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TIP: Dye Migration

blotch darker dye grain the finishing store thinned trick water wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

The general consensus on figured woods is pretty much saturation, or using a trace coat to further intensify the grain. However sometimes a dye can migrate, meaning it just goes way too dark and can create a blotchy mess.

Broad curl woods like Curly Cherry, Flame Birch, etc. can also absorb any colorant unevenly. We've looked at many ways to help control this. I want to emphasize how important it is that you do a test on a scrap before you dive in. With that said one of my favorite tricks is to use water to help control the absorption. I have used our blotch control and thinned it, you have to experiment with this as there is no set rule and a particular wood you’re using will determine how much you need to reduce the blotch control.

Take a look at photo 116. Obviously the side with water is lighter, but when dry, I could do water and another coat of dye. Simply thinning the dye, usually does not work because irrespective of how thin the dye is, it's going to migrate into the softer grain thus causing it to be darker. The water trick, has proved to be pretty successful and is one of my go-to techniques, especially on figured maples.

Remember the rule “Sneak Up on It" !

 



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