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Wipe-on oil finish usually makes walnut look great. These tips will make your walnut projects look even better.
Make Sapwood Disappear
Color Mixing Chart
Red + Blue = Violet Red + Yellow = Orange Blue + Yellow = Green Red + Yellow + Blue = Brown To decrease Red add Green To decrease Orange add Blue To decrease Yellow add Violet To darken a color add Black
Start by mixing each of the powdered dyes with hot distilled water or rainwater in its own glass or plastic container according to the instructions on the label.Then combine the liquid dyes in the proportions listed below to create the sapwood dye color.
1 part red 1 part blue
2 parts yellow 1-1/2 parts black
Transfer a small amount of this dye to another container and dilute with up to 4 parts water. Check the intensity and hue on a scrap of walnut sapwood.
I-veil the l>cst walnut boards are Iikeh to contain an occasional siirak of light-colored sapwood. Some projects benefit when the sapwood is skillfully placed, but in most cases it's merely a distraction. Fortunately, you can make walnut sapwood virtually disappear In adding color. Even though the initial investment for dye, shellac and glaze materials will set you back about $100, most of these products should last you many years.
Coloring sapwood looks paint-by-numher simple, hut there are a few uicks. The ke\ is getting the dye color to match the dark color of the hearrwood. Walnut boards vary widely in color, so don't Ix>th-er with dyes labeled "walnut." Buy red. blue, yellow and black water-soluble dye powder (availabe from Woodcraft Supply, www.woodcraft, com) and custom mix a sapwood dye according to the recipe (bottom, left). Gradually adjust die color of the dye by adding drops of blue and black to reach the purplish gray hue of kiln-dried wal-nut. An eve dropper woi ks great for this. Adjust your dye accordingly, using a piece of scrap sapwood and the Color Mixing Chart (at left) as a guide. Then carefully brush on the dye (Photo 1).
Water-soluble dyes resist fading in sunlight and are easy to apply. The one drawback is that they raise the woods grain. The solution is to purposely raise the grain before you apply the dye. Thoroughly wet the wood with a damp sponge. When the wood dries, the raised grain will make its surface feel rough. Simply sand off the raised grain with fine (280-grit or higher) sandpaper. Don't sand too much or you'll expose new wood and negate the effect.
Here are a few more tips for working widi water-soluble dye:
1. Keep the end grain from turning too dark by saturating it with water before you apply the dye.
2. Start with a diluted dye. You can always increase the intensity of the color by applying a second coat of more concentrated dye.
3. Adjust the color by referring to the Color Mixing Chart (at left) and adding another coat of dye. Wipe on green dye to decrease red, for example.
4. The color you see when you applv the dye to the wood is close to the color you'll end up with. The wood will look dull when the dye dries, but the "wet" color will return when the finish is applied.
5. Lighten dyed wood by wiping with a damp rag. If you reallv goof, you can remove almost all of the dye In wiping the surface with household chlorine bleach.
Allow the dved wood to dry completely. Then seal the entire surface bv brushing on a thin coat of dewaxed shellac. Allow the shellac to dn and sand it lightly with 320-grit sandpaper. If you're happy with the way the sapwood blends after the sealer is applied, you can move on to applying the final coals of finish. To blend the dved sapwood more completely and add greater depth and richei color, apply a thin layer of glaze before applying the final coats of finish (Photo 2).
(¿laze is essentially thinned paint dial's layered over a sealed surface. Commercially prepared glazes are available, but you can easily make your own. Combine artists oil (available at art supply stores) with a glazing medium consisting of three parts boiled lin-
Beautify End Grain
IUse a small artist's brush to dye sapwood. At the transition line, carefully follow the grain. Blend the edge of the dye into the heartwood with the corner of a damp rag. Dampen the wood before applying the dye.
2Apply glaze with a rag or brush. Remove the excess, leaving a thin layer. Add or subtract glaze as needed to blend the dyed sapwood with the heartwood.
seed oil, two parts mineral spirits and one part Japan drier. Your glaze should have the consistency of heavy cream. Pick up the following artists oil colors as a starter set for blending your own custom glazes: burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, raw sienna, Van Dyke brown, yellow ochre, black and blue. A burnt umber glaze looks great on walnut.
While applying glaze, keep the brush "dry" by removing excess glaze from the bristles with a rag. To add glaze in one section, "stipple" the surface by dabbing with the tips of the bristles. Then brush or wipe to blend the added color. If you make a mistake, remove the glaze using a rag dampened with mineral spirits.
Allow the glaze to dry completely, a minimum of 24 hours, before applying the final coats of finish. Check by running your hand across the surface. If glaze rubs off, it's not dry.
unsealed end grain with oil finish unsealed end grain with oil finish
End grain reveals much about a board's history and provides an attractive detail in many woodworking projects. But end grain usually just soaks up finish and turns dark. To highlight the end grain in your next project, seal it with a thin coat of shellac or glue size. Let it dry and sand lightly before you apply the finishing oil or stain. Lightly sand the adjacent faces, too, to remove any sealer that may have seeped onto thei
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Wood finishing can be tricky and after spending hours on building your project you want to be sure that you get the best outcome possible. In The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing you will learn how to get beautiful, professional results no matter what your project is, even if you have never tried your hand at wood finishing before. You will learn about every step in the wood finishing process from a professional wood finisher with years of experience.