If you used a real aniline dye, you may be able to take some of the solvent
on a rag and wipe the pieces to lighten (remove some of) the finish. A true
dye will redissolve in the presence of the solvent and can be manipulated.
You will probably find you have more control over the application using a
rag. A sponge brush puts it on pretty heavy and wet.
Yep. it was the real stuff, Homestead Transfast Water Soluable Dye
Just had an "Oh Shit" moment! Says on the webpage one ounce makes 2 quarts.
I could swear the label said one quart. No wonder its so damn dark.
Thanks everyone for the great advise and sympathy. I'm going to try
lightening the dark spots
and darken the light spots; soak and sand. I'm think it might look better
after several coats of poly also.
I think I shouldn't have messed with it Sunday. You know how sometimes you
just don't feel confident and put it away until later and it goes much
better? Usually these times, I either have a accident or screw up whatever
I'm working on.
You failed to mention the flavor of maple and the degree of slick. In my
experience, hard maple takes a dye better right off the scraper, and will
lighten a touch as you dewhisker it after the first seal coat.
Soft maple has been a bit more cooperative, but it tends to have the odd
grin reversal in it which gives dark or light lines. It is, however, a much
better visual match for cherry than hard.
(Gary relates disaster with analine dye on maple)
At least one poster has recomended the use of bleach to lighten or remove
the color. Off the top of my head, I couldn't remember the chemistry of
analine dyes except that they were one of the first important coal tar
derravitives. So I did a google search on "analine". The very first hit I
got brought up a similar problem and a warning. Analine compounds contain
ammonia. Ammonia and chlorine-containing bleaches combine to produce
chloramines, which are very irratating and possibly toxic. TFA can be
found at: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen01/gen01120.htm
I have to admit, when I read the post suggesting bleach, it sounded
I think I can help here...I was the one who recommended the wood
Analine dyes are no longer actually analine based...analine was a
highly toxic substance and has long since been removed from what we now
call analine dyes. The name stuck around though. As I understand them
now, they are metallic in nature, some sort of metal salt or something.
I just did a further Google search, and they recommend using the
chlorine-based bleach to remove dye-based stains. (Most said it was
ineffective on pigment-based, however.)
The transfast is all dye and no pigment, so chlorine is probably the
way to go. I agree with the others, though...probably best to first
get as much off with the original solvent as possible.
On Tue, 9 Aug 2005 08:59:16 -0400, the opaque "Gary"
Condolences on one nastyass learning experience, Gary. This post
should be included in the Wreck FAQ as a "Why wooddorkers should
never stain perfectly good wood." :(
Next time, read everything you can about finishing before trying
something new. Read Jewitt's "Hand Applied Finishes", then move
on to Flexner and Dresdner's offerings. If you ever uses stain again,
ask the manufacturer (and those here who think they can use stain
properly*) about all of the pitfalls first. There are _lots_ for each
and every type of stain.
Potential ways to save it:
1) "ebonize" with a solid black stain. If it still looks like shit,
2) spray it with black or white lacquer. IISLLS,
3) stick it in the garage or shop.
*(AFAIC, it happens so seldom, I consider it unattainable.)
Good news, Gary, you need another tool! Try out the others'
suggestions first, but if you find you need/want to strip to to have
another go at finishing it, try out a cabinet scraper (the vertias
ones from Lee Valley work really nicely, or you can just make one out
of whatever spring steel you may happen to have)- sandpaper is likely
to gum up on you badly when getting off a finish, but if you scrape it
first, it'll be a lot easier on you. You've got a lot of time into
the piece, don't give up on it- you'll learn more by fixing it than
you ever will by painting.
Well here is my 2 cents worth. First of all at least half of this game is
knowing how to cover your ass when thing go awry.
As far as I know there are 3 analines ,water,alcohol and lacquer ,it sounds
like you were using one of the latter two.watever one you use you must keep
a wet edge throughout the process other wise you will end up with streaks.AS
both lacquer and alcohol dry pretty quickly water alaline is the obvious
choice because it is more controllable . The only problem is water raises
the grain .This then necessitates wetting the piece several times letting it
dry and sanding it out so the "nibs" are eliminated before the stain is
applied . In short analines are fraught with problems their advantage is
they are free of solid pigmentation .I used them years ago but have since
found non grain raising [ngr] stains with little or no added pigment far
more satisfactory many have pretty long open times which eliminates
streaking..currently I use Mohawk ultra stains .
Now looking at your dilemma my suggestion would be to forget bleaching all
together ,that is just going to compound the problem . Take a look on the
can and see what the vehicle is ,lacquer, alcohol or water. which ever one
it is get some of the vehicle soak 4 zeros steel wool in it and scrub off as
much of the stain as you drying off with a clean rag or paper towel.
