Author Topic: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac  (Read 2185 times)

swifty6

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Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« on: February 23, 2019, 12:02:52 PM »
I have completed a Chippendale chest of Cherry. I plan to use a 1 pound cut shellac for a wash coat, then apply a Lockwood antique aniline dye. To follow are garnet thin coats of shellac. Question, does it make any difference between using water soluble dye or alcohol soluble dye.?


Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2019, 12:14:11 PM »
I always first apply a coat of water dye then 2# cut of shellac. Then top coats with a water base varnish.


Dennis Bork
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CBWW

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2019, 08:49:03 AM »

Yes, there will be a difference between a water stain and a dye.  If you apply water stain directly to the wood it may get blotchy and it may not.  By applying shellac first you are sealing the grain to some extent which then limits how much stain will penetrate based on how much you seal the wood.   A dye, which is alcohol based, will bite into the shellac.  Alcohol dyes were designed to be sprayed although I have wiped them on.  But spraying gives you incredible control of adding color. 


I would do samples and more samples....play with the cut of shellac as a wash coat on end grain as well as flat panels.  try the dye and water stain over it.  Look into glazes, wiping stains, dyes etc. 


Pete
www.cherrybrookwoodworks.com 

swifty6

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2019, 12:30:32 PM »
Pete: You have answered part of my question.My thoughts are that alcohol aniline dyes would bite into the wash coat of shellac.
I will have to wipe on the aniline dye or use a foam brush.I do not have a spray outfit.

PS: I have ordered Lockwood aniline dyes both alcohol and water soluble in different shades of cherry.

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2019, 01:55:31 PM »
Alcohol dyes will dry much faster than water dyes so you must work fast or you will have overlap marks.


What effect are you looking for on your project? Old looking wood or a uniform look? Staining with water dyes first (water base are also called dyes) can sometimes produce a "blotchy" look. Especially on cherry and soft maple. if you want your finish to look 200 years old then stain first and apply shellac second. This method will give it an old look and if it produces a blotchy look even better. A uniform look will give it the look of coming from a box store. There is nothing wrong with that look. It just depends on what you want.


For 33 years I finished my customer orders with water base dye first and shellac second. The "blotchy" look added to an old look which is just what my customers wanted.


I don't call the finish a "blotchy" look. But rather it adds character or age to the look. Whatever you do experiment first.


Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs
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CBWW

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2019, 03:01:26 PM »

I have wiped on plenty of alcohol dyes so I would not shy away from it.  And if you do not spray, its no big deal.  I would dilute the colors a lot though and start light.  I would also get colors outside of the cherry, green comes to mind if you have to reduce the red.  I might even consider a mahogany color that I then add a bit of red to.   Keep in mind you can tint the shellac with your dyes.  The shellac will impart color as well depending on what you use.  Your approach depends on what look you are after. 


I have finished pieces as per what Dennis does but there have been plenty of times where that way would just not work.  I recently copied a period Biedermeier bed, its on my website,  where the client had a day bed and wanted a king size to match.  There is no way water stain would work to get this match.  That is a shellac finish with dyes.  And I sealed that with many coats of shellac prior to any color.


If you are trying to age a piece or make it look old- Use multiple layers of color, sealants, glazes etc.  Add and remove them in certain areas.  It is definitely  not a one color, shellac and done process. 


Your getting advice and answers that are both correct.  Just mess around and do some samples. 


Pete
Cherry Brook Woodworks   

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2019, 03:22:04 PM »
Pete,


I've had no problem matching existing colors with water base dyes. For example, I might mix a mahogany dye with a maple dye. The only problem is that it takes a lot of time and samples. And the color can change when shellac is applied.


To swifty6, there is no wrong way to apply the finish. Try all the methods posted here and use whatever works best for you.


Remember, just have fun and keep notes.


Dennis Bork
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Retired Dec. 2018.

CBWW

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2019, 03:35:27 PM »

I don't think that you would have a problem matching with water based.  I do it as well in some cases. But what if you have an exact color match on a piece that never had stain but aged naturally?  or let me re-phrase it- the end grain is not darker than the rest of the wood?  Water base always absorbs more on end grain.  Hence the blotchy look or uneven look that is not always on an antique. 


