Pigment Stain vs. Dye Stain from Woodweb.com
This thread began with a woodworker who was figuring out whether pigment stains or dye stains would better achieve the look he was going for. - Editor
"What are you guys' take on pigment stains vs. dye stains? I know that some stains use both. I am trying to figure out when to use which one to get the final colors I am trying to match." - Dan C.
Answers, not suprisingly, were variations on "it depends," with other woodworkers encouraging the first to do some experiments. - Editor
"Lots of variables to take in consideration when using dyes or pigment stains. Most common is to dye the wood first, then apply pigment. Not all woods benefit from dye stains. The choice is yours by experimenting and developing sample boards." - Robert J.
"Pigment stains have very, very finely ground solids in them, and as such, are more likely to obscure grain. That doesn't mean that they necessarily WILL obscure grain, just that multiple coats CAN obscure the grain. Dyes, on the other hand (which can be sold in either powder or liquid form), once properly dissolved in water, alcohol, or other solvent, are completely liquid and are translucent when applied. The dye is sealed, and a subsequent coat(s) of the same or a different shade of dye stain can be applied without ending up with a 'muddy' look. If you apply multiple coats of pigment stains you can end up with a muddied look, in addition to obscured grain. For this reason, obtaining the right color is often (if not usually) a multi-step process. The base color is established with an application of dye stain (or stains), which are then sealed. Then pigment stains can be applied to get you to (or close to) the final color. Once sealed, this color can then be finished, or tweaked with toners and/or glazes." - Bob B.
And a couple of responses revealed their bias toward dyes -- and why. - Editor
"It really depends on your skill level and the look you are trying to achieve. There are some finishes that simply cannot be duplicated without using one or the other...or a combination of both. One big advantage to dyes is you are not limited in the number of coats that can be applied, at least theoretically speaking. A properly reduced and sprayed dye can be built up, coat after coat, and not obscure the grain, whereas the much larger size of the colorant in pigment stains will muddy the grain quickly if too much is left on the surface, as well as causing drying and adhesion problems. Dyes are great for making figured woods pop and building deep, dark colors without having to leave excess pigment stain on the wood. Pigment stains are better at ticking and coloring the pores of the wood and generally require less skill to use than dyes." - Jeff
"The other thing that dyes will do: create that golden highlight that nothing else will. An amber shade can come close sometimes, but an aniline dye is magical. Oil-borne aniline dyes are more light-fast (resistant to sunfade). Alcohol-based anilines must be sprayed because they dry almost instantly, and you cannot see how it will look until it is coated with sealer, or another clearcoat of your choice, so your sample testing is critical. The other guy is correct -- dye first, then build your color on that in translucent steps. Oil-based paste wood filler (aka pore filler) is an essential but often overlooked step in the process. It comes as thick as axle grease, and must be reduced with mineral spirits. Note: I am old school, and will not use anything but an oil-based [paste woodfiller]." - Richard B.
Project Plans for a Self-Conceived Project from Sawmill Creek
The question that began this thread came from a woodworker designing his own project -- who was trying to determine the best method of making that design. - Editor
"What do you use to develop working drawings for projects you conceived yourself? I have a closet system I want to build and want to make drawings to develop the look and dimensions of the components. I do not need 3D drawings. Do you use CAD software or the good old drawing board and T-Square route? I am asking because I am struggling with SketchUp." - George B.
Several responses included suggestions for SketchUp tutorials - while acknowledging that the program has a learning curve that can be a struggle. - Editor
"I use SketchUp. Have you tried the SketchUp for Wookworkers tutorials? It was the quick start I needed. http://sketchupforwoodworkers.com/" - Mark C.
"I use Visio, but I'm probably an oddball. I like it because I can easily make orthographic projections to scale and add dimensions, which is what I use to build from. Like you, I've tried SketchUp and haven't got comfortable with it yet. But I can see that it would be a very powerful tool. I'm just not there yet." - Charlie B.
"I first struggled with Sketchup also, and fully find the struggling part true, but fortunately that changed! However, I now use it exclusively to design my furniture and projects. I found an excellent set of video tutorials on a woodworker's site, Chief Woodworker'sBlog. I love the ability to generate dimensioned drawings so quickly and easily after the design is finished. I learned just how versatile and powerful this tool can be when used as shown. I used to use AutoSketch 2D, but SketchUp is so much more useful for my needs." - Dick M.
"I use Visio for some things and SketchUp for most everything else. SketchUp is not fun to start with:it takes a while, but then it turns in to great fun. I installed SketchUp and after about a hour uninstalled it, then I installed it again and after about two hours I uninstalled it, I just didn't get it. Then I watched some videos from SketchUp for dummies (http://www.aidanchopra.com/web-content), and that helped a lot. Then I watched some videos for woodworkers (http://sketchupforwoodworkers.com) and a few others on YouTube, and now I really like it. Don't give up on it, work on it for a while and then leave it and come back and work some more. To me the biggest thing is learning to make groups and moving them to were you want them." - Bill H.
And this woodworker indicated that it's a matter of the correct mindset. - Editor
"There comes a moment when learning SketchUp where the 3D space of your drawing kind of pops into reality on your monitor. Getting past the 2D mindset was the key for me. I knew that one object was in front of and to the left of another, but I didn't treat it that way. I treated it like a pencil and paper rendering of a 3D object; doesn't work well. Embrace "the space."- Glenn B.