Dye Another day #2: Glue line method

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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 11-11-2012 07:20 PM 6204 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Cut method Part 2 of Dye Another day series no next part

I decided to see if a glue joint would present an adequate barrier to dye. Thus enabling me to cut and glue a pattern in a light wood and dye only the section I want black.

I cut a scrap of Sycamore, 3mm thick, length ways, re-glued it, width ways and re-glued it thus having made absolutely sure the glue covered every square millimetre of the joint faces.

I then sanded both sides flat in the drum sander, along the grain, 150 grit. To get this

You can see the joint lines, just. These joints are PVA glued. The dye I’m using is spirit based, not water, so no glue dissolving problems.

First try. I’m using black dye on a cotton bud (Q-tip) and got about 1mm from the line as in yesterday’s cut box experiment. Not promising (look at the centre square). OK for the line along the grain, not across.For the corner square I went 2mm from the cross grain line.

It occurred to me that there may be some residual dust on the surface. I vacuumed the other side and repeated

The top left corner box is painted almost 3mm from the line. Still a slight bleed over the glue line. This isn’t working.

I may try sanding across the grain to see if this swaps where the problem occurs. I could also try a thin, non-permeable, membrane in the joint, such as clear plastic. A plastic that glues! All the same it looks like the glue line in this instance is not a sufficient barrier to the thin spirit based dye. The cut method works and this may be how I have to progress with the current project I want to use the technique with.

Be seeing you

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

10 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5332 posts in 4242 days

#1 posted 11-11-2012 08:09 PM

Interesting Martyn.
It will be great if you find a repeatable solution.
Neat problem. Thanks for working on it.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9238 posts in 3280 days

#2 posted 11-11-2012 09:00 PM

This is a really interesting series Martyn. Thank you for taking the time to try these methods and sharing them with us. They will be a great help to many of us and save us all a lot of time.

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View patron's profile


13648 posts in 3701 days

#3 posted 11-11-2012 09:16 PM

back to the drawing board

those capillaries in the softer woods
are like straws for the liquids

i know you will find the way
that does what you want

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Spoontaneous's profile


1335 posts in 3690 days

#4 posted 11-11-2012 11:23 PM

Acrylic resin might be the clear plastic that glues. I’ve used it in the past and it is glass clear unless you pigment it…. not cloudy like epoxy. I’m interested in seeing where all this leads.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View Druid's profile


2055 posts in 3155 days

#5 posted 11-12-2012 12:54 AM

Your blogs are always interesting, and informative.
Your first try with a blade makes me wonder what difference you might obtain if you use a blade in a woodburner. I would expect this to seal up the cells a bit more, but I’ll have to leave it to you to try (I don’t have a woodburner).
Thanks again for sharing.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View shipwright's profile


8290 posts in 3158 days

#6 posted 11-12-2012 04:53 AM

Interesting experiment Martyn.
I had better luck with urea formaldehyde glues when using aniline dyes.
Have a look at the last two segments of this blog.
There may be some bits you can pick out of it that will be useful to you.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Roger Gaborski's profile

Roger Gaborski

272 posts in 4108 days

#7 posted 11-12-2012 02:23 PM

Very informative study on the application of dyes. I’ve also been experimenting with dyes, but more focused on obtaining a wide range of colors. Overall, I’ve been disappointed with my results.
My failures lead me to acrylic paints. In the past, I’ve always stayed away from painting wood, but the newer acrylics have quite interesting characteristics. Golden (manufactured here in NY, but I believe available worldwide) makes ‘fluid acrylic’ paints that comes in a wide range of colors and have a low viscosity. Liquitex makes an ‘acrylic ink’ that has the viscosity of water. To get a perfect straight edge I use masking tape as a border. I seal the edge of the masking tape with an acrylic gloss medium, which completely seals the edge and eliminates any bleed through across the edge. Another approach I’ve used is to route a groove along the border to cleanly separate the two regions.
Looking forward to your next set of experiments.

-- Roger Gaborski,

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3396 days

#8 posted 11-12-2012 03:01 PM

Terry – I’m considering trying some clear cast resin I have from another project here. Thanks for the suggestion.

John – I’m unsure about using pyro based techniques as these themselves colour (burn) wood and would add an unwanted line or edge. Thank for suggesting though.

Paul – thanks for the info. It was interested to note, from your blog, that Aniline dyes can be dissolved in alcohol. Important as I’m trying to avoid the grain swell you get with a water based dye.

Roger – Very interesting possibility here, I will be investigating ‘Golden’ further as there are stockists in the UK.

Overall I will continue to investigate using the spirit based dye I have used so far in the short term as I am very pleased with the boldness of colour I’m getting (Roger’s point). In the longer term if I’m unsuccessful with this type of dye over the techniques I’ve so far used or can devise I will most likely investigate the other types; Aniline and Acrylic.

Thank you all for your valuable input.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View patron's profile


13648 posts in 3701 days

#9 posted 11-12-2012 03:19 PM

sold thru sherwin-williams
here in the states
they come in just about every color known
and can be mixed together for shades

the only thing i have not had them work with
is tompsons water seal (tried to use it on my house that way)

i also just use the little bottles of acrylic ‘hobby paints’
from wal-mart mixed with epoxy
cheap !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3396 days

#10 posted 11-12-2012 03:21 PM

I like that price, David!

Thanks for the suggestion.

I’ll have to have a chat to my confederate in Mole Party (Ross). He’s an artist who uses acrylics a lot in his work.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

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