Colouring after texturing with decorating elf

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Shay Vings

Established Member
17 Apr 2009
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Any tips on the best way to apply colour after fine detail texturing with this tool?

I have tried spirit stains before and after texturing but it bleeds through and looks a mess. Ditto with acrylic paint neat and diluted. No sanding sealer in either case.

Cloth or brush no real difference. The only half decent result is a felt tip pen with the lathe rotating slowly. Soon does for the pen though!

I appreciate end grain/side grain and type of wood and maybe lathe speed will have a bearing on the outcome, but so far I have not found a good formula.
At a Sorby demo last week, Chris Pouncy was using artists (felt tip) pens for colouring textured work because they don't bleed. Should be available from any good artist's materials shop although the ones he was using were from the USA. To my untrained eye the results looked fine.

I had to look up what the tool was!! Never heard of it.

However, the principle will be the same whatever colouring of texture is involved. I agree about spirit stains, I can never stop the bleeding. However, I now use gouache or felt tip most of the time. I always seal the wood first though. This means that, if you don't like the result, you can wash off the paint and start again. The gouache is particularly useful because, as its water based, you can then apply sealer afterwards without risking the removal of your carefully applied colour.

The Elf is an interesting looking tool and makes good looking patterns but it seems to me to limit the possibilities to a degree. Using a totally freehand approach with high speed burrs will remain my choice. However, should I be able to free some dosh from the house renovation fund, it would be interesting to have a play to prove myself wrong :D
gus: Very useful hints. thanks.

The elf is a miniature alternative to the Sorby kit. If you put the 2 side-by-side, the Elf looks like - well - an elf by comparison and is more suited to small pieces.

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