Color Adjustment with Aniline Dyes
Advice on sneaking up on the desired hue and tint with dyes on a musical instrument. April 17, 2009
I am trying to tint some wiping varnish/oil with powdered aniline dyes. The problem is, the dyes all end up very red, no browns at all. I am using J.E. Mosers oil soluble dye powders with bush oil, Minwax antique oil, and Waterlox. The dyes are dark browns but end up red-orange when mixed with the wiping oil finishes. Any thoughts?
From contributor J:
Try pre-mixing the powder with xylene or toulene before adding to the varnish. I don't think you're putting the various components of the dye mix into complete solution. Lacquer thinner may be a good substitute.
From contributor R:
The color in those oil dyes aren't very light fast, is there any reason you couldn't either stain with a water soluble dye and then varnish over it or mix an alcohol soluble dye in shellac and then topcoat with your varnish?
From the original questioner:
It is for a violin and the color must be transparent. I am using water dyes first (light maple), then sealing with shellac (again with light maple alcohol dye), the last step is the varnish, that has a reddish brown hue. This gives the effect of yellow undertones bleeding through the red/brown varnish. I will try dissolving the dyes into solvents first and see how that works.
From contributor S:
If you want to get rid of the red mix a little green into your stain and it will be more brown.
From contributor C:
All your dye work should be with water soluble dyes only! In olden days we layered the dyes - we applied the ground dye color first be it yellow, orange, etc, let the surface dry and then applied the overcolor to it. You only need three dye colors - red, yellow and blue - mixing the three will give you variable blacks (reddish, yellowish, greenish blacks - there are no true blacks in dye colors.) After you lay down a thin yellow dye let it surface dry and then gun apply the rest of your colors over with a gun set to a fine mist, do not put on so heavy it runs or droplets form. Mainly air with a little wet dye build slowly, and wait several minutes. I use an air brush for small jobs like yours. In between applications to allow evaporation of the water - applying to fast will not allow enough and it will get to wet! If done properly you can shade the edges this way and get a two or three tone finish like in old days – make samples always! Layering dyes was the way all fine furniture use to be done back in the 30's, 40's and 50's.