Custom-Mixed Cordovan or Mahogany Stain

Color and chemistry advice on making a red-black "cordovan" stain using dye concentrates. October 28, 2009

Does anyone have a recipe for a red mahogany stain or a deep cordovan using dye concentrates? I want to use it in a Target water reducible stain base. I thought I would ask before I start mixing and experimenting.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Cordovan is red and black.

From contributor B:
Contributor A is correct, but you can further modify the color by adding orange and yellow to brighten the color.

Depending on your color concentrates you can try:
Black = 7%
Red = 74%
Orange = 12%

Yellow = 7%

From contributor C:
What brand and type of dye stain do you have?

From the original questioner:
I am using the ColorFX dyes fromWood Essence in Canada. However, I am willing to use other brands. Any suggestions? What about Lockwood or SW?

From contributor C:
Going by a name is always a bad way to match colors, however most cordovan colors are a deep red/purple color. For those colors I would think you would need an oxblood red, a good black and maybe a purple or blue. In Lockwood I like #5440 for the oxblood, #327 for my black and #1150 magenta.

In Mohawk ultra penetrating dye stain, oxblood and black (maybe a little blue but I don't like their blue).

In Sherwin Williams, S61R506 Bordeaux, S61B500 Black, S61L505 Blue. I would start with black and add a little oxblood until I get a deep purple (most black dyes have a blue cast). If it is still a little too red, you may need a few drops of blue to cool down the color. It looks like Wood Essence has bordeaux and black as well as a purple and a blue. If you have those colors, start there and keep an accurate formula as you make your samples.

From contributor E:
Try Lockwood's cordovan (#7440). We initially mix a very concentrated solution (4 oz to 2 qts.) and generally proceed with liquid measure dilution only thereafter rather than mixing in small weights of powder. They also have a bluish-black that works well to knock the brightness out of the red if you need. Likewise mix liquid measures from a concentrated solution. Keep a log of your initial solution measures and of your subsequent dilution/intermix measures and you are good to go.

From contributor F:
I'd talk to someone at Target before trying to use any dye in the Target stain base. The Lockwood dyes are for specific bases (water, alcohol, oil). Target's stains are a unique animal - linseed oil in a water emulsion. It might work, but make sure you pick the right base. The Lockwood WB dyes work nicely in just water. They are supposedly not the best choice where light-fastness is critical, but I haven't had a problem myself.

From contributor E:
Contributor F is right about the stain base. We don't use any pre-mixed base. If spraying WB sealer over the dye, we mix 25% by volume of a WB finish into the dye mixture (substituting some of the dilution water) to help prevent lifting into the WB sealer.