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Walnut Hull Dye or Stain

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Forum topic by Eddie_T posted 04-20-2022 03:47 PM 479 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


04-20-2022 03:47 PM

On the HomeRefurbers forum I read where wood dye was used to change the color of floor tile grout. When I tiled my floors years ago dark grouts were not available and I knew nothing about coloring sanded grout. About ten or more years ago I got brave and used water based deck stain to darken my grout. It did pretty well but was not durable enough for bath and kitchen. Reading about the use of wood dye for better penetration started me thinking.

I recall a FW article from years ago where the author made a walnut wood stain by leaching black walnut hulls with ammonia. I had tried it and found it to be smelly and more like a dye than a stain. Flash forward · · · I don’t have any hulls but do have a few black walnuts. I cracked and ate a walnut then placed the shell in a PNB jar with just enough hot water to cover. After sitting a couple of days I applied some to the the grout with a toothbrush and am pleased with the result. I don’t know what the durability will be but it had good penetration so should be better that the pigmented deck stain and the price is right if occasional reapplication is required.

For use with wood I would think alcohol would be a better medium than water (if it leaches). I may even try alcohol for use on the grout. Since I only need a small amount I will proceed with walnut shells rather than hulls but a friend has a black walnut tree and I can get all the walnuts (in the hull) that I want come fall. He doesn’t even use the walnuts and just rakes them into a pile and the squirrels make them disappear. Black walnuts are my favorite nut and homemade chocolate fudge with black walnuts is my favorite candy.


20 replies so far

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LesB

3500 posts in 4933 days


#1 posted 04-21-2022 07:44 PM

Sounds like a good experiment.

My question is how in the HE double L do you get the nut meat out of the shell. They are so thick and hard, even the inner membranes are thick.

-- Les B, Oregon

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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


#2 posted 04-22-2022 06:20 PM

I use a small anvil cut from a rail (think railroad). I stand the nut on end (with blunt end down) and hammer on the point until I hear it crack then gently hammer until it breaks in half or quarters. It’s not easy and every nut doesn’t crack perfectly. Some suggest using a vice, I haven’t tried that yet. In my mind I can see something with a depression to hold the nut and a pivoted blade. Place the blade on the seam of the nut and tap with a hammer. I may try a version of it using a machete this fall. I am also wondering if a brick chisel might be used with the nut in a depression or a clamp. Bottom line, it ain’t easy!

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CaptainKlutz

5726 posts in 2984 days


#3 posted 04-22-2022 06:44 PM

Hmm, Not something I would tackle.
You can buy grout dye for less than cost of walnuts and walnut cracker?

YMMV

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


#4 posted 04-23-2022 04:09 AM



Hmm, Not something I would tackle.
You can buy grout dye for less than cost of walnuts and walnut cracker?

YMMV

- CaptainKlutz

I realize that you are not serious but did you actually read my OP before commenting? My walnuts are free compare that to your grout dye price. Also you may not have noticed that the hulls are used rather than the shells. I was merely experimenting with the shell. I will be getting a bushel for eating and cooking come fall as they are my favorite nut. I don’t think the cracker you referenced will work for black walnuts, maybe OK for English walnuts.<over>

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LesB

3500 posts in 4933 days


#5 posted 04-23-2022 04:55 PM

When I was a kid in California black walnut trees were mixed in the English walnut orchards as polinators. They often ended up on the outside edge of the orchard near the road and the nuts were free for the gathering. Great tasting but getting enough nut meat out to use was time consuming and usually you only came out in small pieces.
The black walnut wood is highly prized.

Today I just buy black walnut ice cream….when I can find it.

-- Les B, Oregon

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OSU55

3050 posts in 3479 days


#6 posted 04-23-2022 11:03 PM

Not worth the trouble or big savings of $10-$15. Just get the stuff made for the application.

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CaptainKlutz

5726 posts in 2984 days


#7 posted 04-24-2022 12:25 AM

I realize that you are not serious – Eddie_T
Sorry, I am very serious.
Making black dye from walnuts is something I would NEVER want to waste my time doing.

