Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Equalizing Walnut Sapwood and Heartwood

I'm making yet another applied frame for a mirror (thankfully this is the last for the foreseeable future!).  This one is made of walnut and needs to match an existing vanity. In this picture, you see the final result of dying, staining, and glazing the profiles.

Thing is, the piece of walnut I used was a scrap in the bin and was loaded with sapwood making even coloring tricky.  (wow! I used a piece of saved scrap!)  Here's how I got the final result.

Something (among many many things) I learned from following Charles Neil is that you can dye a blend of sapwood and heartwood to set the same tone before staining and you'll eliminate the variances.  Now, I've made a couple projects that specifically used the sapwood to artistic ends, but this isn't one.

In this photo, you see a mixed piece of walnut sapwood and heartwood dyed orange with General Finished Orange Dye. If you look carefully, you can make out a sapwood/heartwood boundary swooping down from the top right of the test scrap to the lower left corner.  The orange has equalized it with a warming color.  The two brown patches are tests of General Finished Black Walnut stain.  The boundary is basically gone under the stain.  Note that the black walnut stain seems to be discontinued as I cannot find my can on the site; I got the quart for $1 at a store clearance :)

You can see here how the orange equalized all the frame pieces.  I could stop here, but really, my house isn't decorated à la '70s.

After staining.  Note that I did a bit of 'glazing' while applying the stain.  Mostly I worked off the excess I didn't want with the foam brush and left some on the surface to dry where I wanted to accent the beads and cove.  This isn't true glazing, but similar in effect.  Maybe I'll call it "stazing"!

Now the color really comes out with a couple coats of General Finishes Seal-A-Cell.

Definitely liking the color ...and that this was all scrap walnut and clearance stain :)

 This technique for equalizing the color between the sapwood and heartwood comes up often in Charles Neil's videos.  He has, however, released a 6 DVD set that covers the use of General Finishes water-based dyes and stains on 6 hardwood varieties.  The set is called It's All About The Color and I highly recommend it; you see everything being applied in realtime.

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