Wow. Charlie. Talk about nice work. I like the table - but the box
everyone is talking about here is gorgeous. Really nice design and
choice of woods to highlight it.
Personally, I like the kind of contrast that certain sapwood patterns
provide. I am not >>personally<< that fond of large pieces that are
homogenous in appearance. I see so much plywood in case/carcass
construction these days (even in tops) that some solid woods look a
lot like plywood to me in certain presentations.
Sapwood gives a great opportunity to have a contrasting trim,
highlight area or accent, showing off real, solid wood.
Most attempts to mute the transition of sap to heartwood are performed
with diluted stains, different toners, or even thinned glazes. I
haven't had that much luck with them, and don't like the end result of
muddied grain, unnatural coloring, or being forced to change the color
of the whole piece to accomodate an off color area.
BUT... I understand if you have to tone it down a bit, it happens. My
best luck has been with spraying highly diluted dyes. As always
practice on a piece you can sand off and try again, if you need to.
You need to almost airbrush the dye on, and it is easy to do. I use
Behlens SolarLux, and like it a lot. TransTint etc., have fading
problems, but so far I have had none at all with the SolarLux product
and it has been completely compatible with every finish I use.
To start, I find the color of SolarLux I am thinking will be the best
match for the wood I am trying to match, and start there. Thin the
dye with anhydrous alcohol, 1 part dye to 3 - 4 parts alcohol. I load
mine into a cheap auto touch up gun, and hit it with medium pressure,
medium fan. Mist on the sap area. Wait ten - 15 minutes (dry to the
touch) and spray again. You coats should be really light, and you may
need 4 or 5 coats to get the match you want. But doing it this way
you can dial in the color as close as you eye will let you.
Don't be fooled by the powdery appearance of the diluted stain on your
test piece. After misting 2 -3 coats, try a little top coat finish on
the test piece, and see if it matches the test piece (with sample
finish applied) you are trying to match. The top coat will clarify
the dye and define the final color.
If you are adjusting color in a table top or flat area that has an
offending board, remember that your dye application will require less
material at the start of the sapwood area as opposed to the middle of
the sapwood area. Misting on the coats of thinned product will allow
you feather in the color transition, making the dye almost
It probably sounds harder than it is. If I have good color tones with
me, I can hone in a good match with test finish in an hour (with a
fast drying topcoat - not poly).
Not all woods are the same, and with some woods that drastically
change grain pattern and formation from the heartwood to sapwood, your
success with this method will vary. I don't know anyone else that
does it this way, but it works for me as it maintains the clarity of
the wood grains.
Really liked that router box!