I’ve played with pigments, and dyes for decades. They are too cheap to waste my time making them from scratch; unless maybe I lived off grid and with no money, like our ancestors did 250 years ago?

Carbon black is cheap and plentiful. Can buy small quantities from fireworks chemical supply houses, use left over toner from laser cartridge, or buy laser toner bulk refill bottle. One pound is enough to color an entire house.

My chemistry background lets me formulate an actual vinyl grout sealer too. But will spare the details since I can buy a small bottle of grout dye that will color an entire room for less than cost in raw materials.
IMHO – Making your own grout dye is much more expensive than buying it, especially if you value your time.

Best Luck with your science experiment.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


#8 posted 04-24-2022 12:33 AM



Not worth the trouble or big savings of $10-$15. Just get the stuff made for the application.

- OSU55

Actually the stuff made for it doesn’t penetrate as well. That was the object of the post on HomeRefurbers to use a dye rather than a stain or sealer.

Trouble, one walnut hull dropped in water or alcohol? It’s as easy as nails-in-vinegar to use on barn board sawed edges · · · Oh wait, you don’t like gray either! I don’t know how we could survive w/o a couple of negative trolls.

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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


#9 posted 04-24-2022 12:42 AM



I realize that you are not serious – Eddie_T Sorry, I am very serious.
Making black dye from walnuts is something I would NEVER want to waste my time doing.

I ve played with pigments, and dyes for decades. They are too cheap to waste my time making them from scratch; unless maybe I lived off grid and with no money, like our ancestors did 250 years ago?

Carbon black is cheap and plentiful. Can buy small quantities from fireworks chemical supply houses, use left over toner from laser cartridge, or buy laser toner bulk refill bottle. One pound is enough to color an entire house.

My chemistry background lets me formulate an actual vinyl grout sealer too. But will spare the details since I can buy a small bottle of grout dye that will color an entire room for less than cost in raw materials.
IMHO – Making your own grout dye is much more expensive than buying it, especially if you value your time.

Best Luck with your science experiment.

- CaptainKlutz

Surely you realize by now that my cost was zero. I am afraid that I don’t understand your problem. According to your logic why do woodworking just buy stuff already made. BTW you may not realize it but the color of black walnut stain is not black so wassup with your reference to carbon black? <over>

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CaptainKlutz

5726 posts in 2984 days


#10 posted 04-24-2022 01:03 AM

Actually the stuff made for it doesn t penetrate as well. That was the object of the post on HomeRefurbers to use a dye rather than a stain or sealer. – Eddie_T
You claim previously to use a deck sealer on the grout. This means the pores are filled with a sealer. If you want more penetration, you need to remove the old sealer, and make the grout porous. An good cleaning with diluted muriatic acid would be my recommendation. It would clean out pores, and allow a new color sealer to work much better.

IME – There are no short cuts to colored tile grout. You are either going to mechanically remove 1/2 the grout, and re-grout with desired color grout; or aggressively etch the existing surface then add colored grout sealer.

Dark black is one of the hardest colors to create in lime (white) based cement mixture. Many times the only way to get it dark enough, is using both a black pigmented grout and a black grout sealer. In areas with high amounts of UV exposure and traffic, can expect the need to reseal the black color every year to keep an even color across floor. SWMBO wanted black grout. Did it once, and will never do it again, due very high maintenance. Was very glad when we sold that home.

YMMV

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


#11 posted 04-24-2022 01:31 AM


Actually the stuff made for it doesn t penetrate as well. That was the object of the post on HomeRefurbers to use a dye rather than a stain or sealer. – Eddie_TYou claim previously to use a deck sealer on the grout. This means the pores are filled with a sealer. If you want more penetration, you need to remove the old sealer, and make the grout porous. An good cleaning with diluted muriatic acid would be my recommendation. It would clean out pores, and allow a new color sealer to work much better.

IME – There are no short cuts to colored tile grout. You are either going to mechanically remove 1/2 the grout, and re-grout with desired color grout; or aggressively etch the existing surface then add colored grout sealer.

