Color retention, it’s getting to be an issue , meaning , you apply a dye/stain and all looks good , you go to apply a topcoat , ( brushing/wiping) and color is removed,.
The issue seems to be the lack of binders , or glue to hold the color on the wood, reason being , it has had to be reduced to meet new VOC levels ( understand VOC http://www.parish-supply.com/volatile_organic_compounds.htm)
It is this reduction in binders, or better put “the glue” that bonds the colorants to the wood , stains are worse than dyes, but in water base dyes , the issue is , if its water soluble , water dissolves it, so brushing or wiping a water base top coat you dissolve it and wipe off-color , Alcohol is the same as water , so where in lies the answer.
There are two answers, first and best is to spray the topcoat or mid coat if layering in the color, the finish will bond the colorant , although heavy wet first coats can cause the finish to ” migrate” into the topcoat, second is to mix finish in with the colorant to add “binder”, but then the VOC levels have been exceeded, so what is one to do, the obvious answer is learn to spray , its the solid answer , but many will complain of its expense and lack of knowledge and ability as well as ” a place to do it”, all of these issues can be over come with basic knowledge , and the modern day water base offers the safest products we have ever seen for this purpose, very little products are even being thought of as wipe able or brush-able these days, because with the turbine , as well as inexpensive air compressors as well as gravity fed spray guns ,the wipe/brush is becoming all to antiquated .
Solvent based products as well are having their issues conforming to the VOC’s, products like gel stains , and oils maintain a good base for wipe on products, solvent based topcoats do better in a wiped /brushed environment over water based colorants , which by the way offer the safest and crispest , coloring. All colors need to be thoroughly dry to obtain maximum retention,
So again where is the answer, out side of spraying , I’m not sure at present there is one, but we are looking and testing hard , we will keep you apprised , I have really considered doing a DVD on spraying , that goes beyond the one in A to Z , and more indepth on products available , as well as a lot more technique , but the verdict is still out on it , it would be water base specific, so time will tell…. at present the best color retention we are seeing is a thin coat ( 1/2 lb), cut of dewaxed shellac , but then again , it has to be sprayed…
I wrote this to say one thing, the finishers inability to be able to spray will limit him/her dramatically , and its going to get worse, so if you are half as serious about your finishes as you are your building , you may want to think about stepping you game up a notch , on the other hand if your a natural wood, type, carry on… all is well for you for the time being.