Continue this until no colorant is deposited on the rag . After the piece is
absolutely dry sand out as much of the remaining as you can ,try and get any
color left at this point as even as you can . At this point you should be
ready to restain .
You mentioned that the maple when stained goes somewhat blotchy. This being
the case and the fact as someone else mentioned the ply veneer will not act
as the solid wood will then the whole thing needs to be sealed first so the
stain does not get into the wood grain , In this case the stain becomes a
glaze . You can use a clear sand and sealer either sprayed or brushed on but
very thinned . Another good sealer is plain thinned shellac although it will
darken the piece and so the glaze will need to be a little lighter to
account for this.Whatever you use put a few coats on and sand them out with
say 180 or perhaps 220 paper.it should feel like silk .Dust off and apply
stain I usually use a clean rag and always keep a wet "edge " for corners
use a brush try and work quickly but cover everything fully .If you have a
stain which stays open for a reasonable time you can always come back and
make minor corrections here and there .areas than end up a little darker
than you desire hit them with a clean rag wetted with the stain vehicle and
pull some of the color out good luck
I have only used water-based aniline dye followed by oil and shellac
topcoat on maple, so you may want to take this with a grain of salt ...
but in my experience aniline dye always looks very dull and muddy after
application and frequently the color tone is skewed way toward the
bright side. In addition, the unevenness of the dye is accentuated. I
suppose this is because of the combined effect of the grain raising and
drying and the dye penetration. Fortunately, every time I've tried it
the topcoats eliminate all the muddiness and most of the nonuniformity,
and they also shift the tone toward the warmer side. In other words,
the appearance of the piece after application of aniline dye bears
little resemblance to the piece after the dye has been topcoated.
Using a fair sized piece of scrap, you may want to test the full
application of dye plus topcoat and see if the result is closer to what
If you find that your dye application is really badly uneven, then you
might want to try rubbing it to better uniformity with a rag wetted with
the same solvent used for the dye application (as other posters
suggested). Also, you could improve the uniformity a bit by using a
little more aniline (wipe on and off quickly with a rag); this will
help the uniformity but each application of aniline is cumulative in
darkening the piece.
Anyway, hang in there. Test the full finish sequence on a scrap board
and see where you are. Hey, the worst thing that can happen is that
you're in for a lot of scraping and sanding.
DO NOT PANIC!
Since you have not topcoated the stained piece, all you need to do is
use lot of rags or heavy paper towels like Scott Shop Rags soaked with the
solvent you made your dye mixture in. Keep wiping the stained parts with
fresh soaked rags and you will get almost all the color out. At a minimum,
you will even out the color and the lap marks will not be noticeable. If
you used liquid dyes from the start and did not dilute them, water should
work just fine but you may need to follow up with alcohol.
Do not use bleaches or sand. They are unnecessary and may create more
problems than necessary.
You will be left with a piece that has a very light stain on it. You
can now restain but your starting point is the evenly colored wood that you
have. It is just like refinishing a piece. You strip everything off and
are left with something clean but not exactly like it was if it were never
In the future, try applying the stain with rags or spray on an even
coat. Just work quickly.
Next time, I recommend you use a light colored dye to get a uniform
color on your piece. I use a bright yellow for a lot of my pieces.
Using a light color will avoid dark splotches while giving you an even
color. Seal this with a clear coat of shellac. Once the seal coat
has dried, you can mix your dye with shellac to create tints. Rather
than trying to get the exact color you want in a single coat, put on a
single tint layer of your cherry stain. If it is too red, follow it in
a couple of hours with a coat of brown. If it is too brown, hit with
another coat of cherry. Obviously, it is best to experiment on a scrap
piece of wood rather than your masterpiece. In this way you can
control the color of your piece. It also allows all three colores to
show through, you get your yellow highlights, and the reds and browns
that all show and make for a more interesting finish rather than a
muddy mix. If you mess up, you can always rub off the shellac tints
with alchohol. Practice rubbing off a layer on the scrap as well.
With a little practice, you can create the finish you want.
My first disaster was a six piece painted breakfront wall unit. I
painted it in January in the garage. I had heated up the garage, but
the wood was too cold. In an hour, all the paint had slumped because
the wood was too cold the hold the paint. It looked like a 500 pound
pidgeon had taken a crap on all my units, the raised panel doors, and
tops. I was so mad at myself I couldn't work on it for another month.
My wife was more motivated to get her wall untis, so she scraped off
the slumped paint and repainted it. You can't tell now and I get a lot
of compliments on it now. Don't dispair, allmost every error can be
fixed by a "design change."
So I am not the only one who has a tantrum now and then. Whew! :-)
And don't forget inlay -- "design changes".
Jewel Boxes and Wood Art
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those
who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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