Waterborne polyurethane finishes often make wood look parched (at right, top). Because they don't change the wood's color the way oil-based finishes do, the wood still looks raw. Tinting waterborne poly with amber-colored dye adds the warm color that's missing (at right, bottom).
It's easy. You can use either water- or alcohol-based dye The dye is available as a dry powder or pre-mixed. If you choose the powder, mix it with water or alcohol following the instructions on the package. Add a teaspoon of the mixture to a quart of finish. Never add dry powder directly to the polyurethane. If you use a premixed liquid concentrate, add about five drops to a quart of poly. Experiment on scrap to get the right color intensity. Just remember—you'll want to apply three or four coats of waterborne poly for adequate protection, and each tinted coat will add a little color, so use the dye sparingly.
Adding color this way has another big advantage—it's blotch-free. Unlike stains, which can cause blotches when they soak in, waterborne poly forms a film on top of the surface. No soak, no blotch.
Woodcraft Supply, (800) 225-1153 www.woodcraft.com Amber dyes: Transfast Powder #123826, early American maple. 1 oz. bottle, $9; TransTint Concentrate #128481, honey amber, 2 oz. bottle, $17.
clear waterborne poly tinted waterborne POLY
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