Black dye and chatoyance

Is it possible to color flame birch black and still keep its chatoyance? Perhaps applying the black over a sealer.
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wrote:

pigmented stains will tend to kill the figure. stick with dyes.
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wrote:

Not black, because the only real "black" is entirely matt black and non reflective. But you can get a very dark grey here and still see chattoyance - it's a compromise between how dark you go and how visible it remains.
I'd look at an ebonising mix, or maybe a dye stain, and avoid pigment stains. You want it _under_ any finishes, because those are a major part of highlighting chattoyance. Pigment stains are often a good way to get a nice solid black, but they'll kill chattoyance dead.
Experiment !
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I'm building a cajun accordion and I'm trying to make it as dramatic as I can. I don't want your plain old wood stained box after going to all that trouble.
This flame birch is beautiful, but its a bear to work with, particularly for a newbie who has only really worked with pine before.
I do intend to use dyes. And I'm spending a lot of money on experimenting already. Maybe it will pay off if I build other boxes.
I'm wondering if that Sam Maloof Oil/Varnish product will really bring out the chatoyance like it advertises (how do you pronounce chatoyance anyway? ) or whether another oil based product will do the trick.
I've already tried clear shellac, Deft gloss (both too glossy, over-riding the inherent shimmer of the wood, though its still there). Maybe shoot for satin finish next time or semi-gloss.
I tried some water based dies under the finish, and it just soaked that soft grain and clogged everything up, pretty much killing the glimmer.
Is it possible to layer water based dyes over something like the Maloof product?
Thanks for all our help with this clueless but determined builder.
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when "David Ford"

Make sure they _are_ dyes, not pigments. For dark water-based colours it's hard to guarantee this.

It should do, although personally I'd be reaching for shellac over oil. You certainly want something oil-based directly over the coloured timber. Use a good light-coloured tung oil based oil to build up the uneven fibres (the source of the chatoyance) into a smooth layer that you can apply a final finish to, without hiding things. Linseed tends to yellow with age and many varnish resins are also a little dark.

Quite possibly they actually had pigments in them. How about trying the iron + vinegar ebonising solution ? (Google for technique).

No - they need to go under it. Partly this is a materials compatibility problem - water based finishes aren't happy over oily substrates, but mainly it's because an even colour layer will blot the chatoyance out. You need to get the colour tightly bound to the fibres.
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"iron + vinegar ebonizing"
I read about that in one of my finishing books, but flame birch doesn't have much tannin, or so I've read. I'd need to go the tannic acid route first. But I've got plenty of steel wool which I can't use on this wood. Tears out too easily. Might as well find another use for it.
One of the products I tried was a dye. SolarLux by Behlen.
The other was MinWax Rosewood Water Based. That was probably pigment.
I think the problem with the dye and the MinWax was the blotchiness of dealing with woods with soft fibers. It just soaks it all all in that soft fiber.
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Tell you what. If you haven't done it yet, wait a couple of days. I'll whip some dye on some curly yellow and let you know or see. I'm not thrilled with my initial experiments on ring-porous woods like black ash and elm. Maybe diffuse-porous will be a bit more even.
BTW, key is to keep the pores clear of sanding slurry or whatever isn't clear. If you put satin varnish on it, you're letting additives in your finish scatter the light - uniformly - and you'll miss the real beauty of the wood. The shellac or lacquer, waxed with a 600 rub would have given you an eggshell surface that flatters the wood, though I prefer to keep things full bright and view them out of the glare over dulling them for viewing in harsh light.
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Thanks for your offer. It will be a couple of days before I can do anything.
Black is just one possibility. The others might be red or blue.
I did knock back the gloss on that shellaced piece I did, but it was either 320 or 400 that I used.
Thanks for those tips.
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David Ford wrote:

OK, I'll admit I had to look it up. A paltry 614 hits in google, but I expect it will catch on 'cause it sounds so good.
On the problem: Wouldn't *know*, but I have heard/read a good few applications of black dye (very specifically) might do the trick. Might do to wipe it off a bit to leave some lighter bits where it didn't penetrate as well, thus leaving some of the figure in (or even enhancing the figure, depending on how "black" you want it)
PK
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David Ford wrote:

OK, I'll admit I had to look it up. A paltry 614 hits in google, but I expect it will catch on 'cause it sounds so good.
On the problem: Wouldn't *know*, but I have heard/read a good few applications of black dye (very specifically) might do the trick. Might do to wipe it off a bit to leave some lighter bits where it didn't penetrate as well, thus leaving some of the figure in (or even enhancing the figure, depending on how "black" you want it)
PK
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