Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 155 July 2018Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
When Dyes Bleed
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Quite a while back I was given the task of restoring an old quilt rack made of mahogany, circa 1880's, in the Eastlake Victorian style. Most of the finish was in terrible shape so I went about stripping the old finish completely off and while doing so I found what I believed to be the original color on the underside of the feet. It was a very rich and deep red mahogany that was bordering on "purple" or what we used to call "eggplant."

I called the customer to tell them what I had found and I asked if they want the original color or a lighter version? They settled on a color slightly lighter but still a little on the dark side. I mixed up some lacquer/oil based aniline dye and applied several coats to reach the color I was after then finished the piece with nitrocellulose lacquer.

A couple of weeks later the client called to say the colors were bleeding into her fine linens she had draped over the rack. I was horrified. Not only did I have a problem but how much were those linens worth? Or, were they family heirlooms? Reassuring the client I would take care of everything I brought the piece back to the shop and called a friend for an explanation. It was very simple. The dye I used was lacquer/oil soluble and the lacquer finish I applied "pulled" the dye out of the wood allowing it to migrate through the finish and therefore transfer to the linens because there was no barrier coat between the dye and lacquer finish. To take care of this my friend said all that I had to do was apply a couple of coats of 2lb cut shellac as a barrier and then topcoat with a coat of nitro lacquer. Problem solved.

Fortunately, I worked at a dry cleaning plant in high school and learned how to "spot" fabrics to get out stains before dry cleaning. A cleaners down the street allowed me to use a steam table and with a little mineral spirits this thankfully took care of that problem as well. I never thought my dry cleaning experience in high school would ever get my butt out of the proverbial sling but it did!

CLICK HERE to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net. You can also visit Alan's website by CLICKING HERE.

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

July 14, 2018  Finishing 101
July 18, 2018  Coloring Wood
August 11, 2018  Spray Finishing
August 15, 2018  French Polish Workshop
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