Anoline Dye Disaster

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For the past what seems like months I have been working on a small cabinet/nightstand for SWMBO. You know how it goes, " To build YOUR cabinet, I'll need those raised panel bits and that dovetail jig and that router and spindle sander,..." LOL
I am a newbie and have been experimenting with several features in this cabinet; raised panel doors, hand cut-dovetail corners and basis scrollwork on the legs/feet. I have been using hard maple and maple plywood for the carcus. For a newbie, I have been quite pleased with my work.
Well before I assemble the cabinet, I decided I should stain the parts. I wanted to match our Pennsylvania House cherry bedroom furniture which is a darkish brown color. Reading all about staining maple to look like cherry here on the rec and the web, I bought aniline dyes; Antique Cherry Red and Deep something Brown. I mixed up the Cherry Red and tested on some scrap. Way too red. So I added just a dash of the brown. Like a chemical reaction, the dye instantly turned a deep dark sh-- brown. I tried it on scrap and decided that it wasn't too far from the bedroom furniture color and decided to use it.
And so, I started slapping the stuff on my project pieces. I used a 4 inch sponge brush to apply it. Well, it has made the biggest mess. Everywhere the brush lapped shows a dark streak. It is impossible to get the color to even out. There are several dark botches where the maple/plywood soaked the dye right up and in other areas the wood hardly took up any dyes. You can hardly see my beautiful hand cut dovetails. There is a white line on each plywood piece where the plys butt against each other. The door panels look like walnut stained yellow pine.
I an so disappointed it this mess. I had a really nice cabinet in the works that I was proud of and now its a shitty brown mess. I have no idea of how to remedy this mess other than paint it white and stick it in my garage.
Gary
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Gary wrote:

Use a rag and work fast. I just used some antique cherry aniline dye on oak. It looks fabulous. But -- the streaking does show unless you work the whole surface at once -- and fast.

Maple generally takes a dye better -- but....
TEST FIRST.
Too late. We all learn that lesson the same way. (There was a song about that: When will we ever learn...?)
Get Bob Flexners book on Understanding Wood Finishing. Look in Amazon and Chapters if you like.
As he points out -- there is a time and a place for a _stain_ this was probably the place. Where you must deal with many absorbency factors in the same project. Either that or treat each piece differently -- a lot of trouble.
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/item.asp?Item=978076210191&Catalog=Books&Ntt=wood+finishing++Flexner&N=35&Lang=en&Section=books&zxac=1
Updated version -- about to be released... http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/item.asp?Item=978076210621&Catalog=Books&Ntt=wood+finishing++Flexner&N=35&Lang=en&Section=books&zxac=1

Glue line -- chisel it out first... When the glue is still flexible -- but not "sticky".

Welcome to the _real_ world or wood working. Persevere.

-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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Gary wrote:

Hmmm. I thought he stated that he did test.

I have Flexner's book and immediately pulled it out to quote portions of the text to help the OP. Actually, I did not find anything that the OP did wrong. I'm not sure what you mean by "_Stain_". The OP used analine dye which is a form of stain.
Bob
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BillyBob wrote:

Clearly not enough. Been there myself. He did not state whether he tested all types of wood or one type. Not enough info to judge one way or another... He did not even state that it was scrap wood from the same furniture piece -- I did that -- _once_. We could guess that's what he meant...
Not nit picking -- spent many years trouble shooting designs and projects -- most people really do not give enough details to do more than guess -- which we are doing.

Nor do we know that he did anything "right". We are both guessing. Your guesses are as good as mine. Hopefully someone will provide enough info to guide the fellow for "next time".

