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Forum topic by GR8HUNTER posted 06-14-2019 03:06 PM 466 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GR8HUNTER's profile


6231 posts in 1134 days

06-14-2019 03:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing dye

hello all … I have been commissioned to build this fire truck

I would like it to have a red tint to wood with still being able to tell its wood so I googled it and now I’m more confused then ever …. dye stain , powder dye , water base ,or just use Paduak … so I am asking ?s

1- what is the best dye
2- brand
3- what wood to use
4- add what you think I missed


-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

21 replies so far

View Orvile Baker's profile

Orvile Baker

228 posts in 1100 days

#1 posted 06-14-2019 03:20 PM

I use Sherman Williams water base stain, I like it because they will mix it for me to get just the right shade that I want. I do not know if they have a store where you are. I always finish with a coat of butcher block oil to seal it. I feel if it is safe for food prep. then it is safe for Big and small people. As for the wood, I would use a light wood so the red would show out. This is just what I like.

-- Bud Baker , Ojibwa, WI.

View HokieKen's profile


9974 posts in 1560 days

#2 posted 06-14-2019 03:27 PM

I’ve never dyed wood Tony. I think I’d be inclined to go with Paduak or Redheart and use the natural color. But, dyed wood would have a more uniform color and you’d have more control over the exact color. If I went that route, I’d probably pick some nice, clear, straight-grained Maple. If you’re gonna dye it anyway, might as well pick something that’s cheap and easy to work with :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3471 posts in 3531 days

#3 posted 06-14-2019 03:37 PM

I think that Padauk turns brown over time? I use Trans-Tint dyes, but I’m seeing that over time the dyes also fade due to UV degradation. Maybe try a thinned red automotive lacquer (to allow the grain to show) with a UV resistant clear coat?

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1507 posts in 1916 days

#4 posted 06-14-2019 03:43 PM

Transtint has a bright red dye that I use as accent color for all sorts of silly things:
Click for details
- The lighter the wood color, the brighter the red obtained. If wood has yellow tones, the red color shifts slightly to dark red-orange. Maple give truest red, ash/basswood/anigre makes ok red, oak/pine make orange reds, poplar browns as it ages – so red darkens with brownish tint over time.
- If you want a strong bright red, the mix concentration ratio needs more dye/less solvent. Normal recommended is 1oz concentrate per quart. When I use red, tend to like 1oz per 16-24oz of solvent.
- If you use water as solvent, the color is reduced after sanding off the fuzz (exposes wood).
- I use 50/50 blend of alcohol and acetone and it makes a non-grain raising dye that doesn’t require sanding before top coat, plus it penetrates better into wood grain.
- Adding a small drop of Transtint black to 1 oz blend of red dye makes red deeper or darker and can reduce the amount of red dye concentration needed to get dark red. If wood is yellow/tan toned, use drop of blue instead of black, as the blue counteracts the yellow tones, then results in dark charcoal tint added to red. Too much black/blue and you get magenta colors like what I used on my work bench project.

PS – need to use UV protection top coat to help reduce dye fading in direct sunlight.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View EarlS's profile


2889 posts in 2770 days

#5 posted 06-14-2019 03:47 PM

You could use redheart or bloodwood too. Both of those should hold red pretty well in sunlight. They are also decent to work with as well as being very hard and durable.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3887 posts in 1004 days

#6 posted 06-14-2019 04:05 PM

I’ll second the recommendation for the bright red TransTint. Use more than you think you’ll need since you’re doing a fire truck, but it’ll mix into shellac or poly or darned near any finish you want to use.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

835 posts in 810 days

#7 posted 06-14-2019 04:34 PM

+1 on TransTint – specifically red mahogany. This straight/uncut Red Mahogany with a coat of gloss poly. The pulls are a bit dusty :-)

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View mpounders's profile


928 posts in 3317 days

#8 posted 06-14-2019 04:54 PM

Don’t laugh, but I’ve even used un-sweetened Kool-Aid as a dye (don’t use much water).

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View sras's profile


5115 posts in 3551 days

#9 posted 06-14-2019 05:49 PM

Another vote for Transtint. I used water based polyurethane as a top coat on these – it’s as close to a clear top coat as I could find.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View LeeRoyMan's profile


176 posts in 149 days

#10 posted 06-14-2019 06:57 PM

This is what I prefer.

View hairy's profile


2876 posts in 3954 days

#11 posted 06-14-2019 07:20 PM

I’ve used food coloring.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Dutchy's profile


3392 posts in 2590 days

#12 posted 06-14-2019 07:42 PM

Send me a PM with your adress and I will send you CLOU wasser beize (trocken 5 gram) You can make 250ml water dye out of it and maple for example after treatment will be red, and you can’t see that it is treated It will still have the wood grain and it also will be red. Color example After this (only coloring) treatment you can finish your wood like you normal do.


View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2854 posts in 1243 days

#13 posted 06-14-2019 11:17 PM

GR8, I don’t dye wood (well I do MDF which many LJ’ers have said it’s not wood and some furniture to fit in with my house color decor) so can only suggest from brain storming rather than experience.

Natural wood would probably change patina over time and may be totally different than when you started.

Like ebonising, timbers react differently so rather than just work with the dye try as many differect types of timbers that you can get your hand on.

The boys seem to spruik TransTint… however, you can only try, but try as many timbers as you can.

One thing to remember is that water base tints wiil raise the grain more on some timbers than others and small parts may be hard to “de-nap”... unless you want a furry fiery.

Having said that, I’ve had good results in using supermarket source food colouring (the cake type). SOme brands are richer thanothers and I’ve found the give a greater colour depth than the paint store offerrings when trying to tint neutral wood filler.

Personally, I would try to convince the client to steer clear of dying and use good contrasting timber… which now kaboshes my second paragraph!

PS. Dutchy’s offering sounds interesting.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1507 posts in 1916 days

#14 posted 06-15-2019 01:47 AM

This is what I prefer.
- LeeRoyMan

+1 on Sherwin Williams Universal Dye Stain Concentrates. Work very well, behave almost same as Transtint.

IMHO the SW bulk quart/gallon packaging is too large for causal hobby wood worker?
You either need to be working on really large projects, or many hundreds of small projects; as smallest quart size sold is ~$150 at my local Sherwin William’s commercial store. Transtint quarts are about same cost, but have to add shipping since no local places stock large sizes.

Regardless, another good recommendation. :)

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View therealSteveN's profile


3116 posts in 996 days

#15 posted 06-15-2019 02:44 AM

Normally I use WD Lockwood dyes Tool for Working Wood, but for the red they have a few reds, quite brilliant, and if you can finish the piece away from the rest I would still go there.

The problem is, and I think you will find most of the dyes in a bright red to be Water based dyes, Great, awesome used to color a whole part, but they can/will bleed if you are trying to get it on just a part of a part. So if bleeding could be an issue. Paint would stay better, so use wood with a deep grain, that you can see through the paint. One coat, or you will start to fill it in.

-- Think safe, be safe

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