Custom stain colors

I have been playing around with mixing some of my so strong pigments from smooth-on into various finishes to create custom color stains. With some pleasing results.
But some of the finish pieces would change color after a few days and I was not sure why.

Well I think I figured some of it out.

Here is a good example:

The color was stable well over a week until I left it, in the sun, in the front seat of my car. After only a couple of hours it changed from green / yellow to green-black / orange

Originally I was thinking it was chemical reaction in the pigment. But being that this particular one was so stable until exposed to sunlight (presumably the UV). These same pigments do no exhibit this effect when used with silicone or polyurethane resins (which is what they are made for)

What I find interesting is the “natural” wood seems to be darkening as well. I am thinking it may be something happening in the tung oil finish or paste wax coat I am putting on top?
Maybe they are “Yellowing” causing the change in tint?

I will try to run some tests and see if I can track down which elements are having the UV issues.

Anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? Or know a source for premade colored stains?
I really like being able to create my own color effects, but I need them to be stable. :confused:

What I have found so far…
This seems to work best with a lighter, thirstier wood, like pine.
The effect on darker or denser woods like red oak or mahogany are too subtle to be worth it.

I have been mixing it into Tung oil finish and that seems to work well
I tried mixing into pre stain conditioner and that worked well
I tried just straight turpentine and that worked ok. Though it did not go on as evenly and a lot rubbed off when I added layers of Tung oil finish.

And that seemed to fit with the info I found on-line on making custom wood stain.
It seemed to be: pigment, medium (liquid) and binder. The binder being something that would act as a glue to keep the dried pigment in place.
In the example I found the medium (liquid) was turpentine and the binder was boiled linseed oil or Tung oil finish.

I have not tried the minwax pastels for 2 reasons.
First it is a water based stain and I really don’t like using them, If find oil based to be so much easier to work with.
Second they don’t have premixed colors at my local stores. it is just a blank base that you have them add pigment too at the paint desk. If I am going to be adding pigments to a blank base I might as well do it myself and use the oil base I like.
I guess it is just a mater of finding the right pigments and base. I am sure it exists. I just need to track it down :wink:

Not yet, but I will add that to the tests.

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Thinking back on it some of the projects I stained with minwax Sedona Red and toped with paste wax also darkened significantly.

I suspect that the paste wax may be a major factor. I will try to make up some test swatches of different combinations and see what happens

Already getting some good info:
It looks like Dapwood colors some of their products using a simalr technique (more info here)
So I am on the right track. It just seems to be a mater of finding the right kind of “hard wax oil” (Tung oil / linseed oil) product and pigment combination.

Lol - well it looks like I am re-inventing the wheel here:
Wood dies are a regular thing TransTint being one of the popular ones.
They seem to be mixable with a wider variety of mediums and are presumably UV stable enough. (I saw no complaints)
So worst case I invest in a few of these colors and go from there :wink:

At this point I will be just playing around to see if I can use the pigments I already have on hand successfully. Until I can order up some actual wood-dye pigment and give that a try.

Hmmm or not…
From Joe Woodworker:

Known Incompatibilties
TransTints are incompatible* when added to the following products:
•Oil based varnishes and polyurethanes
• Watco Danish Oil, Minwax Wipe on Poly, Minwax Antique Oil, and similar wipe on oil finishes (excluding gels)
•All oil based liquid stains (excluding oil based gel stains)
•Mineral Spirits
•Tung oil and Linseed oil
•2K (2-component) polyurethane finishes

Maybe this is why I have been having problems?
Or is it more an issue that it won’t dissolve and mix properly?

But there is hope:

  • You can always apply TransTint to the wood, let dry, and then apply these products.

I can give this a try. Apply the tints I have in some denatured alcohol and see how that works out.
OR maybe some water based pre stain conditioner I the alcohol doesn’t go on well?
Then just let it dry well before finishing.

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I kind of like how it looks after being exposed to the light, it looks like and old carving.