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Marcus Bretto

Ground Coloration - Lignosulfonates??

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I’ve been bouncing ideas through my head about the color of aged/oxidized wood and started doing some investigation into wood byproducts when I came across Sodium Lignosulfonate. It’s a byproduct of removing lignin from wood in the paper pulping industry. It is a water soluble powder which can range in color from browns to reds to golds that also has properties as a dye dispersant. Something tells me it could be very good for adding some color to white wood. Any opinions? Thanks!

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On the plus side, it is non-toxic and water soluble, which means it can be safely handled and easily applied.

Since you are considering it as a ground/coloring agent, it is relevant to figure out if it acts as a pigment or a dye. Pigments applied directly to untreated wood can pose various challenges, like uneven absorption causing blotchy patches, reversing grain color and blurring grain detail. Uniform color shading without loss of grain detail is easier with dyes.

The dispersion properties of the chemical might also pose adhesion problems for varnish, especially during periods of high humidity. So you would want to run some aging tests to make sure the varnish will not eventually peel, crack or stain.

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The color was not convincing enough for me to work further on solution strength and application.  This was about 15 years ago so the memory is a bit dim.

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