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Democritus

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Hi guys
I’m new to using coloured stains on turnings. I stained the wide rim of a beech bowl yesterday using Chestnut spirit stain. It says on the tin that once the stain is dry (about 10 minutes after application) that it will accept other finishes. I put the stain on to sanded bare wood, allowed it to dry, then used cellulose sanding sealer. The stain appeared on the paper towel I used to I put on the sealer. I let the sealer dry, and then applied some Hampshire sheen polish. Again some stain appeared on the paper towel. I left the wax for 1/2 hour and then used a soft cotton cloth to finally buff up the finish. Again stain appeared on the cloth.
Is this normal; at what stage does the stain become fixed; am I doing something wrong?
 

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Robbo3

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Terry from Chestnut often answers these questions & gives the definitive answer.
You probably need a spray on sanding sealer rather than wipe on or brush on.
 

KimG

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The stain drys to a slight powder as well as what penetrates the wood, some residual stain will always come off and the penetration will depend on the type of timber and the orientation (end grain obviously takes it in a lot deeper) porous woods like ash will also absorb it in the areas where the vessels are large.
I find that leaving the stain for a day is usually sufficient to allow the spirit to dry sufficiently on a heavily coloured piece, then I use either a few coats of cellulose sanding sealer and lacquer (with suitable drying times between each) or I have also used shellac applied with a rubber, this does take up colour and can even move the colour about a bit, depending on the piece this can be acceptable though, once the shellac starts to build then that stops.

I have demonstrated the use of spirit stains for Terry at shows a couple of times in the past and produced quite a large number of coloured items over the past few years, so I do have a bit of experience.
 

Democritus

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Thanks, Kim. I’ll do what you suggest in future; apply the stain, leave for 24 hours, and then apply sealer/lacquer. It might be useful if that was on the tin, rather then the claim that the stain can accept other finishes after about 10 minutes drying time.
Best wishes
D
 

scooby

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I watched a Stewart Furini YouTube video where he finished an ash bowl with finishing oil (after staining) and he commented that he'd left it overnight to dry as to avoid the problem you are encountering. Its usually recommended to use aerosol sealer and lacquer (if you lacquer it) as I've read cloth application can start blending/diluting the stains.

In his video, Stewart cloth applied the finishing oil and the end result was excellent though.
 

scooby

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Just thought I'd add my findings. I'm currently using stains for the first time, applied stains on Tuesday and left for 24 hours. Applied hard wax oil with a paper towel on Wednesday, there was a tiny bit of stain on the towel but didn't notice any blending of the stain and the vibrancy looks the same.
Just did a second coat of hard wax oil and there was no stain at all on the paper.

This is all experimentation at the moment, the piece I'm practicing (and gaining experience) is just from low quality luan. Anything is better than the natural pink colour.
 

Glossopguy

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I used to work for a respected wood finishing company. A stain Never actually "dries" there is little to no binder (resin) in them .... they are alcohol based so the wood SUCKS them in so that they do what they say on the tin. If you want then to dry you need to prepare a Spray stain by adding the stain to your Base coat.
It is usual to apply a stain, followed by the base coat (ideally spayed) before sanding and finishing.
Any finish that is spirit or solvent based will pull the stain back out from the substrate,
Wax thinned with white spirit will cover it by it will always mark
The ideal basecoat would be shellac sanding sealer, followed with something like Button Polish. then sanded and finished with wax - that should not mark if done correctly
 

Terry Smart

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It's normal for some of the stain to show on the cloth you apply the next coat with. (Which sealer did you use? Had you thinned it?)
However, the real question is, are you happy with the colour you ended up with? The stain will mark the cloth, certainly, but nowhere near enough of it is removed to make any noticeable difference. That's why we say 10 minutes is enough time to carry on working with the stains.

If using multiple colours, an aerosol sealer is better as this avoids mechanical contact.

I don't often frequent the forum; if anyone has a specific question about our products it's much better to email me :)
 

Democritus

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Thanks, guys, in particular Terry Smart. I much appreciate you taking the trouble to offer advice..
As I noted in my original post, I applied the stain, and then used Chestnut cellulose sanding sealer. I didn’t thin it, as I didn’t know you should when applying over stain (am I right?). What would be the ideal dilution of the sealer, 50:50? 25:75? 40:60? Or some other ratio? What should I use as the thinner? Excuse my ignorance, but I am trying to get to grips with this problem in the hope of improving my craftwork.
D
 

Terry Smart

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Quick reply:
A Cellulose Sanding Sealer is designed to be used straight from the can. If it was meant to be thinner, that's how we'd supply it! It would, after all, be unfair to supply a product then expect anyone to have to buy something else in order to be able to use it.
I know that many turners habitually thin the sealer, but this is an out-of-date practice. To get the best out of the sealer, don't thin it.
(There are certain situations where it can legitimately be thinned, such as working on very large areas or on very warm days, but 10-20% - with Cellulose Thinners - is all that is needed).

Just waiting for the floodgates to open...
 
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