Bulk staining tiny pieces of wood? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-21-2017, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Bulk staining tiny pieces of wood?

Okay, so this is going to be a real challenge. I need to stain a bunch of pieces of really small, very processed wood (like these: https://woodcrafter.com/m0295-1-25-i...package-of-10/). When I say a bunch, I mean hundreds and on a regular basis. I need to figure out a way to do this efficiently.

This really isn't something I can do individually to each piece. Instead, I need some kind of bulk process for bunches of pieces at one time. I was thinking some method of dipping, but how do I dry them without them sticking to whatever I lay them down on? I'm also worried about oil and water based stains penetrating such processed wood and sanding each piece by hand is definitely not fast enough. I'm happy to do some prep, but that needs to be done in bulk too. Gel stain seems the best candidate for stain, but I'm not sure dipping will even work with that, even if I do solve the drying problem.

I thought about a spray-on stain, but can't really find any good ones. The quality needs to be passable, but doesn't have to be great. They're intended to be rustic and look handmade.

What do you think? Is it even possible?
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-21-2017, 04:48 PM
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It might be easier to dye them. Arrange the wood in a single layer in a fryer basket, dip them in a tub of dye solution for a set amount of time (you'll have to experiment to find the time that gives you the color you need), take them out to let them dry. Get a few baskets and something to hang them on and you can dye new batches while the wet ones are drying without having to transfer them to another container. Just my two cents. Good luck!
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-21-2017, 08:01 PM
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I would probably use a gallon can of stain and pour about half of it into another container to make space and pour the discs into the can by the handfulls. Then pour the stain and discs into a colander and then dump them into a towel and rub the excess stain off and allow to dry. When you are done be sure to dispose of the towel somewhere outdoors and maybe put water on it. Stain has the potential of spontaneous combustion.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-22-2017, 08:50 AM
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manufacturers of many wooden parts will tumble them in a barrel with the paint, stain, etc... I do not know the process as far as how long, getting them out.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-22-2017, 11:08 PM
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Certainly an interesting dilemma you have. May I ask what your intention is with these? I can't seem to think of a project that requires hundreds of small stained hardwood disks. Makers mark tags maybe? I would have to agree with Nathan Parker and say dipping them in stain while there in some type of mesh basket would be a good plan.

It's not bad to dream. But you also have to consider what's realistic. -All Might (Boku no Hero Academia)
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-23-2017, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, some good ideas, thank you to all. Question: Can I pour stain into a plastic container? Like one of those thick plastic storage containers? Obviously I don't care about ruining it. But I'm definitely thinking the wire basket or some kind of metal cooking apparatus for doing the dipping and doubling as a drying rack. I'm thinking if I can find a storage unit made of wire baskets, I can do a whole bunch at a time and then hang the baskets back in the shelving for drying. Anybody see any flaws with that plan? (Assuming I can find what I need, of course.)

They're going to be game pieces, with one player's pieces stained in a dark color and the other in a light color. Right now, we farm it out, but we can't get the size we really want (we can have 1.5 in. pieces made, but ideally we need 1.25 in. pieces), and they look a little too "mass manufactured" for our taste.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-23-2017, 04:50 PM
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You can use stain in a plastic container but I don't think I would leave it for an extended length of time. Sometimes the solvents will soften plastic but it might take a couple days.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-23-2017, 05:28 PM
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I recently made a toy for my granddaughter and dyed the parts using transtint dyes. I dyed them green, red, blue and yellow by mixing up some dye in a jar with alcohol and just dropped them in. I wanted a vibrant color so I left them in there about 1/2 hour, shaking the jar every few minutes to mix the parts around. Pulled them out, set them on a narrow piece of wood to let them dry. Couldn't have been happier with the results.

Enjoy yourself, life is short
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-24-2017, 06:39 PM
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How about lying them down on cardboard and spraying them? You could fill a Preval sprayer with stain or dye and just hose 'em down.

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