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Multi-Step Coloring

by Dakota 8. August 2016 14:01

Multi-step Coloring

Mitch Kohanek

A multi-step wood finishing schedule is for custom coloring. Obtaining a visual presentation on wood that goes way beyond “brown and shiny”. Color(s) built on top of color(s) that attracts the customers’ eye.

There are basically only three coloring agents to choose from, one of them being on the exotic side. Those three are pigments (which I refer to as stains) dyes (which are not pigmented) and chemical coloring. Chemical coloring, sometimes called “reactive” coloring is the exotic coloring agent is not widely used. The use of chemical “reactive” coloring is to create colors dyes and pigments can’t. The chemicals used will react the woods chemistry such as the tannin's. Since it is a chemical reaction the color presentation is not as predictable as using dyes and stains.

Dyes by nature penetrate into the woods structure. Consider them “molecules” of color. The solvent of the dye dictates how deep it penetrates into the wood. The first use of a dye in the coloring process is to change the base color of the wood. Poplar wood is naturally a light tan (sapwood) and a greenish heartwood. A green dye used as the base color and a “reddish” dye on top of that can produce a warm brown hue.

Pigments by nature lay on top of the wood shifting the colors of the large and small pores. It can be a great advantage to have dyes and stains (pigments) that have the correct chemistry so that they can be mixed together and then applied.

Glazes are normally pigmented coloring agents that are applied on top of a coating. Reasons for using glazes are for accented coloring in the recessed areas of the object. They also can create a depth of color even though there can be a loss of transparency.

Toners are made by putting color into the coating before you apply the coating. If you understand the color wheel, toners can be made to correct colors that are already applied to the object. Toners can lay down a “blanket” of color on the entire piece or selective areas. They can hone in sapwood to heartwood or correct the entire object if the color is not the correct hue.

So a finishing schedule may look like this.

Walnut substrate

1. Dyed yellow

2. Stained burnt umber

3. Sealed

4. Scuff sand

5. Glazed raw umber (cools the color and color strikes the larger pores a darker color)

6. Topcoated

7. Scuff sand

8. Amber toner

9. Topcoat without exceeding the recommended dry mil thickness

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Layering Color

by Dakota 8. August 2016 13:32

Layering Color

Mitch Kohanek

When you have damage to the object that includes the loss of the substrate and color, you have a variety of choices of materials to fill the void. These different filling materials come in a wide range of colors to assist you in establishing the background color you need. 

For some repairs, the correct color of filler and a couple of grain lines is all you might need. For repairs requiring more detail, it is going to be more important to concentrate on the colors that go on top of the filled area. The more you understand color, the fewer repair sticks and the fewer powders you actually need. 

Hue is another name for color. If you are able to identify earth tone colors, you would say that the object has a warm burnt umber hue shaded with raw umber hue. If no color name comes to mind, you would begin by identifying the color as having a "warm" or "cool" hue. Warm hues are an orange or reddish hue while cool colors are a greenish or blue hue.

When trying to reestablish color on the repair, if mixing colors together does not work, you will need to layer a color on top of a color. 

Layering thin layers of color on top of the fill allows you to have more color control. An example would be layering your colors from warm to cool. Establishing a yellow background of dye or pigment on the filled area, followed by a warm brown such as burnt umber will create a "brown" you can't make by mixing the two together. A light layer of green, such as raw umber on top of that color will "cool" that color. 

Once you learn how to layer your colors, the color of the filler material is not as critical. 

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