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Contrast stain

Mrm1775

Well-known member
#22
I love the way chocolate and buckskin or light tan comes out.
It has also been recommended to me that after the first coat a little rubbing with denatured alcohol will help take some of the color off without sanding- I HAVE NOT TRIED IT THOUGH. I need to try it on scrap to see for myself.
Looking really good.
 

Wooda

Cob Cobbler
Sales
#23
I use chocolate and cordovan for almost everything. I can get about 200 different color combinations from the 5 stains I have, depending on application, sanding, top staining, the finish on the briar.....
What I'm hearing is "keep it simple, and keep experimenting until you know what works"

I will give chocolate a whirl soon.

PS applying stain at 500rpm did not solve the problem of over-penetration, not that anyone was wondering...
 

Maddis

Sales
Sales
#24
What I'm hearing is "keep it simple, and keep experimenting until you know what works"

I will give chocolate a whirl soon.

PS applying stain at 500rpm did not solve the problem of over-penetration, not that anyone was wondering...
Simple is good - although it's easier said than done - I tend to overcomplicate some things.

Are you doing all of your sanding on the lathe? (the rpm reference threw me for a second). That may work - I've never tried it. Most pipemakers end up having to do the final sand by hand in order to get an even contrast. There's just so much variation in penetration. People do it all different ways and I'm no expert. But I do know that getting a good contrast stain takes a lot of attention to detail, and a willingness to touch things up quite a bit. Check out what Love and Sarah Geiger achieve - it's pretty remarkable.

BTW, today I did something I haven't done in several years. I mixed different cuts of a few common dyes I use, labeled them, and sealed em' on a blasted block. It's surprising how much a color can change with being cut, as opposed to mixed. For example, there is very little brown to my eye in Fiebing's "medium brown," especially after more than one coat. For briar it should be called "dark wine red." :hahaha-024:

One other thought - the word "stain" is often used when it's actually dyes that pipemakers tend to use. Dyes act differently - it has to do with how deeply they penetrate and what they do/don't do to the wood. I remember reading an article on the difference early on and it was immediately helpful, although I've forgotten what it said! Haha.
 

Wooda

Cob Cobbler
Sales
#25
Simple is good - although it's easier said than done - I tend to overcomplicate some things.

Are you doing all of your sanding on the lathe? (the rpm reference threw me for a second). That may work - I've never tried it. Most pipemakers end up having to do the final sand by hand in order to get an even contrast. There's just so much variation in penetration. People do it all different ways and I'm no expert. But I do know that getting a good contrast stain takes a lot of attention to detail, and a willingness to touch things up quite a bit. Check out what Love and Sarah Geiger achieve - it's pretty remarkable.

BTW, today I did something I haven't done in several years. I mixed different cuts of a few common dyes I use, labeled them, and sealed em' on a blasted block. It's surprising how much a color can change with being cut, as opposed to mixed. For example, there is very little brown to my eye in Fiebing's "medium brown," especially after more than one coat. For briar it should be called "dark wine red." :hahaha-024:

One other thought - the word "stain" is often used when it's actually dyes that pipemakers tend to use. Dyes act differently - it has to do with how deeply they penetrate and what they do/don't do to the wood. I remember reading an article on the difference early on and it was immediately helpful, although I've forgotten what it said! Haha.
All my finish sanding is by hand. Mostly little circles with the tip of my finger chasing the grain.
With the black dye, my thought was if I applied it to a chucked and spinning Falcob bowl, the heat would flash it before it penetrated. That was not the case.
 

Epoch

Active member
#26
That Fiebing's mahogany is an interesting pigment - I think it must be really narrow band or something because it's SO red in sunlight but looks a much duller light brown indoors - it's like the spectrum of indoor lighting (or at least my indoor lighting) just doesn't make it light up like it does outside (which is gorgeous). Because of that I've been leaning more toward their cordovan as of late. I basically always use yellow as my top stain coat, and if I want it tinted, I'm just less careful about overlapping and picking up the color below it. Standard horse lick of salt though, since my finishes don't look great.
Same on leather work. Florescent lights = dull blackish. Sunlight = beautiful plum. Almost impossible to photograph, too. But really nice in use.
 

RickB

Well-known member
#27
All my finish sanding is by hand. Mostly little circles with the tip of my finger chasing the grain.
With the black dye, my thought was if I applied it to a chucked and spinning Falcob bowl, the heat would flash it before it penetrated. That was not the case.
More penetration is a good thing - that's ultimately what you want (and is why people go to great lengths but doing things like heating their stummels and whatnot assist with it). It's just a matter of being sure that what stays on after you sand is even - but - you know, as I tell my 4 year old, there's a big difference between knowing how something is done, and knowing how to actually do it.
 

Wooda

Cob Cobbler
Sales
#29
I use chocolate and cordovan for almost everything. I can get about 200 different color combinations from the 5 stains I have, depending on application, sanding, top staining, the finish on the briar.....
Cordovan put on full strength, sanded back to reveal poor sanding, re-sanded as needed, cordovan again, sanded back, 2 very light coats of shellac, then buffed.

View attachment 30718
First off, are there two Todds now?

