In which I do what I’m told and test the colors.

Left to right: Stormageddon (lol), Truffle Brown, Eggplant, Dances with Raisins (stop), Hot Hibiscus, Peach

I got my fiber dyes from Dharma Trading (they don’t pay me or anything; they’re hippies, and if there’s anything that hippies know, it’s tie dye, so I consider them a first class dye source. How do I know they’re hippies? Their Company History page talks about the acid trip that made it all possible) over the weekend! I love getting pretties in the mail, it’s like getting a new toy. I decided to use chopsticks to mix up my dye concentrates (I used 50:50 distilled water and alcohol as a solvent) to get an immediate idea of how the dye would take on wood.

They took to the wood pretty well! The eggplant is really dark, almost black, which is what I want to pop the grain in the maple. I got the Hot Hibiscus and Peach to mix if I needed to lighten anything, but I don’t think I’m going to need them for this project. No worries, I’m already planning on mixing them together to make coral to dye some baskets I have in the bathroom.

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But that cheap white wood isn’t the same as maple, you say. So true, so I asked Mr. Misfit to sand down the inside of a couple of drawers for me to test. Now, he only did an OK job sanding (that’s... a generous assessment), but I got what I needed:

Iridescent!

That’s two layers of Eggplant, each sanded back with 240 grit paper to pop the grain, then topped with Dances with Raisins. Even with the crappy sanding, and the sloppy giterdun dye application, I can tell that it’s gonna work out really well. Now I know how much I need to sand the Eggplant back (more than I did in the test!), and I’m going to cut the DwR with a bit of Eggplant to make it a little bit of a deeper purple, but this is exactly the type of tone I had in mind. The Truffle Brown (no pic, sorry) pulled really, really warm, so I cut it in half with the Stormageddon and it’s perfect now. I’m a happy camper. The dye is a lot more flexible than I thought it would be.

I did identify a few potential problems, though, the biggest of which is that the heartwood takes the dye a lot darker than the sapwood. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to handle this, if it’s even something that needs handling? I think I can control it by sanding the Eggplant layers back more, or maybe I should dilute the dye on those boards? Hmmm.

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I can’t wait to finish this thing.