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Changing IPE wood colour


Mik Kyklo
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Hello! I have made 2 violins and 1 viola bow from IPE wood. I would like to ask if there is any method to change this brown wood colour. I first cleaned it with alcohol (i found that is the only thing that can remove the resin of IPE after heating). After, I tryed potassium hydroxide and it turned to red (red brown). Also tried chlorine that make it brighter, but didn't had enough change. Is there any acid i can use?

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Are you anything it lighter or darker? Nitric acid and water 1:1, with iron shavings or steel wool dissolved may help get a dark brown. I am using that on some very light colored pernambuco.

Are you able to let pics?

Thanks NickIsWorking. I am trying to make it lighter. I already have brown colour from the wood. Potassium turned it to dark red. 

I will try to upload pics.

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1. use A/B industrial/contractor grade wood bleach USE CAUTION VERY CAUSTIC

 

generally this would be a very bad idea as it degrades the lignin and surface fibers,but, it's ipe so its hard as a rock,

 

2. VERY IMPORTANT...ipe has lapachol in it, lots, it is 100 guaranteed finish failure if you apply an oil/turp/mineral spirit varnish based varnish as the sealer...use shellac/alc base as the first finish to touch it...

 

However, to keep things "light" in color, you could put one thin coat of a glue/gelatin wash, this will impart a pale/whitish seal, then follow with blonde wax free shellac....that would be about as light as you can make it imo

 

be careful with the bleach, it AIN'T CLOROX....generally 2 applications are needed, maybe 3...it is generally available at hardware stores, paint shops and hardwood flood supply stores....gloves, eye protection, respirator and long sleeves are a must

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  • 2 weeks later...

I make a lot of bows from IPE. The original colour of the wood is boring so I tried a number of things, not all of them successful. I found the best approach was using analine dye. It is a water base dye that works well on wood and comes in a number of different colours. I sand my stick to 1500 grit and then burnish it with a polished stone. Then I use the dye and follow it up with a light sanding when dry.

I then shellac the stick in the normal way. The shellac will darken the stick so if you want to keep it light just go with a buffing wheel and a hard wax.

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  • 2 weeks later...
hobbyjob i also use analine dyes. Is the best option. And also i mix shellac with analines and it is also great. i mean i use alcochol based dyes, not water based.

 

 

 

 

Bill Yacey I have never used Cocobolo. I clean lapachol not with sandpaper but with alcochol. Then I directly aply shellac to the ipe-wood and i never had problem.
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Oxalic acid will bleach wood but I'm not sure I would use it on instruments.  A solution at room temperature poses no danger so long as you don't drink it.  Too much oxalic acid will stop your heart.  It occurs naturally in vegetables and in high concentrations in rhubarb leaves (which is why they are considered toxic).  You might test a piece of scrap wood.  A hot solution produces toxic fumes.  I use it outside for derusting tools and other iron things.  I use it outside because I mix it with boiling water to get quicker action.  I've inhaled a small amount of the fumes and it is not pleasant.  If you use it for derusting, make sure your objects are washed with soap and water first to get off any oil that might be on them as oil repels the solution.

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