There is more than one way to skin the cat.  I just get better results using different methods sometimes.  Majority of the time I may do a base color of water dye, then seal, then maybe a pigmented color or alcohol...it varies on each piece.  But I will say that I rarely have had finished pieces that I liked that were "simple" meaning one color and shellac.  Just personal preference but yet some of my clients have odd tastes so it is what it is and they have liked some darn ugly colors.


When I was starting out, I should have spent more time experimenting with colors and glazes.  Its a trade in and of itself.   

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2019, 10:52:57 AM »
"To follow are garnet thin coats of shellac."

Don't be afraid to switch to blond shellac if you find the piece getting too dark (I find 3-4 thin coats of garnet get me the color I want).  I think shellac was used less in the period than we tend to think, because all of their product was so dark (they didn't have blond/super blond options).  When they did use it, they mixed in other resins like sandarach which is much lighter in color.  Today we can simply use blond shellacs as necessary.

This thread is great, some very good advice in it.  Regarding alcohol-based dyes over shellac: I have little experience doing this myself, but last summer our Chesapeake chapter brought in expert finisher Bruce Shuettinger as our guest speaker.  Bruce demonstrated how he applies color: (1) base coat of shellac; (2) little dixie cups of alcohol into which he mixes dye powder from ~20 color options in his pallet to get the color he's seeking; (3) brush on top of shellac, using same brush technique as he uses for the shellac coats; (4) before the alcohol flashes off, wipe away as much/as little as necessary to blend with adjacent areas (if he's dying just an element of an overall piece, e.g., getting a uniform color across to adjacent boards that are edge glued).  Bruce also made same points as Pete does above: use a variety of colors from your pallet (green to reduce the red tint, etc) and build multiple layers/remove in spots to give character and simulate age.  I took away that there's no way to get good at this without lots of practice!

CBWW

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 01:41:28 PM »

Ditto on the practice. 


With shellac-  From I understand and some one correct me if my dates are wrong but I am pretty sure shellac was not imported in to this country till around 1850. 


Pete

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2019, 03:06:19 PM »
The cabinet makers at Colonial Williamsburg use seedlac (that's what Mac Headley said) which I think is the darkest shellac. The cabinet makers at CW use the methods that were used in that time period, 1700's, in Williamsburg. So, shellac was imported into America in the 1700's.

If I am wrong please let one of the CW cabinet makers let us know.

Dennis Bork
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Retired Dec. 2018.

CBWW

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2019, 03:41:56 PM »

Interesting on CW.  I had been told that there were no known import records of it prior to mid 1800's, or used as a finish until mid 19th century so all the federal period furniture and previous did not have shellac on it originally.  Doesn't mean it isn't on them now.... 


The dark color on many museum pieces is oxidized oils. 




CBWW

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2019, 03:49:19 PM »

swifty6

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2019, 04:11:54 PM »
I have been working through the process of preparing a number of samples of cherry, with a wash coat of 1/2 pound cut shellac. In this testing, [size=78%]I  have been using wood stirrers from the paint store to stir, shellac, to stir the different dye tested. [/size][/size][size=78%]I noticed that when I was using a stirrer that had a  coating of dried  shellac, the water based dye would run off the stirrer. It would not color the stirrer. [/size][/size][size=78%]So I tested a water based dye on boards prepped with 1/2 pound shellac. If I did not try to wipe off to remove excess dye, it looked ok after drying. If I tried to wipe off excess after a brief period after wiping on, the dye was splotchy.[/size]
[/size][size=78%]To me the take home message is that you may get by with using water based stain over a wash coat of shellac providing that you seal it with more shellac coats.[/size]
[/size][size=78%]However, I feel that I would be better off to using an alcohol based dye over a wash coat of shellac. This is what I will use in my future testing. [/size]


CBWW

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Re: Cherry dyes over a wash coat of 1 pound cut shellac
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2019, 07:26:11 PM »
Try a different cut of shellac.  Thinner.  I have rarely used it to seal the wood prior to water stain.  You may not even need it.  If the water stain doesn't bite in, sand it with 220.  OR try a light base color, seal it, sand it, then maybe a glaze or wiping stain.  build the color.