My regular (and favorite) supplier Arizona Silhouette
is out of the green bottle stopper blanks (in
both boxelder and Maple).
I'm looking for another supply. I did
find: http://penmakingsupplies.com/Projects/bottle_stop3.php ,
but at $7.50 x2 it'd make an expensive bottle stopper.
Anyone know of another source?
So far ebay and other usual supects have come up dry.
When I make small Christmas stuff and want some color, I use Ritz
(sp?) clothes dye (color fast, UV resistant) mixed with anhydrous
alcohol. The anhydrous alcohol will actually suck out some of the
moisture in the wood and replace it with the dye/alcohol mixture. I do
this when I make little wooden Christmas light bulbs in red and
green. Oddly enough, I have to go to a fabric/hobby store to get the
exact color I am looking for, a kind of "pool table felt" green.
Cut your blank to shape, sand it, final sand it. Drop it in the dye
mix. Leave it there overnight. Take it out and fiber pad/steel wool
it, then if you have raised grain issues, drop it back in again
overnight. Final sand and polish as usual. Make sure you give it a
chance to dry properly between sandings and testing as you will have
green everywhere if you don't.
Soft woods don't need overnight and will take in so much dye you will
think it is baked in But a small, burly knot that doesn't take the
dye really well surrounded by softer woods looks fantastic. Hard wood
times vary, as does spalted materials. I experimented with times and
dye mixes a lot, and now I just mix in a teaspoon of dye and put in
pint of alcohol and let them swim in it.
You have latex gloves or tongs for this, right?
A word of warning: Mix your dye with distilled water if you are
working with spalted wood as the alcohol will destroy the ink lines we
all like so much.
You can do a million stoppers this way for pennies.
You could also use Behlen's green wood dye available at Amazon. I
have no personal experience with it.
I like the suggestion on dying my own, but
how deep does the dye penetrate?
I need pretty deep color because I actually
glue up 2 parts for a stopper that looks like
a Thistle. Here's the idea but in polyester:
Maybe I'll get the one currently on the lathe photographed.
So after gluing the green and purple parts together I'd need
to clean it up some -- hence the need for good penetration of
Not trying to be cagey, but it depends on the wood. A piece of soft
maple will haul in the dye, a piece of burly oak will not. If you
have some pieces that you are willing to try this on as an experiment,
it would probably be worth your while. (C'mon... what turner doesn't
have dozens of little nubs of this and that looking for a home?)
You know what I mean! ;^)
Put a piece of the wood you are thinking of making your stopper from
in the dye and leave it overnight. Dry it out and cut a cross section
with a saw. That will tell you how THAT particular piece will react.
I have seen soft maple come out of a long soak of this stuff with
about 1/8 penetration. On your woodturning, that means you would only
have to get that little stopper within 1/4" of final shape. Not hard.
You won't ever get the same results from your house as they dye those
pieces under something like 60,000 pounds of applied pressure,
injecting them with some resin as well at the same time to help
stabilize the blanks. I have read some ridiculous numbers on the
fully stabilized blanks, so much so I wouldn't even post them.
The reason I said above to cut most of your shape before you dye was
to make sure you minimized your penetration problems. You cut the raw
wood into shape, sand it to finish, and then dip in your dye again if
you have some irregularities in the finish.
Here's why I don't worry too much about Those dyes are pretty
forgiving. If you sand off a little too much and it looks uneven,
even after you assemble, you can touch up the dye job before finishing
with a .10 artist's brush and a quick swipe with a rag The more burl
and swirl the piece has the less chance anyone will ever have of
detecting color differences.
What are you using for your final finish?
Another question, are you using plated chrome stoppers or Ruth Niles'
Yes, I do. Every time I try to walk across the shop without
I did go get a nice piece of maple burl yesterday and stuck a
sliver into some TransTint (water soluble) dye yesterday for
about 1.5hrs. Pretty much no penetration.
I'm thinking if I can get a vacuum pump I might try this:
Hmm.. Anyone in the Phoenix area got a vacuum system I could borrow?
> What are you using for your final finish?
I had been using shellac and wax, but was considering moving
> Another question, are you using plated chrome stoppers or Ruth Niles'
> stainless stoppers?
I have some of the plated chrome stoppers, but my newest order
was all stainless.
Think about it. The lower the density/SG of the wood, the more spaces
versus places, since all wood's pretty much the same sugars. Means aspen
and such are going to give you the best penetration versus time.
You can create a sort of mini vacuum by warming the wood and placing it into
the dye. Lower pressure of the heated and expanded air will draw as it
Reminds me of a industrial potato peeler at a french fry factory I
once visited for work. They load up a 1000lbs of potatoes in a
pressure vessel. Pressure it up to maybe 100 psi or so (can't remember
the exact amount), hold it for 5-10 minutes, then release the pressure
all at once. Blows the skin right off the potato.
A coworker's wife used to work at the Lays plant
in Casa Grande, AZ. He repeated the stories
about watching for rabbits in the trainloads of incoming
Evidently rabbits look like potatoes to the picking machines.
But they make an awful mess when they hit the slicer.
"Picking machines"? Potatoes grow underground, they're dug, not
picked. Heres one kind of potato digger, complete with videos
Rabbits don't much like potatoes anyway, there are unlikely to be
rabbits in a potato field unless they're crossing it to get to
Even if there is a rabbit in the field, I can't see it sticking around
when one of those things is coming down the row.
