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Wood color.


Nick Allen

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On 1/28/2023 at 8:59 AM, Don Noon said:

I may take these sample out in the Summer to see if the stronger UV and UVB makes any difference.

Whoops.  I DID put these on an outdoor window sill for more UV exposure a few monhs ago... and then forgot about it until I discovered them today.  They got a lot of sun, as well as a lot of rain from tropical storm Hilary that went through here recently.

Bottom line:  fresh wood gets darker and orange-brown initially, then darkens a little more to a gray-brown. Torrefied wood starts out dark brown, then continues to lighten toward gray-brown with UV exposure.  After a lot of exposure, both end up nearly the same color, with the fresh wood ending up just a slight bit lighter.  It also looks like the grain lines get more contrast.

I have no idea how the rain, condensation, etc. effects things.

2308316monthsoutside.thumb.JPG.7b452ea275112b8fe9643fae2b410745.JPG

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15 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I have no idea how the rain, condensation, etc. effects things.

We know that old wood barns built from untreated wood get a sort of brownish grayish color.
However I don’t know any violin maker who would expose his/her white instruments to a tropical storm for darker color effects.

———————

Your two samples certainly look very similar, but underneath torrified wood is dark and not white. With a little oil on the surface this should become more apparent.

 

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I am experimenting with Manifio’s wood ash solution (weak base, with color from the wood ash itself).  

I have to say this is an amazing wood colorant.  It gives even coloration pretty much no matter how you apply it.  The color is a nice yellow-brown.  It pops the flames but preserves the natural look of the flames - no burning of the flames.

Currently I am testing how it holds up when you have spots of removed glue. (Wiped with water before setting, dried and cleaned with water, etc.)

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1 minute ago, Shunyata said:

I am experimenting with Manifio’s wood ash solution (weak base, with color from the wood ash itself).  

I have to say this is an amazing wood colorant.  It gives even coloration pretty much no matter how you apply it.  The color is a nice yellow-brown.  It pops the flames but preserves the natural look of the flames - no burning of the flames.

Currently I am testing how it holds up when you have spots of removed glue. (Wiped with water before setting, dried and cleaned with water, etc.)

Ash water is an underrated material for this. I save some of my plate cutoffs and other scrap from making for this purpose. The same effect cannot be had from just using a dilute solution of potassium/sodium carbonate, it just isn't as complex. That said, in a pinch these can work as part of a broader color method. 

At the end of the day, there are a lot of ways to get good color in the wood. What you choose will depend on your aesthetic goals, such as whether you're trying to approximate the apparent color of a historical example instrument or just realize a personal preference.

For my own new making, where I do not make any effort to copy historical works, I like to use Roubo or synthetic Roubo, sometimes in concert with a mild basic treatment (whether that be Ash water, ammonia fuming, or similar).

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On 12/30/2022 at 3:24 AM, Bill Merkel said:

You might want to edit that to not be so speciocentric.

This is offensive, speaking as someone who identifies as a quadrupedal cerapod.  :D

The gamboge looks good.  

Those of you using ash water, do you rub the ashes into the wood? or just the alkaline water?  If you make it too strong, it's potash lye, that might not be good for wood.   Where does Manfio talk about this? 

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1 minute ago, MikeC said:

This is offensive, speaking as someone who identifies as a quadrupedal cerapod.  :D

The gamboge looks good.  

Those of you using ash water, do you rub the ashes into the wood? or just the alkaline water?  If you make it too strong, it's potash lye, that might not be good for wood.   Where does Manfio talk about this? 

You just soak ash in water, then allow the ash to settle out after a week or two, and dilute further if needed. The cocktail is much more complex than simple potassium hydroxide (potash lye), and includes carbonates and many more metal compounds than those of potassium alone. Dilute dilute dilute is key. Not sure if/when Manfio discussed this, but it's a technique as old as at least Tang dynasty China.

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12 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Weight or volume? If it were really by weight, it would be a lot of ash compared to water considering the volume, it would seem to me a very concentrated solution.

Agreed, I would be very loathe to use such a concentration. I'd also rather cold steep the ash over a longer period. Adding high heat will have some effect on reactions between the myriad constituent chemicals of the ash water. Whether those changes are beneficial or not is an open question.

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I've been seeing more and more with top-shelf modern work, there are cooked resins and dyes/pigments with some kind of carriers used to supplement wood color. Like shellac, colophony and I've even seen great results with iron oxide pigment nanoparticles. 

There seems to be less concern with historical elements when doing antiqued jobs and copies. 

I'm more interested in antiqued fiddles, and I don't really care to do historical reenactments and cosplay as a renaissance-era craftsman. 

Anybody have any luck with resins or oxides/dyes in the wood with sealers?

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10 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I've just used plate cutoffs, more maple than spruce. It would be interesting to try oak or walnut at some point though, maybe the tannin content would do something interesting 

This is a great way to reduce my scrap wood that I'm clearly getting maladaptively sentimental about. 

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7 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

I will. Would you recommend a particular wood species to burn?

I used hardwood, oak mostly, either from the fireplace or from a firepit in the back yard.

   I don't know what that kind of alkaline solution will do to wood though, long term. 

 I have used it to dissolve linoxin for making varnish but have not gotten to the varnish making phase yet.  

in the old days, folks used it for making soap. Mix the lye with a fat like lard and you get lye soap.  

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Not the greatest picture but you can get a sense of what the wood ash solution is doing for me.  Raw wood at top and treated at bottom.

I wouldn’t get too hung up about the concentration.  The sodium hydroxide content is small and you can dilute to whatever strength you want.  This picture is one coat at full strength.  Additional coats don’t seem to have any visible effect, interestingly.

This was made from fireplace ash… mostly oak with a little maple and ash (tree) mixed in.
IMG_0518.thumb.jpeg.6c1ad1c6ca59f3f7169303b02d14a80a.jpeg

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