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Staining Baltic Birch ply

JulienBoivin's picture

I'm soon finishing a file cabinet with baltic birch plywood. I'd like some suggestions on products that would look nice. I'd like the plywoods to be a dark shade of brown.

I find that stain has a hard time penetrating birch....

Thanks in advance, guys

Julien the happy woodworker


At least my workbench understands me...

Julien the happy woodworker

At least my workbench understands me...

mudman's picture

(post #106875, reply #1 of 11)

In my experience it is very blotchy. If you want to minimise this then use a sealer or a light coat of Shellac before staining.


Mike

Pardon my spelling,

Mike

Make sure that your next project is beyond your skill and requires tools you don't have. You won't regret it.

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #106875, reply #2 of 11)

Stain doesn't penetrate birch and blotches to boot.  But dye will penetrate easily allowing you to go as dark as you want.  It also is less prone to blotching--won't totally eliminate it, but often makes the problem unobjectionable.  Mix a powdered dye with distilled water and work out how concentrated to make it on some scrap of the same wood. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

JulienBoivin's picture

(post #106875, reply #3 of 11)

Will do. Thanks...

Julien the happy woodworker


At least my workbench understands me...

Julien the happy woodworker

At least my workbench understands me...

Cheatah's picture

(post #106875, reply #4 of 11)

Jules:


As others have explained, a dye is the way to go. I have used used both water based and alcohol based dyes. I prefer the alcohol based dyes-also known as NGR for Non Grain Raising. I have had great results using alcohol based dyes on birch. Literally no blothcing and the grain pops right thru. You can find these dyes at Woodcraft, Rockler or do a google search.


I am sure you will be impressed with the results.


Good luck,


Cheatah


 


Thank you,


Cheatah

Thank you,

Cheatah

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #106875, reply #5 of 11)

The NGR dyes are actually a waterbased dye that is mixed with ethyl glycol so that it can be thinned with alcohol, lacquer thinner or water.  The plus is that it doesn't raise grain--at least not much.  The negative is that for reasons I can't explain, the colors tend to seem a bit off to me. 


Alcohol based dyes do exist, but they tend to be so fast drying that only spray application makes sense.  By hand, overlap is inevitable because of the speed of drying.  They are also less light fast than waterbased dye. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

Cheatah's picture

(post #106875, reply #6 of 11)

Steve:


I agree and disagree. As far as colors being off---that is a matter of person taste.


But NGR stains (dyes) can be wiped on. The project can not be overly large. But I have successfully used commercial NGR stains as a wiping stain with very good results. You have to move fast..but it can be done.


I have also used analin dyes that have been wiped on with very good results.


 


Thank you,


Cheatah

Thank you,

Cheatah

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #106875, reply #7 of 11)

I think I didn't explain very well.  As you say, NGR dyes can be wiped on.  And my main objection to them is that matter of colors.  But my only point was meant to be that NGR dyes are not the same thing as alcohol based dyes.  Alcohol based dyes are typically powdered dye to be dissolved in alcohol.  Those dry very fast, much faster than NGR dyes and, in my experience too fast to wipe on comfortably. 


NGR dyes can be diluted with alcohol and do often contain methanol (not a solvent I like to use) but the dye itself is dissolved in ethyl glycol which gives extra working time compared to the strictly alcohol dye.  The formulation also means NGR dyes tend to be more light fast than alcohol dyes. 


I don't find the grain raising of waterbased dye much of a problem since I often find the next step in my finishing schedule is a light coat of shellac.  When that dries, it is an  easy matter to lightly sand off any raised grain which has been nicely stiffened by the shellac.

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

Cheatah's picture

(post #106875, reply #8 of 11)

Steve:


Now I get your drift. Thanks for clarifiying. Do you use NGR stains (dyes) frequently? Where did you pick up  your strong product knowledge?


Thanks again.


Thank you,


Cheatah

Thank you,

Cheatah

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #106875, reply #9 of 11)

I used to use them quite a bit, but have pretty much let them go by in favor of the watermixed dyes.  I just do a lot of experimenting, (and reading).  I tend to be a researcher at heart. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

nicobie's picture

(post #106875, reply #10 of 11)

As usual, Steve got it right.


I've started using the TransTint dyes that Jewitt sells. They mix with just about everything. I mostly use them in a 1# (or less) cut of shellac. When sprayed you have lots of control over the color. I usually start with about 4 drops/6oz. It's really easy to fine tune your color by adding more or different colored dyes as you go.


 

JulienBoivin's picture

(post #106875, reply #11 of 11)

Thanks for all the answers.. I'm definitely getting somewhere now....

Julien the happy woodworker


At least my workbench understands me...

Julien the happy woodworker

At least my workbench understands me...