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View Full Version : Stabilizing/Dyeing Wood Question



Marko Tsourkan
06-16-2011, 11:57 AM
I have some really nice tiger maple that I would like to send for stabilizing and dyeing. I have not dyed wood during stabilizing before, so I wonder if more experienced members can chime in on it.

What colors are the most common to dye wood it, to get a nice contrast but still to preserve the figure?

I typically pick the boards at a local lumber yard. I use the premium section for handles, and the rest for sayas and other projects that I plan to take on when time allows.

I also have some quantity of premium curly koa that I would like to stabilize, but would like to retain as much of a lighter look as possible. Is this feasible?

M

Burl Source
06-20-2011, 07:28 PM
Here is a photo showing how curly maple can look dyed brown, black, blue and orange (dying and stabilizing by K&G).
http://i901.photobucket.com/albums/ac219/burlsource/june/b3005.jpg

For the Koa, I would definitely use K&G. The colors always stay vivid and the flash does not diminish.
Some of the lower cost stabilizers can cause your wood to darken or appear muddy because of old chemicals.

Marko Tsourkan
06-20-2011, 07:31 PM
Here is a photo showing how curly maple can look dyed brown, black, blue and orange (dying and stabilizing by K&G).
http://i901.photobucket.com/albums/ac219/burlsource/june/b3005.jpg

For the Koa, I would definitely use K&G. The colors always stay vivid and the flash does not diminish.
Some of the lower cost stabilizers can cause your wood to darken or appear muddy because of old chemicals.

Thanks for posting the picture. I can see the colors I like. :)

I have used K&G before, so but I never dyed wood, so your picture is very helpful.

Marko

Burl Source
06-20-2011, 08:21 PM
As you can see in the photo every piece will react a little differently to the dye.
I did some blue as an experiment and really liked how it turned out.

apicius9
06-20-2011, 08:58 PM
Not much to add. I had maple burl dyed and stabilized by K&G, results depend on whom you ask: I had a few extra blanks for Dave in there which he found a bit softer than other stabilized woods whereas the maple burl in my batch was perfectly fine. So, the quality of the original product really plays a role. And the 'softer' ones will still be fine for wa handles, just more tricky with the metal pins on the Western handles.

One thing to keep in mind: You get an idea of the colors from the pictures, but there can be variation. I had mentioned that I wanted mine rather darker than lighter (to avoid baby blue and pink), and the Western handle pieces came out very dark, almost blackish when finished. In the wa batch I had maple, box elder and buckeye burl, and they all came out fine for my taste. So, it's like a box of chocolates...

Stefan

JohnnyChance
06-21-2011, 12:32 AM
One thing to keep in mind: You get an idea of the colors from the pictures, but there can be variation. I had mentioned that I wanted mine rather darker than lighter (to avoid baby blue and pink), and the Western handle pieces came out very dark, almost blackish when finished.

I believe I have both ends of the spectrum from you.

A red dyed maple burl that turned out pink:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-mMRQkPw2XZg/TeKF00kcRGI/AAAAAAAAAno/XRAz8EO6C9Q/s800/IMG_0530.JPG

And a teal dyed maple burl (I think? Can't remember) that came out very dark:
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-KgFBLkBzRs0/TVWLJPQPiUI/AAAAAAAAAB8/0Sc0xsIRwfQ/s800/IMG_0021.JPG

They are both still awesome, but not what you were expecting I bet when you got them back from stabilizing.

I personally love dyed maple burls, they get such great color variation and contrasting eyes.

apicius9
06-21-2011, 06:41 AM
Perfect examples, thanks for showing them! I bought the pink for being pink, it's just funky :) But the teal colored pieces came out darker that I expected. This is one of the 'softer' pieces that Dave got, I have to say I still like the darker pieces. Dave is hesitating because he finds them a bit dark, but I think I will still use them for wa handles. That said, I was weak today and spent some un-budgeted money on new wood. I just need to avoid wood sellers, I think. :scratchhead: :whistling: Not sure how the addiction potential of other drugs could be higher... I'll post pics as soon as I get to it - and before I send them for stabilizing.

