grey effect on solid ash

Old 11-17-15, 03:53 PM
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grey effect on solid ash

I am nearing completion on a solid ash bedframe for myself. I prefer ma a a material, but I like how easy it is to finish ash, and wanted , go with a grey finish. Not a weathered grey, but a dedicated grey colour that would be contemporary and still look good years from now. I saw an example of something I liked online and attempted to follow th process but am not getting the same result. It is essentially this:

-rub a black aniline dye onto the wood and let dry. (I used the powdered aniline from Lee Valley)
-apply a coal of sealant (this is the part I think im having problems with)
-wipe on white pickling gel (using minwax white pickling gel) and wipe off immediately, continuing to wipe until desired effect is achieved.

The theory is that after being dyed (not stained) black, the sealer will lock down the wood, but the pores in the grain will still be open. Then you fill those with the gel to get the overall grey effect. The article I looked up used an Old Masters brand sealer, but I am Canadian and can't find anywhere to get it, and am not having much luck finding a similar product. Attached is a picture of the finish I am trying to achieve, and then some of my experiments. Some I like and some not so much, but none of them look like what I set out to do. The only other wood 'sealer' I have not tried is products like deck sealer, but I'm not trying to waterproof the wood, and I don't need to try it to know it will just make the pickling gel bounce right off of the wood.

Does anyone have any similar experiences or advice, or are there and fellow Canadians that can recommend a proper sealer that I can get access to?

Old 11-17-15, 04:32 PM
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Your pic didn't make it. Shellac is often used as a sealer between coats as it is compatible with many materials and dries quickly, so you may want to try that. A 1 lb cut makes a good sealer.

The Old Masters Penetrating sealer is tung oil based, probably a mix of tung oil and mineral spirits with driers and the like. Amazon sells it if you want to try that.
Old 11-18-15, 02:44 AM
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I've never worked with dyes but many sealers will close up the pores of the wood. I wonder if the sealer should have been thinned some ?? What did you use for a sealer?
Old 11-18-15, 06:26 AM
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So what sealer DID you use?
What did you dissolve the aniline in?
Exactly what does the pickling wash label say--I can't find such a gel on their website.

If you used Minwax water-based "white wash pickling stain" over an oily sealer I can see problems developing.

IF there is such a thing as an oil-based GEL white stain then it should probably be applied over a solvent-type sealer like thin shellac or a fast dry sanding sealer. Gel stains don't need to penetrate (they're recommended for steel and fiberglass doors for example) so they can be applied over a totally sealed surface & wiped off or built up to control the final color.

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