Making QSWO "POP" (not for the faint of heart)

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Project by Tim Pursell posted 07-29-2008 02:11 PM 19844 views 87 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Making QSWO "POP" (not for the faint of heart)
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I’ve got to say when I first read about this method of highlighting the grain on Quarter Sawn White Oak I was not too sure I wanted to try it on a piece I had spent so much time on. Kind of hard to undo dye. I did test it out on several pieces of scrap, but still …. once you see what your project looks like after the first step you get that gut tightening feeling what the Heck was I thinking! I dyed these tables with a YELLOW alcohol based analine dye.

End Tables YELLOW

I don’t recomend you let ANYONE in the shop to see your cherished project at this stage. It’s way too hard to explain the why & how it will look once you get the stain and varnish on….. especially when your loving wife keeps glancing at the project & is less than sucessfull at hiding the mirth in her eyes.

Here’s what they look like with two coats of Watco Black Walnut oil and three coats of wipe on oil/varnish blend. Whew, The wife no longer thinks I’ve gone off the deep end!

End Tables Finished

End Table Detail


42 comments so far

View Timber4fun's profile


218 posts in 4115 days

#1 posted 07-29-2008 02:33 PM

Great job. Looks wonderful. I really like the finish. Thanks for sharing. I may have to try Watco Black Walnut oil. Quartersawn White Oak is my favorite choice of wood.

-- Tim from Iowa City, IA

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4389 days

#2 posted 07-29-2008 02:40 PM

It sure does make the grain pop. It looks great!

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

796 posts in 4347 days

#3 posted 07-29-2008 03:02 PM

I would be hard-pressed to turn the piece yellow and hope it works-out in the end. Way to see it through!

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4163 days

#4 posted 07-29-2008 03:23 PM

Thanx for putting in those steps – looks amazing (at the end of course… haha)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4259 days

#5 posted 07-29-2008 03:31 PM

Nice job, Tim. I’ve been experimenting with dyes on the QSWO, but mostly with scraps. It seems yellow works best with figured maple and tamo ash, so I thought it should work ok on oak. I’ve been blending in other dye colors to change the appearance. Haven’t gone off the deep end yet and put it on a completed piece yet.
Looks nice though. Thanks for the post.

View daveintexas's profile


365 posts in 4390 days

#6 posted 07-29-2008 03:32 PM

Great job. The rays really stand out.

Thanks for posting

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4733 days

#7 posted 07-29-2008 03:40 PM

Impressive! I can imagine how much guts it takes to do this. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4453 days

#8 posted 07-29-2008 03:44 PM

Who woulda thought Yellow was the magic base color? The finished looks fantastic and I admire your courage in moving past the initial step.

-- Working at Woodworking

View ChuckM's profile


625 posts in 4181 days

#9 posted 07-29-2008 03:59 PM

Nice work. I love mission-style furniture and yours are a good example of fine arts & crafts design.

The color of the two pieces shown in the second is darker (or ore reddish) in tone than the one in the last picture which seems more brownish. I believe it’s due to difference in lighting when the pictures were taken. Question 1: Which of them better reflects the actual color using your receipe?

Question 2:...three coats of wipe on oil/varnish blend – Is this commercially available? If so, what is the brand name? If not, could you share how we could make it (including the brand names of the materials you used)?

Thanks for sharing.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View Garyb6's profile


306 posts in 4145 days

#10 posted 07-29-2008 04:00 PM

Nice looking grain. I did something similar with a reddish base and come back with a walnut gel on a Morris chair. I would never have thought of using yellow. Good job.

-- Garyb6, “True simplicity does not reveal the tremendous effort it requires.” - Somerset Maugham

View PineMan's profile


71 posts in 4109 days

#11 posted 07-29-2008 04:43 PM

Very impressive!

-- I never started a project I couldn't screw up.

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


488 posts in 4142 days

#12 posted 07-29-2008 05:08 PM

WOW. Pop City!!! I am working on a conference table right now with Quarter sawed red oak. I might give yellow dye a try on some scraps and see what it looks like. Got the project on my blog.

Thanks for the post. Very impressive woodwork too. Let’s not forget the woodwork, guys and gals!

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4202 days

#13 posted 07-29-2008 05:35 PM

W O W !!! Talk about an instant Antique ! I also have the same questions as ChuckM regarding the true color and “Home brew” or store bought finish .

These are gorgeous tables and it did take a lot of B*s to do this : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4228 days

#14 posted 07-29-2008 06:54 PM

OK, I like this idea a lot! This looks terrific!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View stanley2's profile


354 posts in 4310 days

#15 posted 07-29-2008 06:56 PM

Tim – I just finished grain filling an A&C table lamp in qswo and came upstairs for a break (my lamps are in my project posts). That is a great finishing schedule and the best I’ve seen for making those rays pop-out. Thanks for the post.

-- Phil in British Columbia

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