Stefan

Dave Martell
06-21-2011, 09:52 AM
Stefan, You should do a paper on the subject. :D

Chef Niloc
06-23-2011, 09:09 AM
A little off topic but for you do it your self guys who may only need to stabilize a few pieces at a time. I have hade great results stabilizing small pieces (knife scale size) wood, bone, and horn by using nelsonite and a roof saver vacuum packer with the mason jar attachment. As you may guess I pur the pieces in a 1/2 gal size jar, fill the rest of the jar with nelsonite leaving a few inches so the vac don't suck up the stuff. I then vac the jar, you can see the scales sucking up the stuff. When the bubbling stops I make sure that the scales are still covered as softer wood can suck up a lot of juice. Ok so once the bubbling stops I let it sit. the denser the wood/ bone the longer I let it sit, usaley just over night but you can let it sit as long as you like as the nelsonite will never harden as long as it's in a air tight container. When you take the scales out the stuff dryed pretty quick you can handle the scales in about a hour, but it does take a day or two ( maybe longer?) for it to fully set and harden, once again depending on how dense the scales are. I think this is pretty cool as I don't know anyone that stabilizes bone or horn? The finished pieces look amazingly natchurale and I have put this stuff up to a full kitchen test. Any way hop this helps, you can get the stuff from Wayne:
http://www.HighTempTools.com/nelsonite.html

Marko Tsourkan
06-23-2011, 11:58 AM
A little off topic but for you do it your self guys who may only need to stabilize a few pieces at a time. I have hade great results stabilizing small pieces (knife scale size) wood, bone, and horn by using nelsonite and a roof saver vacuum packer with the mason jar attachment. As you may guess I pur the pieces in a 1/2 gal size jar, fill the rest of the jar with nelsonite leaving a few inches so the vac don't suck up the stuff. I then vac the jar, you can see the scales sucking up the stuff. When the bubbling stops I make sure that the scales are still covered as softer wood can suck up a lot of juice. Ok so once the bubbling stops I let it sit. the denser the wood/ bone the longer I let it sit, usaley just over night but you can let it sit as long as you like as the nelsonite will never harden as long as it's in a air tight container. When you take the scales out the stuff dryed pretty quick you can handle the scales in about a hour, but it does take a day or two ( maybe longer?) for it to fully set and harden, once again depending on how dense the scales are. I think this is pretty cool as I don't know anyone that stabilizes bone or horn? The finished pieces look amazingly natchurale and I have put this stuff up to a full kitchen test. Any way hop this helps, you can get the stuff from Wayne:
http://www.HighTempTools.com/nelsonite.html

This is very cool, Collin.
I am a little unsure on the setup. Which food saver vacuum do you use and how do you hook it up to the jar? Sorry, I am completely ignorant about this.

M

Chef Niloc
06-24-2011, 03:12 AM
I have the turbo pro but I think they all come with the jar attachment? It's a hose hooked unto a top that fits over the top of a mason jar, works great. I tried this the first time becous I could not findj stabilized horn. The drop in atmosphere sucks the juice right in, works great. Only trouble is your limited to pieces that will fin in a 1/2 gal jar B/C that's as big as they make. I think Bill should use this on his sheep horn as it completely waterproofs the horn and does not change the look at all.

apicius9
06-24-2011, 03:31 AM
?.. and does not change the look at all.

... That would have been my question, any residue on the outside? And how to get it off? I only have stag horn which looks pretty stable to me, not sure if that would help anything. But the question is: does this do anything positive for mammoth ivory? How about bone? Of course, it looks like this stuff may not be shipped to HI, that would end this project for me pretty early....

Stefan

Chef Niloc
06-24-2011, 09:19 AM
... That would have been my question, any residue on the outside?
No, not once it drys. Little dust that washes off with water.

And how to get it off?
turpentine or spirits when it's not set, once its set i dont think anything hurts it. Note i have not tryed sokeing after in solvents.

I only have stag horn which looks pretty stable to me, not sure if that would help anything. But the question is: does this do anything positive for mammoth ivory? How about bone?
the first time I used it was for stage horn but it was mostly B/C of the soft center stuff when the horn is still whole (don't know what this stuff is called?), not scales. I have never tried it on mammoth but it might..might make it less brittle???
Here's the thing I have noticed with horn and bone, they all have these little pores in them and because of them they will swell if they get wet enough (like being used all day long in a kitchen). This stuff fills all those little holes and water proofs it. The stuff when dry is slightly flexible so it adds strength.[/QUOTE]

Of course, it looks like this stuff may not be shipped to HI, that would end this project for me pretty early....
I.D.K. But I think Wayne runs his shop out of his house so that might make it help?

