don't glob it on, just wipe on a thin coat. I apply it with a paper towel (Ragz) folder up into a pad about 2"x3". Be patient. If I do a door for example, I also prop it up in the vertical position when it dries so it collects less dust. Sand between coats with 600 W/D using MS as a lubricant. Maybe use 1000 grit for the final 1-2 coats.
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No, I mean varnish. I read about this technique and it said to put varnish over the BLO after it dries. The varnish enhances the grain variations. I guess this works because it is not as 'clear' as poly.
Anyway, the varnish goes on 'sticky' and dries very fast so it is hard to get a smooth finish. I wouldn't mind doing several coats, maybe I should mix some mineral spirits in with the varnish?
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Jeff Jewitt had an article in Fine Woodworking 5-6 years ago about Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil Varnish and how to apply three coats a day. Slick application and it works. Suggested varnish/naptha in 1:1 ratio and folded Viva paper towel as they're smooth. He commented his students really liked it and so do I.

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