2 tone wood dye

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Forum topic by Daren Nelson posted 04-03-2008 02:05 PM 17550 views 39 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4419 days

04-03-2008 02:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: trick maple finishing

I do alot of this and get asked how it is done some times, so I thought I would just show how that way I could refer people to it in the future. I use RIT clothes dye. In my work shop I dye items like knife handles,pistol grips,turned wood pens,wooden fishing lures…RIT is just a common (and inexpensive) grocery store item, found by the laundry detergent.

Step1: Start with a piece of figured wood (curly/quilted) in picture one it is a scrap of quilted rock maple. Mix up the dye following the instructions (a little goes a LONG way, a $2 package will make gallons).

2: Paint the piece with the first color (black in this case) don’t be scared of it, get it soaking.

3: Wash it off in hot water as soon as you get it fully covered. You are going to want to work quickly, you only have a few minutes for best results. Figured wood is a mixed of end grain and face grain, it soaks deeper/faster into the end grain. The dye on the face grain rinses off pretty easy.

4: Let the first color dry

5: Saturate the piece with the second color and let it stay .It can be rinsed too if the color is too dark without ruining the first color. I rinsed the last picture just a little to brighten the yellow.

All dry with a quick shot of spray can lacquer….and yes my fingers are yellow (don’t do everything the way I do , rubber gloves are a good idea )

I will repeat “a little goes a long way”, so if you have a spill-you have a mess. Trying to clean up the mess with water…just makes more dye . Make sure you have newspaper or something suitable to work on and plenty of paper towels handy.

24 replies so far

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4683 days

#1 posted 04-03-2008 02:12 PM

Wow. What a great idea. Striking results. That’s one I’ll have to try.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4281 days

#2 posted 04-03-2008 02:17 PM

Thanks for the step by step demonstration. I used purple and yellow on my catalpa bowl. I had read about it from you, but did not quite know how to do it. So I just winged it.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

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Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4419 days

#3 posted 04-03-2008 02:21 PM

I saw and commented on that bowl, that was the motivation for this tutorial really. I have had the pictures on my camera for weeks, planning to some day post this. I saw your bowl and decided to stop being lazy. I think guys/gals can have alot of fun with dying and it can really spice up a project.

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 4256 days

#4 posted 04-03-2008 04:29 PM

That is cool I have to try this myself. Thanks for the tutorial.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4388 days

#5 posted 04-03-2008 04:54 PM

Daren, thanks for posting this! You’ve given me some ideas (a dangerous thing to do)!

-- -- --

View lclashley's profile


244 posts in 4628 days

#6 posted 04-03-2008 05:01 PM

COOL! I’ve wondered if that stuff would work on wood. Thanks for the demo.

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Tim Pursell

499 posts in 4296 days

#7 posted 04-03-2008 05:18 PM

Another trick to file away.
Can’t ever have enough tricks up your sleeve!!


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Douglas Bordner

4051 posts in 4578 days

#8 posted 04-03-2008 05:35 PM

Coming soon to a piece of bigleaf maple in my shop. Thanks, Daren this ought to be fun (potentially messy fun, right up my alley).

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4565 days

#9 posted 04-03-2008 05:55 PM

Thank you so much for posting this information.

-- Hope Never fails

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4388 days

#10 posted 04-03-2008 10:21 PM

How does it penetrate? If you turned a blank into a pen for instance, would you dye it after turning.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4388 days

#11 posted 04-03-2008 10:21 PM

By the way, thanks for the posting.

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Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4419 days

#12 posted 04-03-2008 10:34 PM

rickkor, yea the dye is applied after it is made/done (whatever it is), just like you were using stain on a piece of furniture. Then topcoat with your finish.

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4336 days

#13 posted 04-03-2008 11:08 PM

Thanks Daren. I am always looking for novel ways to stain wood. These appear to be very similar to trans tint dyes but without a doubt are a lot cheaper. I checked the web site and it appears as if they are available in 16 different colors either in powder or liquid form.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4505 days

#14 posted 04-04-2008 01:16 AM

Thanks for the tutorial. I love these how-to’s so I don’t try to re-invent the wheel!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4502 days

#15 posted 04-04-2008 07:44 AM

Dyes work great. That’s all I use for coloring. I like sanding the “high” spots off after the first coat though.
It creates more of a contrast.

Great post.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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