Water Base Stains /Dyes… An issue To Be Dealt With

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.

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12 Responses to Water Base Stains /Dyes… An issue To Be Dealt With

  1. Monte West says:

    The game is which way to go when you spray. Do you buy a turbine, what price, or do you use the existing air in the shop? The next question for me when you use air, is how much should you pay for a spray gun, what kind, which one performs the best, that would make you happy with the results? I know with wood working that you get better with experience, but how do you get better at spraying? You have a spray booth, but most of us don’t have one, what do we do? All these questions come to me every time I think about spraying. I stop and continue wiping and brushing.

  2. I agree Monte, but I remember well when I didnt have a spray booth, so we improvised and got good at it, drapped plastic, did 2×2 frames and covered them with sheets , would wet them down to act as filters, used a couple window fans , wasnt fancy , and tucked away when not in use, worked well, as well today the spray guns have come way down in price,as well as the turbines , so all of that said, since I wrote this blog, Sherri and I have talked, guess we need to do the video, down and dirty , just give all the cheap low down, good ways to get it done… what ya think

  3. Ben says:

    The spraying video would be great. I sprung for an Earlex 5000 a month ago because I decided it was time, but the only place I have to spray right now is the garage or outdoors. I’ve been thinking a pvc frame and Visqueen for a spay booth, not too worried about VOC’s cause I’m only using GF WB stuff, but anything to keep from re-inventing the wheel is great. Looking forward to more instruction.

  4. I built a down-draft table using plywood and stacked furnace filters and a direct drive furnace motor for water based spraying only in the winter. For now, I just let it move the air in the basement. I am looking for a wire flex pipe to vent the air out the basement window. This will help keep the sawdust from blowing around. Large projects fire up the propane heater in the winter and spray in the garage.


  5. bob says:

    just remember to wear a mask when spraying water base. It still contains chemicals.

  6. I have an idea… it involves using a small floor dust collector, 2 filter boxes, basically make a make shift room, 2×2 ‘s , pvc slip together and sheets, draw air from one filter box, which will pick up the solids , then return it back thru another filter box , it gives the positive air flow ,the question is will it filter enough , working on it …the thing i like about the idea is we can put a small heater in the inlet box, and since the air is recycling , no heat is lost , not sure yet… but plan to get some PVC ,and furnace filters, over the weekend, and try it out in the home shop… will also check with Todd at Gemini , they have filters for this type of thing…

  7. the more i think on this just venting it out a window like Ace is talking about would do well , a simple 4″ hose running from a DC to a open door or window.. the issue would be pumping an equal amount of air into the enclosure , this is a major issue to get clean finishes, what you want is to finish in a balloon ( positive air) instead of a vacuum ( negative air), negative air will cause you to suck every thing in the world right into your finish, if the room is pressurized , when you enter /exit the air pushes out, forcing airborne contaminates away from your work … we will think on this more

  8. What I like is the heating and cooling motors can be purchased for about 45.00 used. Check with your local heating and cooling guys in your town. They move a ton of air. The portable dust collectors are $$$

    In the basement workshop getting into all the pressurized enclosure stuff with plastic and bed sheets, I’m not sure?

    With a down draft table. Its pulling the air that is in the room yes. A few feet away, I have bed sheets hung to collect some of the over-spray. In addition I run my shop air cleaner. My problem is the exhaust or cleaned air is dumped on the floor. I need to pipe that air out off the floor. Water-based dries fast like a solvent lacquer so for me, haven’t had a real issue with surface contamination in my setup.

    Here is a pic of my table.


    This is what I do and is not a recommendation in anyway for others to do in their workshops


  9. Monte West says:

    Good, you and I are on the same page. Yes, a good DVD on sprayers, brands, Air type, turbine types etc. How much do you use With air guns. Do you need extra filters on the air to stop the water and trash?
    You have shown in several DVD’s you spraying items. We need the little tips on spraying. What to look out for. How to stop runs, drops, dirt and still get good coverage.
    Some ideas on booths. Types of filters would be helpful. For years I used the filters that look like spun glass. I stopped and have gone to the folded paper filters in the shop. They do a lot better job.
    Heat is important when you are spraying. Need ideas on how to do this safely.
    Lighting- How much, type, shadows, Where to locate the light?
    How to thin the product. Clean up- All of us dislike to do it. Tips on cleaning equipment.
    Does this give you any more information on what I need and probable others need.

  10. oh yes Monte , this is exactly what I want…

    Ace the table is a good idea,I have used similar for show demos, had filters in the bottom, to catch the overspray… a great Idea

  11. Like the General Finish one as seen here


  12. Thomas Tieffenbacher says:

    Have seen a professional set up heavy cardboard in a funnel fashion, with filters and a good box fan with exhaust eithe rout the garage door in summer or out the window in cooler times. Pretty inexpensive? cardboard went together with velcro and seperated for storage.

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