Most people here refer to "stain" when there is particulate suspended matter in the solution etc... The stain generally obscures (muddies) the grain. Dye does not have suspended matter -- and hence will not normally obscure the grain. Hence some (most? many?) people prefer the dye -- for Cherry for example -- misguided souls the lot of them.
I have successfully used Deftoil Danish Oil -- Fruitwood colour -- in these circumstances (on cherry, maple, walnut or oak combinations). It is a "stain" -- but acts more like a die -- according to Flexner. (See Understanding Wood Finishes page 85 -- UR corner -- note on bitumen or gilsonite.) I stumbled on this use by accident when creating pieces from multiple woods -- yet I wanted the colour to "tie together". Like most people I checked afterwards and it confirmed why it worked.
See here for Deftoil info... http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p=45090&cat=1,190,42942
I think Flexner seems to indicate a _gel_ _stain_ in these circumstances where stain absorption is uncertain... but I could be reading his book wrong. Unfortunately if the Cherry Stain Police are active in the neighborhood you are risking a substantial fine. lol
I have actually used walnut coloured, oil based stain on walnut lately -- looked great. It did muddy the grain, but it tie together all the different hues in the wood. Another Flexner tip.
Flexner is right about one thing -- some people give "stain" a bad rap.
Cheers and best wishes.

-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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Fair enough. I agree with you.
Best regards, Bob
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Hi,     Several have alluded to this but not very explicitly. Both solid wood and plywood were used on this project. Depending on the how the face veneer of the plywood were manufactured, plywood can respond very differently then solid wood to dyes and stains. If the veneers were sheared off a rotating log, the grain and porousness of the wood is usually quite different than solid wood, and often varies greatly across veneer itself. Most of us are familiar with the stained pine plywood look. Usually not good.
Thanks Roger
********************************************************* BillyBob wrote:

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On Tue, 09 Aug 2005 13:31:17 -0400, the opaque WillR
HAH! 98.999% of all who try do. Then there are artistes.
------------------------------------------- Stain and Poly are their own punishment http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design =====================================================
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I have been called worse. lol
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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On Tue, 09 Aug 2005 19:30:45 -0400, the opaque WillR

You STILL don't get it, do you? <sigh>
I wasn't saying the 98.999% were artistes. I meant that very few people in this world can do anything decent with stain.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I did actually -- but it is fun pulling your chain a tiny bit.

Every so often I _do_ use stain. And I believe that you can get very nice results where the wood has a lot of variation in absorbency.
See one project here where http://woodwork.pmccl.com/Business/productsbusiness/productcatalogbusiness/productpagebusiness/classicalstyle.html
The maple/walnut inlay and the cherry panel top were tied together using the fruitwood deftoil Danish Oil Finish... There was too much colour variation for it to look nice -- to me anyway.
Deftoil used... http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p=45090&cat=1,190,42942
I used Minwax Dark Walnut (#2716) to stain the Walnut -- too much variation in the walnut. It obscured a bit -- but what the heck -- it looks better now than it did. The contrast in colours was worth the loss of clarity in the wood.
I experimented a lot on pieces that came from the project -- and even let some of the samples age a month.
Recently I did some ceramic and mill work(?) for a house -- the stairway and landing. I put in light coloured ceramic, some brass trim and trimmed that with oak -- dyed with antique Cherry Aniline dye from Lee Valley, topped with heavy duty glossy Poly, and replaced the carpet with a Berber that contrasted and complemented the millwork and the ceramic. It has been getting an "Omigod - that is incredible!" reaction from viewers. I will post some pictures in a week or so when I have applied the top coat of heavy duty _Polyurethane_ to the rest of the work. It brings out the colour contrast and brings out a glow in the wood -- due to the lighting in the stairway, landing and entryway. Poly does add some yellowing, but I wanted that in this scheme... I will probably strip the railing and try to bring it in to the same colour range as the trim. If the aniline dye does not work -- I will use a gel stain -- despite the obscuring of grain.
One fellow who looked at thew woodwork at just said. "When you are finished drop over -- look at my entry way and tell me how much money you want and when you can start. Do whatever you like... " That's the kind of reaction I like to get. Now if I only actually did this work professionally...
So I say -- try anything -- and persevere till you get the effect that you want.
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 10:04:01 -0400, the opaque WillR

