2 DYE 4

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Blog entry by trifern posted 06-16-2009 06:33 AM 50699 reads 310 times favorited 56 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have had numerous requests for a how to blog about my dyeing techniques.

I use water base aniline dyes. This technique the dye is applied using 20 cent sponge brushes and cheap paper towels. I typically work from the darkest colors to the lightest, creating layers of color.

This piece is turned from fiddle back maple. My apologies for not taking a photograph prior to applying any dyes.

The first coat is black. I apply the dye liberally inside and out. I then wipe the outside with a paper towel saturated with clean water and allow the piece to dry.

After this coat has dried, I sand the outside aggressively with 180 grit sandpaper.

The second coat is applied with a sponge brush to the outside of the vessel and wiped down with a wet paper towel. I used red for the second color.

After the red has dried, I sand semi-aggressively with 320 grit sandpaper.

Yellow dye is then applied as the final layer of color.

After the vessel has dried, I will then apply several coats of wipe-on poly.

You can view my project here.

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

56 comments so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4874 days

#1 posted 06-16-2009 07:04 AM

The much awaited and anticipated blog on dying. I have to tell you, it’s a little of a let-down because I thought you used magic somewhere in the process. I actually have one of your pieces set as my desktop background on my computer; “Fireball” I believe. So, do you wet-sand in between coats, or is there something you do special to the final coat to get that beautiful shine?

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5397 days

#2 posted 06-16-2009 07:20 AM

20 cent sponges? I don’t have any tool in my shop that cost 20 cents…including parts I bought to fix things up.
This is more than I can handle… And paper towels? Though I’ll probably find out the dye is $80 bucks an ounce…so that’ll make me feel better.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View mmh's profile


3703 posts in 5212 days

#3 posted 06-16-2009 07:46 AM

He did leave out a step. It’s the “Magic Dust” that he mixes into the last color and applies with a special gold tipped brush made from Blue Phoenix Bird Tail Feathers.

Sorry, I told all.

Nice Blog!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View savannah505's profile


1907 posts in 5076 days

#4 posted 06-16-2009 08:01 AM

Cool Joe – Thanks for the info, I can see it will turn out beautiful. – Dan

-- Dan Wiggins

View trifern's profile


8134 posts in 5257 days

#5 posted 06-16-2009 01:26 PM

The magic happens when the multiple coats of wipe-on poly is applied with an old tee shirt torn into strips. I do not wet sand between coats. I will sand between the first several coats with 320 grit sandpaper. The last few coats will be sanded between coats with 0000 steel wool. This is the same color scheme as “Fireball.”

The first few coats of wipe-on poly will bring out the rich deep blacks. I will sand through the finish slightly, which will make the highlights pop. The last several coats are simply building the depth and gloss of the finish.

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

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5218 days

#6 posted 06-16-2009 03:40 PM

don’t forget step 1: put on gloves. lol.
Thanks for the tutorial. It sound like the real trick is just to try new stuff and not be afraid to get a little crazy sometimes. Is 3 layers the maximum number of colors you will apply? Do you almost always start with a black?

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5737 days

#7 posted 06-16-2009 07:25 PM

Thanks Joe for the tutorial, it is amazing what you can do with your color technique. Facinating to say the least. You have made us all much richer in knowledge, very giving of you. Thanks. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View a1Jim's profile


118333 posts in 5067 days

#8 posted 06-16-2009 07:31 PM

Hey Joe
your dyeing technique are flawless. This title should be posted with all your work “2 dye 4.” Thanks for sharing great job.


View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14193 posts in 5473 days

#9 posted 06-16-2009 11:33 PM

thanks for posting .. I like your style

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 4894 days

#10 posted 06-17-2009 04:23 PM

Thanks for sharing, I like many other always love the finishes on your pieces.

-- Alan, Prince George

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 5121 days

#11 posted 06-18-2009 03:38 AM

Joe Thanks so much for the how to ! this technique will come in handy for alot of my projects .

Thanks again !!!

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View cabinetmaster's profile


10872 posts in 5048 days

#12 posted 06-18-2009 04:15 AM

Thanks Joe for the tutorial. You make it sound so simple. I’ll mark this so I can try it sometime real soon. Thanks again.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View trifern's profile


8134 posts in 5257 days

#13 posted 06-18-2009 06:05 AM

HokieMojo, I have applied up to 4 colors. I sometimes start with blue instead of black. The important thing is to try new things and have fun.

Thanks for all the feedback.

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

View barryrichardson's profile


6 posts in 4801 days

#14 posted 06-19-2009 04:45 AM

Why do you choose water based dyes rather than alcohol based? Did you sand any after the yellow coat, or does it not raise the grain at that stage?

-- Barry, Goodyear AZ

View trifern's profile


8134 posts in 5257 days

#15 posted 06-19-2009 04:54 AM

Hi Barry,

I chose water based aniline dyes because research shows that they are the most light fast. I also like to be able to manipulate the dyes with wet paper towels.

I did not sand the yellow prior to applying the wipe-on poly. Some of the dye will come off on my rag while applying the first couple of coats of wipe-on poly. I will sand through parts of the finish on the first couple of coats also. This makes the highlights pop and cleans up some of the muddy dark colors.

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

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