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Expert's Corner — dyes

TIP: Staining Sapwood with Dye

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The easiest way to stain lighter-colored sapwood so it blends with the heartwood is to stain all the wood with a dye stain, as is shown on the right side of the accompanying picture of walnut. Dye is much more effective than pigment, or any commercial stain that contains a binder. You can apply the dye several times after each application has dried to get a darker color. Or, with water-soluble powder dyes, such as those from W.D. Lockwood, you can wipe over the stain with a water-damp cloth to remove some of the dye and lighten the color. You...

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TERMS: The Difference Between Dyes and Pigments

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The difference between a dye and a pigment is that dye dissolves in a liquid and pigment doesn’t. Therefore, dye doesn’t settle in a can or jar, but pigment does and has to be stirred back into suspension before using. Dyes are available in powder and liquid form. If in powder form, you have to dissolve the dye in the appropriate liquid—usually water, alcohol or acetone. Instructions will tell you which. In liquid form, dyes are available concentrated (for you to thin), and already thinned with the appropriate liquid. What makes dyes and pigments confusing is that they can be...

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