Second, this pic drives home the point for me that the biggest limiter for my finishing is, myself.
I will go practice in the dungeon and come back with a worthy offering.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#31
First off, are there two Todds now?

Second, this pic drives home the point for me that the biggest limiter for my finishing is, myself.
I will go practice in the dungeon and come back with a worthy offering.
Eh, yeah I have two accounts - as a mod I have all priveleges on the board. When we set the board up I made a "dummy" account to test out ordinary user features, it also allowed me to purchase upgrades like a sales account, so I just kept it alive for that purpose.

The other factor to consider in all this is the briar itself. Not every piece is going to finish with big licks of flame or whatever, lots of briar is nicely enough oriented but just... not that interesting in terms of variegated grain when you go to finish it. There's pieces of briar that no amount of sanding will bring out anything interesting except a little bit of streakiness.
 

Sir Saartan

The Tan Saarlander
#33
plus he's just incredibly good at sanding and finishing.
@N_monier_pipes is - in my honest opinion - awesome at sanding and finishing... I haven't really paid much attention
to the staining he's been doing, but maybe I'll have to look a little more closely.

That said, he also seems to be either lucky or extremely good at picking briar blocks with nice grain... what
that guy's shown us for the last couple of months is really impressive.
 

Ernie Q

Well-known member
Sales
#34
This. I find black to be really difficult to work with as a base coat (e.g., it can turn green easily with the wrong top coat). Chocolate is a nice option for a dark base too.
So the old woodworking trick of "Popping the Grain" on figured maple involved adding dye to Zinsser Sanding Sealer (light cut of shellac) slapping it on and sanding it after it dried. Sealer and dye would soak into the grain, and be relatively easy to sand off the rest. Is this do-able with briar? Or no sealer required/desired?
 

Ernie Q

Well-known member
Sales
#35
Simple is good - although it's easier said than done - I tend to overcomplicate some things.

Are you doing all of your sanding on the lathe? (the rpm reference threw me for a second). That may work - I've never tried it. Most pipemakers end up having to do the final sand by hand in order to get an even contrast. There's just so much variation in penetration. People do it all different ways and I'm no expert. But I do know that getting a good contrast stain takes a lot of attention to detail, and a willingness to touch things up quite a bit. Check out what Love and Sarah Geiger achieve - it's pretty remarkable.

BTW, today I did something I haven't done in several years. I mixed different cuts of a few common dyes I use, labeled them, and sealed em' on a blasted block. It's surprising how much a color can change with being cut, as opposed to mixed. For example, there is very little brown to my eye in Fiebing's "medium brown," especially after more than one coat. For briar it should be called "dark wine red." :hahaha-024:

One other thought - the word "stain" is often used when it's actually dyes that pipemakers tend to use. Dyes act differently - it has to do with how deeply they penetrate and what they do/don't do to the wood. I remember reading an article on the difference early on and it was immediately helpful, although I've forgotten what it said! Haha.
Myself, I Kind of like overcomplicating things. Macchiavelli taught me about the "Prudent Archer" who always aims above his target to compensate for variables"....if you aim higher than the standard, you'll always hit the standard. Unless of course things go FUBAR.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#36
So the old woodworking trick of "Popping the Grain" on figured maple involved adding dye to Zinsser Sanding Sealer (light cut of shellac) slapping it on and sanding it after it dried. Sealer and dye would soak into the grain, and be relatively easy to sand off the rest. Is this do-able with briar? Or no sealer required/desired?
Penetration on briar is so limited that there probably isn't much benefit. I have played with reducing penetration on plateau rims (sometimes you see about 1/2" of darker area on the walls of a stained plateau pipe), using linseed and shellac. Briar's funny stuff, it's a bit like staining a rock.
 

Maddis

Sales
Sales
#37
So the old woodworking trick of "Popping the Grain" on figured maple involved adding dye to Zinsser Sanding Sealer (light cut of shellac) slapping it on and sanding it after it dried. Sealer and dye would soak into the grain, and be relatively easy to sand off the rest. Is this do-able with briar? Or no sealer required/desired?
You do need some sort of sealer on briar to keep the dye protected, but it's not serving the same function as a sanding sealer.
 

Maddis

Sales
Sales
#38
Penetration on briar is so limited that there probably isn't much benefit. I have played with reducing penetration on plateau rims (sometimes you see about 1/2" of darker area on the walls of a stained plateau pipe), using linseed and shellac. Briar's funny stuff, it's a bit like staining a rock.
Yep. I've had that happen. So I took to dying the plateaux first and sealing it early in the shaping. Thought I was smart, and all was good until I added dye on the sides and now there's a 1/2'' black streak on the sides. Totally invisible prior - like it was "activated" by the alcohol in the dye or something. Wierd Carp.
 

bluesy

Blissfully Unaware
Staff member
#39
There is also something to be said about getting the appropriate base colors for the contrast your after. I like Cordivan as a base at lower grit for grain that is wider. Tighter grain is often better with USMC Black in my opinion. Sometimes a contrast stain on a grain makes it look worse, in my growing experience, tighter grain responds better to darker base colors and depth from more than one color applied.