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07-29-2010 08:56 AM
I just got a great deal on some cypress 4/4 for $0.50 a B.F. I have surfaced some on it and made a box. I understand that a darker satin is not so good on cypress, is this true. What would be a good stain (color) for my project. I don't need it to be too dark, but as dark as I can get it without hurting the look of the grain. I don't have a lot of stains to do test areas with. Before I bought a bunch of stain, I wanted you guys to give me your opinions. Thanks for the help, Larry
07-29-2010 07:40 PM
What is the box to be used for? Is it going to be used, or stored outdoors?
If it is for an interior application you might want to consider using a dye rather than a stain. Dye is transparent and doesn't obscure the grain, allowing you go achieve as dark a color as you would like without blotching.
07-30-2010 12:54 AM
Thanks, amateur60. It is going to be a pistol box used in NRA Pistol Competitions. For the most part it will be indoors. It will be outdoors during the match and sometimes it will be in rain. Most of us have plastic bags we put over them if a shower comes up quick. For this reason, I guess polyurethane would be the best for top coat, right.
Do you think the dye would be a good idea for this application. What kind of dye would I be looking for? Thanks again for the great help. Larry
07-30-2010 03:12 AM
…will work very well in your application. Poly won’t!!!
Polyoneverythane is highly subject to the damaging effects of UV. All the while that your piston box is setting in the sun on the range UV light will be destroying the bond between the urethane resin and the wood. In short order the poly will begin to develop fine cracks, lose adhesion and begin to yellow and peel like a bad sunburn. No finish with the words “Poly” or “urethane” on the label should ever be used in a sun rich environment.
For a project this size several good options come to mind. First, and perhaps the easiest to apply, would be shellac in an aerosol (Zinsser Clear Shellac). Apply the dye and allow it to dry. Follow the dye with a light coat of shellac then sand lightly, just enough to smooth the surface after the shellac is dry. Then apply additional light coats of shellac (two or three) until you achieve a uniform topcoat. Shellac is color stable, hard, moisture resistant and unaffected by UV.
A second option would be two or three coats of an alkyd resin or phenolic resin varnish after the first light coat of shellac. Good options would be Pratt & Lambert #38 (alkyd resin varnish made from soya oil) or Waterlox Original (phenolic resin made from tung oil). Both of these varnishes will do well in your application and will be far more durable, color stable and UV resistant than poly. They can also be made into wiping varnish.
Finally, you can apply pre-catalyzed lacquer, again in an aerosol. Mohawk produces an excellent product that may very well be available from a full-service paint store in your area. Pre-cat lacquers, unlike old style nitrocellulose lacquer, produce a highly moisture resistant finish that resists yellowing due to UV.
07-30-2010 11:33 PM
Thank you, Steve, for the reply and the education on how to finish my pistol box. I can't think of a word that would accurately convey my gratitude. Thank you doesn't seem to be enough. I feel like my box will be most noticeable because of the finish. I guess most water based dyes are the same. Do I mix it up and brush it on? Or do I use my paint sprayer? It is not the air less type. It is the kind with a quart aluminum canister on the bottom and sprays at about 40 – 45 psi. Again, thanks so much. Larry
07-31-2010 04:13 AM
…but, that seem a lot of effort for such a small project. My suggestion would be that you simply flood the surface using a synthetic kitchen sponge; the type you can buy in a brick of sponger in the home goods section of just about any grocery store. Mix your dye solution in the desired concentration, apply the dye liberally with a sponge, then wring the sponge out and wipe up the excess dye, wringing it back into the dye container for future use. If you do elect to spray the dye you should again flood the surface with a liberal amount and then wipe up the excess with a sponge that you have previously soaked with dye and wrung out. Water-soluble dyes work very quickly so the excess dye can be picked up almost immediately.
Flooding the surface with dye, as opposed to trying to carefully brush it on, eliminates the problem of streaking. It is unnecessary to allow dyes to sit on the surface for some prescribed period of time before removing the excess as we commonly do with pigment stains. The reason is that pigment in stains is an insoluble solid that colors the wood by forming a thin opaque film on the surface of the wood. This film is held in place by a binder of either varnish or lacquer. Allowing the stain to sit on the surface for a period of time before removing the excess gives time for some of the thinner in the binder to evaporate thus “setting” the pigment. Dyes, by comparison, color by means of the chemical affinity between the dye and the wood fibers. Chemical affinity is the property of an atom or compound to combine by chemical reaction with atoms or compounds of unlike composition; in this case wood cellulose and liquid dye. This property of wood dyes result in the dye combining with the cell structure of the wood at the molecular level.
Given the chemical method of dyes in coloring (more precisely, actually changing the color) of wood as opposed to masking the color of wood as do pigment stains, dyes are best applied by flooding as recommended above. The simple reason is that dyes work best when the cells of the wood are presented with all of the dye they need to fully react chemically with the dye. This reaction takes place very quickly allowing the finisher to remove the excess immediately.
Finally, permit me offer one other suggestion when mixing water-soluble dyes. Rather than mixing the contents of the dye package in a quart of water (or whatever volume called for in the instructions) mix the contents of the package in one-pint of hot distilled water. When your dye concentrate has cooled to room temperature carefully make test mixtures consisting of one-part dye concentrate and varying parts of distilled water. For example, one-part dye concentrate to 5-parts distilled water. Flood your test mix on a wood sample, discard any remaining test mix and make another test mix using a different ratio. Label each test mixture below the test strip. When dry, apply a coat of finish to the tests and observe which concentration is most appropriate in your application. I spray on a coat of Zinsser Clear Shellac aerosol. I then mix the volume of dye that I need based on the test mixture selected.
08-01-2010 09:07 PM
Thanks for the great explanation Steve and also for the tips on mixing the dye. My next question was going to be if I flooded it on and it was not dark enough, could I mix darker and flood it on again. However, you have answered my question.
New question about glue and the dye. What about cypress being bad about glue left on the wood near joints? I try very hard to wipe away all the glue with a wet rag. For this job, I would use Titebond III for it water repellent properties. Maybe water repellent isn't the best description, but I hope you know what I'm trying to say. Do I need to be extra careful with cypress or just use the normal process for gluing and cleaning the squeeze out?
08-02-2010 03:09 AM
…with a wet rag or sponge. I know, I know…Norm does it; but, it’s still a bad idea and is likely only to make the problem of glue on the surface worse. Water thins the glue allowing it to penetrate deeper into the cell structure (grain) of the wood where it becomes even more difficult to remove by sanding. The problem become more acute on coarse textured woods like oak and softer ring-porous species like cypress since thinned glue residue is absorbed faster by these woods. It takes very little glue to “seal” the surface and create problems with your finish.
A two prong solution works best: First, apply glue sparingly. Your joint should not be starved for glue; but, keep the glue in the joint. Second, when squeeze out does occur allow the glue to cure to the rubber stage and then use a sharp plane iron or chisel to simply peel the glue away. Excess glue removed in this way will leave no glue residue on the surface.
08-03-2010 01:04 AM
Thanks again Steve for the great tip. This is new to me also and it makes sense. That will be my method in the future. It seems like I always get too much glue in box joints. It's hard enough to get glue in the joints anyway. I will work on using less glue. Thanks again, Larry
08-03-2010 04:14 AM
One other point for bozx joints. Apply glue only to the part that you push down onto the other side of the joint. That way almost all of any squeeze out that does occur is pushed to the outside of the box where it is easy to remove, not to the inside corner where it is a bear. (Same basic idea for dovetailed joints.)