Dark black is one of the hardest colors to create in lime (white) based cement mixture. Many times the only way to get it dark enough, is using both a black pigmented grout and a black grout sealer. In areas with high amounts of UV exposure and traffic, can expect the need to reseal the black color every year to keep an even color across floor. SWMBO wanted black grout. Did it once, and will never do it again, due very high maintenance. Was very glad when we sold that home.

YMMV

- CaptainKlutz


The problem with the deck stain was that it didn’t penetrate, the solids remained on the surface and mopped away with time (10yrs) leaving the original gray. The walnut dye seems to have penetrated well even made with water. You seem to be hung up on black, the color of my dye is walnut. The beauty of my dye is that it can be made in minutes from materials on hand and if over the long haul it’s affected by mopping it’s easily redone, or touched up. I will make some with alcohol for use on my small woodworking projects, lathe turnings, speaker enclosures and etc.

Since this is a woodworking forum others may have interest in it as a wood dye if they have access to walnut hulls (or shells). I always try to keep some black walnuts on hand.

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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


#12 posted 04-24-2022 03:46 AM

Here’s some interesting info from FW and a second source;

Why go to all the trouble of making your own coloring concoctions when you can get reliable, ready-made stains at the corner paint store? First of all, using a dye instead of a stain allows you to color the wood without adding a cloudy layer of pigment that can conceal the grain and cover up the wood’s natural beauty. Unlike paint or stain, a dye consists of a liquid medium—usually water or alcohol—in which pigment particles are dissolved, not merely suspended. Thus, the pigment can’t settle out. And since these dissolved pigments are less opaque than suspended particles, a dye solution is more transparent than a stain. 

The palette of color-creating substances compatible with yarn and fabric is vast, yet relatively few of these materials have been adapted to the wood-dyeing craft. One of the most useful and well-known of these dyestuffs is brewed from the hulls of walnut shells by so simple a means as a pot simmered on the kitchen stove or by extracting the dyestuff with ammonia. This venerable brou de noix, which Jon Arno wrote about in FWW #59, produces very handsome rich-brown colors when applied to wood. FW #66

Have you ever noticed black blotches, dotting back roads through the countryside? Or stained your hands, peeling away the bright green hulls of black walnuts? Then you’re aware of their powerful pigment.

Personally, I’ve yet to discover a good way to remove black walnut stains. Time seems to work best, as the black blemishes walnuts leave behind are unfazed by soap and water and other traditional cleaning methods.

Black walnuts can create quite a mess if they’re left to lay in your yard or driveway. If left to lay, the evidence they leave behind takes a while to fade. 

On the other hand, they can be quite useful when used to create a natural homemade wood stain. All the qualities that make black walnuts such a nuisance to landowners, make them ideal for staining wood. Plus, utilizing the hulls to make a stain is a great way to reduce waste if you’re collecting walnuts to preserve and eat. 
Farm and Dairy August 28, 2018

_

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SMP

5380 posts in 1395 days


#13 posted 04-24-2022 03:11 PM

Yep always fun to make stuff yourself. I have made my own BLO which is actually boiled and contains no toxic ingredients. Here is a how to on making your own tack cloths, also kind of fun if you like this kind of stuff:
https://blog.lostartpress.com/2013/06/07/the-frugal-furniture-maker-make-your-own-tack-rags/

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Eddie_T

275 posts in 3561 days


#14 posted 04-24-2022 04:01 PM



Yep always fun to make stuff yourself. I have made my own BLO which is actually boiled and contains no toxic ingredients. Here is a how to on making your own tack cloths, also kind of fun if you like this kind of stuff:
https://blog.lostartpress.com/2013/06/07/the-frugal-furniture-maker-make-your-own-tack-rags/

- SMP


The article was a fun read. I lived near Brunswick, GA while I worked as a PE at the Kings Bay Submarine base. Brunswick had the ship’s stores odor. Birdseye diapers were a necessity in the 82nd Airborne for spit shining jump boots. Being a kid I had to bum a holey diaper from a “shackrat”. Thanks for the post.

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SMP

5380 posts in 1395 days


#15 posted 04-24-2022 04:27 PM

Btw, here is the video i followed to make my own BLO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtETzSg4LcE

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