Not saying that no rabbit ever got caught in the potato harvest, but
it would be pretty rare.
I suspect he was spinning you a yarn.
Given the poisonous nature of the potato foliage, it is a good thing to
plant rows around a garden with rabbit problems. My problems are with deer,
so I plant the onions, shallots and garlic out on the edge.
Snakes in hay bales can be a real thrill, I can tell you that.
That's why I put in the earlier post to mix with alcohol. It is
miscible with water, and will actually pull the surface moisture out
of the wood to a small extent, penetrating more than water, bringing
the dye along with it.
On small pieces I have heard of some successes using a food vacuum,
and simply cycling the vacuum several times. The object to be dyed
are put in a vacuum canister (not the bags) and covered with the dye
solution then cycled.
Are you buying those from Arizona Silhouette?
As for finish, I line mine all up stuck on dowels and spray them with
a couple of coats of lacquer from a rattle can. Then assemble. If my
finish is where I want it I don't buff or anything else before
I haven't made that many, but I have been approached by someone that
wants to see if I could make a lot of them for him to give as gifts in
his business. As when I was making pens, it will probably work fine
at first, but then so many will be doing it that the prices will drop
to near nothing.
I get from $17.50 (chrome) and up to $25 (stainless) and everything in
between for one of these. You? Anyone else?
RUBBISH! If it mixes, it merely dilutes. Water and alcohol molecules both
find their way out to and are carried away in air. The more volatile
alcohol finds its way out at a faster rate than the less-volatile water.
Alcohol mix dyes are used because they don't raise the grain as much as
water mix. The reason the grain raises with water mix is that the water
gets involved in hydrogen-bonding with the sugars, fattening them up. The
wood boys refer to it as "bulking." Alcohols aren't as polar and prone.
And it carries no surface moisture with it? Should I surmise that
when I wash my hands with anhydrous alcohol to clean them and they
turn crusty and white that NO moisture was carried away? I doubt it.
They seem pretty dry and without surface moisture to me.
In this instance, it works for me. YMMV. I know you well enough from
this venue George that there is little room or tolerance in your world
for contradiction to your own beliefs, but the alcohol testing I did
with Behlen's Solar Lux did indeed penetrate significantly more on
identical pieces of wood over the same period of time. >> I << cut
the pieces, >> I << put them in the dye mixes, and >> I << cut the
cross sections on the miter saw.
Some way, under identical conditions with the only variable being the
alcohol, there was a much higher penetration rate of the dye. My
observations are the results of my personal experience.
Of course, as already stated, YMMV.
My explanation may not have suited you in so far as how the dye
penetration process works, but I believe yours to be oversimplified.
I would think of you would try a simple penetration test yourself you
would quite probably see a difference. After reading several well
researched treatises by woodturners on alcohol drying and the use of
alcohol as a carrier when dyeing or staining, there are two distinct
camps with two different sets of supporting evidence.
Obviously we don't belong to the same one.
Uh, the reason they're dry is because you've removed oils. Fortunately your
body will produce more.
Take a quick look at how distillation works and you'll see what's happening.
The azeotrope is ~95/5 % with ethanol. So with as little available water
and as large a percentage of _anhydrous_ alcohol, it is what's evaporating.
That azeotrope business is what makes methanol a good denaturant.
ethanol/methanol azeotrope makes it near impossible to redistill.
You might have read before you responded. Didn't say it wouldn't penetrate
farther. Just might, given that alcohol moves freely without being bound to
the sugars like water. If the carrier has greater cohesion than adhesion,
I'm going with nailshooter here. Assuming you've got anhydrous alcohol,
the water will want to equilize the concentrations inside the wood with
that (0%) outside. Thus, water should exit the wood. Since nature
abhors a vacuum, alcohol *should* work its way in to replace the water
taking the dye with it.
The grain-raising (or lack thereof) may be the most common reason
alcohol dyes are used, but there can be other useful properties.
Go with this instead.
http://www.chemguide.co.uk/physical/phaseeqia/idealpd.html Remember that
air already contains a pretty good amount of water, unless you're as dry as
a heated house in the middle of winter.
I got it now. When I looked at the pic you linked, I thought it
looked pretty spiff, but when looking at them didn't get the actual
reason for the thistle design.
For years, I have heard nothing but great stuff about AS in regards to
their service and product. That says a lot to me. I have been
purchasing from Craft Supplies, but probably won't anymore as they
were only offering chrome stoppers. Whether true or not, the hue and
cry is on to get rid of the chrome stoppers as the story goes that the
chrome comes off. Mine haven't, nor have the ones I have gifted.
I was thinking about buying mine from Ruth Niles, another person whom
there hasn't been an unkind word spoken. She used to frequent the
forums and newsgroups more often, but I think she just got too
Seems to be a nice lady. Her site:
Thanks for the price info. It lets me know I am about where I need to
be. I am not that happy with the pricing, as it takes too long to
make to get $10 - $15 from it by the time you are finished. (We'll
leave out postage, finishing materials, transportation costs, etc.)
I am thinking of going another route with this, if you are interested,
let me know here and we can contact each other.
I am surprised no one else chimed in with their stopper prices. Mac?
Nothing? I can't believe you aren't selling tequila toppers (not
stoppers!) down there south of the border.
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