Glen’s Dye Finish Method
Flame or curly birch, tiger maple and other hardwoods with heavy grain embellishments are best finished, in my opinion, using aniline dye. It’s the best finish I know of to highlight any grain characteristics. I used a variety of colors depending on the woods I’m coloring. For any light woods I use a 50/50 mixture of Moser’s golden amber maple and brown walnut dyes.
The process is easy. Sand all the parts to #180 grit. Knock off any sharp corners using #120-grip sandpaper, so the dye better soaks in and so any film finish rolls around the edges – sharp edges inhibit a continuous film from covering the corners.
If the piece has many wide flat surfaces, wet the entire piece using a water-soaked rag. Water raises the grain, so after the surface dries completely we need to sand the surface a second time. And by wetting ahead of the dye, we hope that the grain raises less when the water-based aniline dye is applied. If your project is something else – turned, perhaps – forgo the water-raising step.
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