Deep staining of wood without stabilization

Dimy

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Hello! I am new to this forum and from the beginning I would like to say that English is not my native language. Please forgive me for the mistakes I make! I have a few questions and I hope to get an answer from people with good experience in wood stabilization. The main question is, is it possible for a dye to penetrate deeply into wood, but without the use of resin? I am not looking for the effect of polymerization and stabilization of wood. I want to use the highest quality dyes, but can I use water or alcohol instead of resin? I have a vacuum chamber and a two-stage pump with a 15 micron deep vacuum. Thanks in advance to anyone who commented on my questions!
 

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Dimitar, please take a minute, read our rules, then make a post telling us a bit about yourself in the Intro section. Reach out if you need any help or have questions!
 

Sprung

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My dyeing experience has been in stabilization. So my thoughts here are not from getting a deep dye penetration without the stabilization process. But the idea of dyeing something, without stabilization, and the dye being more than surface deep is intriguing. If anything, if the wood ever were to get damaged, then you're not exposing undyed wood underneath it.

If I were to try what you were suggesting, I would consider doing a vacuum process, as you would with stabilization, except with a solvent with the dye mixed in.

But there are challenges to that. Water will boil at room temperature under vacuum, which is not good for a vacuum pump. Also, once it has soaked into the wood, then the challenge is that you need to dry the wood again.

Alcohol could work, and it will be less of a drying problem than water. But that's not good for the vacuum pump either. Plus you're then vaporizing alcohol (and it will evaporate fast under vacuum - and exit out the pump's exhaust) - and that's a fire or explosion hazard.

Another possibility is the long soak, which requires no vacuum, but certainly a long wait time. Mix the dye with alcohol and submerge the wood in it, weighing it down so it doesn't float. Cover the container so the alcohol doesn't evaporate. And then let it soak for some time. Small pieces would probably take days, larger pieces would take longer. You'd have to do test pieces that you can cut into to see how the dye penetrates. The alcohol would cause a lot less issues than water for the soak, and I've heard of people soaking wood in alcohol to dry it as the alcohol will displace the water.

The long soak is probably where I'd start. And I've had some woods - softer woods - that if left to just soak in stabilizing resin, without the use of vacuum, will soak up enough resin to be stabilized.
 

Dimy

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Thanks for your comment, Sprung! I keep reading and thinking about how to put color deep into the wood. I can't put up with it until I find a cheaper alternative to the well-known wood stabilizing resins! As far as I understand, they are all based on methyl methacrylate. I found something that is not very expensive. But I'm not sure if it's appropriate for the purpose and I don't know if I have the right to upload links here?
 
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Tony

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Thanks for your comment, Sprung! I keep reading and thinking about how to put color deep into the wood. I can't put up with it until I find a cheaper alternative to the well-known wood stabilizing resins! As far as I understand, they are all based on methyl methacrylate. I found something that is not very expensive. But I'm not sure if it's appropriate for the purpose and I don't know if I have the right to upload links here?
Yes, you can upload a link.
 

Dimy

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Sprung

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That would be a resin specifically made for casting - not something usable for stabilizing.

I'm not sure what the stabilizing resins run for in the UK, but I imagine there's a mark up from having to ship it in from the US.

Maybe a question to ask is what size pieces are you trying to dye? If you're doing small objects, such as pen blanks, knife blocks, etc, the cost of stabilizing resin on a per item base is not much. If you're aiming to stabilize larger pieces, then it gets expensive to stabilize.
 

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Dima, this resin is not suitable for your purposes. If you want to paint wood without stabilization, then I would advise alcohol, you can use technical, dyes - fat-soluble or alcohol-soluble.
 
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BangleGuy

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Hello! I am new to this forum and from the beginning I would like to say that English is not my native language. Please forgive me for the mistakes I make! I have a few questions and I hope to get an answer from people with good experience in wood stabilization. The main question is, is it possible for a dye to penetrate deeply into wood, but without the use of resin? I am not looking for the effect of polymerization and stabilization of wood. I want to use the highest quality dyes, but can I use water or alcohol instead of resin? I have a vacuum chamber and a two-stage pump with a 15 micron deep vacuum. Thanks in advance to anyone who commented on my questions!
You could try using an autoclave type bagging process where you’d seal the wood in a bag, pull a vacuum for say 30 minutes, close a valve to the vacuum pump and then open a different valve allowing the dye to be pulled into the bag and penetrate the wood. Here’s an article about composite molding for aerospace applications which uses vacuum bags during a heat cure cycle at pressure. Not sure if you can buy the bags or make one with a simple kitchen heat sealer. I agree with what was mentioned above - don’t pull a vacuum on water or alcohol-based fluids for very long, if at all.

 

Karl_TN

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You could try using an autoclave type bagging process where you’d seal the wood in a bag, pull a vacuum for say 30 minutes, close a valve to the vacuum pump and then open a different valve allowing the dye to be pulled into the bag and penetrate the wood. Here’s an article about composite molding for aerospace applications which uses vacuum bags during a heat cure cycle at pressure. Not sure if you can buy the bags or make one with a simple kitchen heat sealer. I agree with what was mentioned above - don’t pull a vacuum on water or alcohol-based fluids for very long, if at all.


Sounds like a great way to save a vacuum pump. Just wondering if you thought this process might also work with a vacuum container vice bag? Seems all you would need is to add a second valve to the vacuum container that could supply enough dye solution to cover the wood. Seems a vacuum bag would use a lot less dye solution than a container, but wonder if there’d be enough of a vacuum in the wood to pull in the full amount of dye solution needed to saturate the wood.
 

BangleGuy

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Sounds like a great way to save a vacuum pump. Just wondering if you thought this process might also work with a vacuum container vice bag? Seems all you would need is to add a second valve to the vacuum container that could supply enough dye solution to cover the wood. Seems a vacuum bag would use a lot less dye solution than a container, but wonder if there’d be enough of a vacuum in the wood to pull in the full amount of dye solution needed to saturate the wood.
You bet. The issue with a chamber could be size and the amount of dye fluid needed to fully submerged the wood. If it takes too much fluid, then I would expect the level of vacuum would be reduced proportionately. Perhaps the vacuum pump could be connnected to a plenum / intermediate chamber to help retain vacuum once the pump valve is closed...
 

Igor

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You can't do without a powerful vacuum pump, otherwise the vacuum depth may not be enough. I tried it in bags, I did not like it, the probability of unpainted areas inside increases.
 
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