We have been exploring different ways of putting color on wood other than by the more traditional wipe stain method. We have looked at a number of topics related to using wipe stains alone and I strongly suggest that you take a look back at those articles. We have also taken a close look at the finishing system known as a wipe and a shader. This system is helpful when the wipe stain alone will not get you to the color intensity that you want.

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Speaking of color intensity not reached, this week we will talk about another finishing system. This one is known as a Dye and A Wipe. In this system, a dye is applied prior to the wipe stain.

Today’s trends in kitchen cabinet colors continue to leaning towards darker, more furniture-like colors. Frankly, it’s hard to get there in one step. There is probably going to have to be another step involved. Depending on the look required and the species of wood involved, a dye and a wipe may be the ticket.

Let’s consider, for a moment, the all too often seen case of trying to make maple look like something else. Usually this is mahogany or something towards a walnut look. We all know maple’s inclination towards blotching no matter how “mild” of a wipe stain is applied. Furthermore, it is pretty tough to get it to move in the direction of a dark, intense color with just a wiping stain because its structural hardness makes it reluctant to “take” the stain.

The answer is to strongly “kick” the wood in the direction that you want to go by applying a dye. The functions of the dye, then, are to provide that strong movement, to change that yellow/white background color of the maple to something darker, and to give that follow-on wipe stain the chance to finish that movement to the intensity and richness that we want. But just as important, let’s not forget that dyes do not mark the grain and we will need to wipe stain to accomplish that for us.

Dyes, or NGR stains, (Non-Grain Raising) are a spray-applied product. Therefore, they adhere to the same set of application rules as the shaders that we have discussed in past weeks.

• They are low viscosity coatings.

• They will, undoubtedly, need to be applied in multiple passes.

• They will create haloing in inside corners.

• The need for a good HVLP, compliant, or conventional spray gun for application are a must.

A significant issue presents itself when applying the dye first. That is that the dye can and will, under most circumstances, be rewetted by the wipe stain. What then happens is that a certain amount of the dye will be mopped up when wiping the wipe stain. You need to think about this and have a solution included in your finishing system least you realize too late that you are chasing your tail.

More on this topic next week.

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