Controlling color and shade on fancy maple

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Posted this in flintlocks and thought here might be better
I have Jim Kibler’s Colonial 50 cal with his extra fancy maple for the stock on order.
I have seen beautiful examples of this stock finished using Tannic acid and iron nitrite gun stock stain. All are beautiful buy some are quite dark. I am interested in something a bit lighter. Has anyone ever Tru Oiled varnished lacquered etc. a extra fancy unstained or blond stained stock. If so, we’re you happy with the outcome?
 

david58

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I like a reddish tone. What I do is get Minwax Walnut stain, and red mahogany. I will do the first hit or two with walnut, and then follow with the red mahogany. I then sand it back to the darkness/tone I want. Oil is Dembart (from Brownells) - a checkering oil, goes on light, wet sands beautifully, and leaves an exquisite finish.

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To get the same black to light color contrast , in curly maple using controlable color alcohol stains , apply the black alco. stain first. Dry with a heat gun , then using oooo steel wool. Wash the oil out of the steel wool , with 90% rubbing alcohol , and dry. Next , by doing the first color and drying the stock , there are wood whiskers to polish off . After the initial alco. black stain , the wood will appear gray to black. Next the color of orange , or a redish hue can be used. The orange or redish colors can be lightened by adding yellow alco. dye to the orange or red. Try this process on a test piece of maple. Once the second color mix is applied to the stock , again dry with a heat gun , and steel wool again to polish. Add the final finish of your choice With alco. stains you are in charge of the final finish. I buy Fiebing's dyes by the quart from Leather Unlimited , and mix 'em how I want them. Also , alco. dyes make fixing a broken stock , or repair easy....................oldwood
 

Sean E Bug

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I got the same dark finish with aqua fortis. next time I am going to try and dilute it like the instructions say and use tung oil instead of bolied linseed oil. still looks great even when it is dark.
 

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Pilgrim

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I'm a newbie with flintlocks, but I am completing a Kibler SMR with fancy maple wood. I understand from watching Jim's videos that the maple wood controls the final color when using Iron Nitrate. Some of the more experienced may respond more accurately to my understanding.

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TerryC
 
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When I ordered my Colonial, I also asked for a practice piece of fancy maple to test my carving and staining abilities. To that end, I just ordered a sample kit of aniline dye - alcohol based wood stain from Keda Dye stain powder. One shot on their web site sold me on experimenting with these mix and match powdered dyes.
 

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Hi,
There are a gazillion ways to stain maple. If ferric nitrate and tannic acid are too dark, don't use tannic acid. You can use ferric nitrate in different concentrations to get different results. You can use leather dyes, aniline dyes, pine tar, asphaltum, alcohol based dyes on and on and on. The reality is that variation in the wood controls much of the process. You must test stains on scraps of the wood every time regardless of your pet stain method. Also, you can adjust color after staining by tinting the finish as well, which often enhances chatoyance, the shimmering "cat's eye" deep glow in the wood. You have to experiment yourself. With regard to finishes let me first say that linseed oil based finishes were not used in the past because they were superior. They were used because they had little else readily available and linseed oil was well known in antiquity. It is not a particularly good finish with respect to weather resistance. It can be made much better when mixed with copal resin or modern varnish. The guns you see made today using some sort of oil with the dull or low sheen made popular by Scandinavian furniture in the 20th century are historical fantasies except for perhaps some guns made in the very rural southern or mountain regions. Old finishes had at least a satin sheen because they were almost always a mix of some oil with a varnish. Today, we have much better finishes and many can be used to create authentic looking guns and furniture. Tried and True makes a linseed oil varnish mix that is very authentic looking. Tru-Oil is polymerized linseed oil and superior to the boiled linseed oil sold today, which is not the same as historical BLO. Polymerization is a heat treatment that speeds up the drying of the finish immensely. I use polymerized tung oil or polymerized tung oil mixed with urethane. It is tougher and more weather resistant than any linseed oil based finish but I can accurately match the look of almost any historical finish. Permalyn is another finish that mixes synthetic resins and is very tough but it can result in a plastic look if you let it build up too much. The reality is that finishes are more about how you apply them than what they are.

dave
 
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I'll respond by saying , 50+ yrs. ago , I quit using the chemicals that eventually produce a permanently , and mostly black colored stain base . The reaction of the sugars , to strong chemicals , in maple wood , doesn't have to permanently control the end result the stain on a once beautiful piece of wood.
 