Just to make things clear so one of you don't screw up a $500 piece of mammoth and curse the day I was born:doublebanghead:. Here is what I have done. I had two handles one stag horn (previously mentioned) and one sheep horn (yes the Burke) that were starting to show singes that all the water was not a good thing for them. There was no way in hell I was going to F-up my Burke with one of my crazy "this should work" ideas:scratchhead:. So I bought some sheep horn scales and a piece of horn and tried it with them first, and it worked great. I toucher tested them by soaking in water for days, running threw the dishwasher (high temp 185* water) at work. After all that I stabilized both knives and over a year now no trouble at all (note: I do not run knives threw the dishwasher :slaphead:).
Just playing around I have done a few blocks of wood, works great. Another experiment that I have not tried but might speed things up/ do a better job is heating the setup?? In theory this should help but again I have not tried it. I would think that stronger vac would definitely be needed if doing thicker pieces of dense material, say over 1.5", but again IDK as I have not tried it?? But i don't think any of you would need to do 4x4's?

Marko Tsourkan
06-24-2011, 09:40 AM
Collin, I am still not sure what you are using as far as equipment goes. Mind to post a link to a similar piece of equipment.

The idea of stabilizing horn is very appealing to me, as buffalo horn is my preferred material.

M

JohnnyChance
06-24-2011, 03:35 PM
Some vacuum packaging machines (FoodSaver brand, maybe others) used to vacuum seal food items have a "mason jar" attachment so that instead of sealing a bag, there is a hose and special lid that fits mason jars so you can create a vacuum in the jar.

http://www.amazon.com/FoodSaver-T03-0006-01-Regular-Mouth-Jar-Sealer/dp/B0000CFFS6

SpikeC
06-29-2011, 08:28 PM
I just did a Nelsonite treatment on a curly maple handle I'm making for my latest knife. I vacuumed it with a commercial jewelry investment vacuum machine, it draws 29 inches if mercury and I let it sit in the chamber until the bubbling stopped, and about 5 minutes more.It looks to be well soaked, and now I just have to wait for it to cure. I'm going to try making a spacer out of some master alloy used to make white gold, but without the gold.

Marko Tsourkan
06-29-2011, 11:37 PM
How much would such a machine cost (jewelry investment vacuum machine) and is there an advantage over the setup Niloc was describing?

M

SpikeC
06-29-2011, 11:46 PM
This is the machine that I have:
http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=9107

The advantage is the power of the suckage. I have it for casting jewelry, so using it for stabilizing wood is just a side advantage.

Chef Niloc
06-30-2011, 02:23 AM
Speed, spike's would likely get the job done in 1/2 the time. But if you don't mindf letting it sit over night the food saver is a 1/4 the price and with the ease of swapping them out if they break at sir la table.

JohnnyChance
06-30-2011, 03:01 AM
Speed, spike's would likely get the job done in 1/2 the time. But if you don't mindf letting it sit over night the food saver is a 1/4 the price and with the ease of swapping them out if they break at sir la table.

Colin, do you have any chamber vacuum machines at work for cryovac-ing food (for sous vide or freezing or whatever)? They can vac stuff with liquid in the bag, I imagine you could put the wood and however much resin you think it needs in the bag, vac it, and then let it sit forever how long it needs to soak up the resin.

Marko Tsourkan
06-30-2011, 08:58 AM
This is the machine that I have:
http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=9107

The advantage is the power of the suckage. I have it for casting jewelry, so using it for stabilizing wood is just a side advantage.

So, how does wood appearance change with Nelsonite treatment?
Spike, have you tried to add dyes to the solution?

I am very intrigued. I find sending wood for stabilizing inconvenience at best (time, cost, etc), so doing it at home with acceptable results would have been great.

M

SpikeC
06-30-2011, 01:32 PM
I have not added dye, but I don't see why it would not work. Asking the maker would probably be a good idea. It does not change the appearance of the wood at all.

Marko Tsourkan
07-01-2011, 08:34 AM
Spike -
my next questions would be how deep is the stabilizing with the equipment you have? How long do you need to run a pump to stabilize one block, say 1.25x1.5x6"?

M

SpikeC
07-01-2011, 12:47 PM
With the block of curly maple that I just did the juice was sucked all the way into the wood in under 5 minutes, I would say. This pump is seriously strong, and it sucks all of the air out of the wood so that the solution is sucked right in. It is rated at 29.9 inches of mercury.
I did do this piece after shaping it and making the hole for the tang, so I probably didn't need to process it that long.

Diamond G
07-05-2011, 02:18 AM
In my experiance with Nelsonite, the wood would still absorb water after treatment.

Was pulled under 29" of merc, for 8 hrs. Let dry 7 days and treated again. After 7 days of drying in my light box, it would still allow water to penetrate.

Just curious if I did somthing wrong? Wasnt any where near commercial stabilized.

God Bless
Mike