No, you don't. Point in fact: You use stain and poly.
Case closed. ;)
--snip--

Ah, the "Hack at it until it looks good again" ploy, eh? =8-0
I'm more of a fatalist: If at first it doesn't look good, paint the sumbish. 'Course, I stopped staining and polying decades ago for those very reasons. Now it's clearcoats or paint...but I've never had to paint a clearcoated project. They can be refinished without any trouble at all for those times of moth/fly landings, sweat drips, and dropped rags/brushes. <sigh>
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Thought I used the word "test" -- but what the heck... ;-)

Paint -- the last refuge of the non-stainist. lol

I keep a spare tubafour for the moths and flies -- just stun 'em!
And I only dropped the rags and brushes four times today -- a new low. Course the lid fell and splatted...

-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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On Thu, 11 Aug 2005 01:08:53 -0400, the opaque WillR

There's a difference? ;)

Ayup. It works for pineywood of any sort and pre-stained hardwoods.

Bbbut, the mothwing dust! <gasp>

Yeah, they're good at that. Especially when you open the can on top of the project. BTDT, GTTS.
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Gary wrote:

next time, spray either alcohol or water based dye stain on maple using HVLP equipment. Use many "dry" passes to get blotch-free results. Just slathering it on with a brush is going to give you the piss-poor results you reported here...
another tip: practice any new finishing technique or new-to-you material on plenty of representative scrap material; not just on a couple square inches of scrap.
Dave
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David wrote:

...
Sounds like a significant part of the problem here was not testing on all separate material components of the project individually to see the differing effect.
I'd also suggest that analine dyes are a particularly unforgiving species and should probably be left for later on in the arsenal of newbies after practicing on multiple less significant pieces before attacking a real prize piece.
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Hate to say this, but Welcome to Maple!! It's a beautiful wood, but experience shows most people have better luck using it in a piece where it can be left in its natural color...very blonde. It's tendency to blotch is second only to cherry, and is just too great for most people.
Now, before I get flamed up one side and down the other, there ARE ways to color maple. One way is to use a toner or glaze. Another is to add color to the actual finish (shellac, lacquer, etc.). For these, you're probably going to need spray equipment.
But in terms of coloring the wood itself, I know of only one decent way, and that is glue-size. It's water-based, so you will not be able to use a water-based dye on top of it. Wet the wood with distilled water, let it dry, sand down the raised grain, repeat twice. Then coat the board in the glue-size, wait for it to dry, then sand **very lightly** to knock down any remaining fuzz. Then use an alcohol or NGR-based dye and work quickly. I've never tried a pigment-based stain, but I think that may work as well.
Personally, I still don't like the looks of the finished product, but it's one way you can make it darker without spray equipment. Glue-size is available from Homestead Finishing Products.
As for repairing your cabinet, you can try wood bleach. There are three different types, and I can't remember which one works best on dyes, so you'll probably have to Google it. This may or may not give you enough color-removal, though.
Good luck!!
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Reread my post, wish to make a correction:
In the first paragraph, I refer to "most" people twice. I'm not sure that "most" is the word I should have used...perhaps "many" would have been better.
Certainly there are a lot of pros on this group that can get good results.
YMMV!!
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You MAY be able to salvage your cabinet by working the surface with a solvent soaked rag. This should pull out some of the dye and even out the color.
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What he said. If it is a water based analine then use a water soaked rag or sponge and try to "wash out" the problems. If it is an alcohol based analine, then do the same with alcohol. Get it real wet, let it soak for a bit and scrub like hell.
Analine's are not something to start with. They are hard to use and Maple is a bitch.
One idea is to sand the heck out of it. Even though you'll have dark parts in any crevices, you can then go over it with some oil stain (ie Minwax... yes I said it) and with some hard work can end up with a good looking piece that looks like it's been glazed or antiqued.
The white line on the plywood is probably a glue line. You may have to hand color that using a tinted lacquer or a felt tip pen.
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On Tue, 9 Aug 2005 09:43:54 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote

Agreed, You can even out and lighten things up this way.
-Bruce
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