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Thanks guys, for your sage advice, as with every other aspect of this sport/love affair, there is much to know!
With my Colonial i ordered a scrap of curly maple to practice on, I also picked up Jim’s aqua fortis stain as well. I figure I can do 2 or 3 side by side experiments. At the moment, I see in my minds eye, a light warm maple stock with darker yellow/orange stripes. Altogether a bit lighter than most.
I want to leave her in “The White” Barrel and lock. In fact I think I might try my hand at polishing both. 400, 800,1500 grit, wet or dry, wet! 8000 then 1400 grit diamond paste, applied with hand or wheel or both! Looking for a hard high shine. I fully understand that such a gun was probably never built. And for any number of logical and financial reasons that made sense. But it could have been done, and it can be done.
I am trying to build art first and performance art (a fine Colonial flintlock) as it’s base time alone will tell if my abilities even approach my ambitions 😃
 
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“Also, you can adjust color after staining by tinting the finish as well, which often enhances chatoyance, the shimmering "cat's eye" deep glow in the wood.”
Dave, I so want that Cat’s eye look! I did order I piece of hopefully comparable stock to practice on. If I can, I hope to do a grid system of some kind and try to apply as many of the ideas posted here as I can! I’ll post the results with pix someday 😕
Thanks again for all the wisdom
 
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Oldwood…

If I can pick your brain a bit? I have read, and reread your post above, and other posts of yours on finishing curly maple. On your post above, you apply black dye first, leaving the stock more or less black gray. Then you talk about 0000 steel wool. Then you discuss applying a red dye.

My question:

Do I remove much of the black dye with alcohol and steel wool, end grain staying darker, before applying the red dye? I think I will do yellow as well?

Second question, you use a heat gun with dyes? Is that an important part of the dying process or a way to speed up things?
 
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Oldwood…

If I can pick your brain a bit? I have read, and reread your post above, and other posts of yours on finishing curly maple. On your post above, you apply black dye first, leaving the stock more or less black gray. Then you talk about 0000 steel wool. Then you discuss applying a red dye.

My question:

Do I remove much of the black dye with alcohol and steel wool, end grain staying darker, before applying the red dye? I think I will do yellow as well?

Second question, you use a heat gun with dyes? Is that an important part of the dying process or a way to speed up things?
I think he washes the steel wool with alcohol to remove any oil, then lets it dry before using.
 
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Thanks 1BadDart, washing out any machine oil from steel wools manufacture, I understand. But then what? Use that steel wool to remove black dye, to reveal grain? And do this with each subsequent color? Or apply subsequent dye colors on top of a kinda black gray stock then knock back down all dye colors at once, or something altogether different?
 
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Shadow walker..............I use the Fiebing's black dye first , to accentuate the curl , dry the dye w/ heat gun/hair dryer , which causes wood whiskers to surface. The oooo steel wool polishes the whiskers off nicely. I mix red and yellow dyes , and that makes a shade of orange. Dye colors once mixed , can be made lighter shades by diluting with 90 % alcohol. Always , Always try the dyes on test curly maple to get the color the way you like it. When you apply the color dye you mixed up , always dry the dye with a heat gun , and polish with steel wool again. Once the final dye coat is dry , the first coat of thin wipe on , wipe off sealer finish , can be applied. Always let the sealer coat dry for about three days , before applying the final finish of your choice Some sealers , don't like final finishes , unless the sealer is completely dry. ..........Hope this helps....................oldwood
 
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