ADVICE NEEDED: getting the right color for ash wood project - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-09-2019, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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Question ADVICE NEEDED: getting the right color for ash wood project

Hello everyone

I recently started woodworking, and for my first project I decided to make a replica of the Elder Wand from Harry Potter series for my girlfriend for Christmas, since she's a fan of HP. I posted the pictures of what I'm trying to mimic and the replica itself. What I'm trying to achieve next is giving the replica the same color and look as the sample has, but none of the wood stains I have can give it the right dark brown color I'm looking for. Also another problem with using wood staining, is that it keeps the texture of the wood itself, which is undesirable in this project as can be seen from the sample. Does anyone have a solution to the problem? I was thinking about simple dark brown paint, but I wanted to make sure it's a good idea. I've also read that in that case I would need to use a primer to make the paint stick to the wood and not chip off with time. Using paint would also solve the problem of figuring out how to make the white spot of the wand (the one with the brown symbols), as I could just paint that one too. Any help or advice even on the further steps is very much appreciated, even about the post itself, since this is my first time posting here!
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-09-2019, 08:35 AM
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Welcome to the forum! Add your location to your profile so it shows in the side panel. You can add your first name to your signature line so we'll know what to call you.

The sample may have been stained, then toned with tinted lacquers, followed glazing, and finally finished with a clear coat. That's how I would do it and the sample doesn't really look like paint.

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post #3 of 7 Old 12-09-2019, 08:51 AM
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welcome to the forum.
although I can appreciate your project, it is pretty hard for anyone
to provide the precise answer you are looking for because we can not
hold the item in our hands.
porosity of the wood may be your challenge, if you do not want to see
the wood grain. there are filling primers on the market that would fill
the grain. but could also kill the carved detail. so it is a trade off of
the end results you are looking for.
you could paint the light colored emblem first, let it dry, then mask it off.
then apply several coats of thinned brown paint until you are satisfied with it.

ADVICE NEEDED: getting the right color for ash wood project-elder_wand.jpg

Edit: I was typing and did not see David's post.
I agree with him. a glazing process would give you the lighter
areas of the wand. (how much use will this wand see ??).

2nd Edit: a quick look on E-Bay for the Elder's Wand indicates
they are made in China. mass produced by the millions. so there
is no way to tell what the finish is or how it was applied.

.

.

.
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-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 12-09-2019 at 09:00 AM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-10-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies!

I have lots of questions regarding the materials and operations you both just mentioned, since I'm almost as beginner as it gets, as well as not being a native English speaker. I'll start with you, David

1) I bought a dark stain, which, judging by its photo, should have given the wood just the right color, but it wasn't dark enough even after 3 covers of stain. But I'll try it again on a smoother surface and come back to it when it's done. While on the topic, can the smoothness of the surface have a grave impact on the wood staining operation? Can it look drastically different, if we stained for example 80-grit and 600-grit sanded wood?
2) Tinted lacquer - is it simply lacquer with added coloring? I tried to search a bit about it, and that's what I got from it. If so, should I use specific lacquer for ash wood, as well as the paint to tint it?
3) Glazing - is it simply applying a wood stain on wood that has already passed other finishing operations, in this case, applying tinted lacquer, or is it something else?
4) And I figure clear coating is simply just to add luster and smoothness to the finished wand.

John

1) The wand will be used purely for aesthetics, possibly just for exposition somewhere in a room later on. And for frowning in front of the mirror, I guess. I'm also making a box for the wand itself, too, so I might post any questions here later on about it.
2) Regarding your comment about the primer killing the carved detail, I assume what you mean is that the primer would fill the cavities of the carved out symbols? Would I be able to solve the problem by simply widening the symbols? Also, would the paint hold on to the wood without applying a primer beforehand? And what could I use to mask it off, any ideas? I doubt duct tape would be an easy job for masking it off. And lastly, what kind of paint is best to use for wood? Water based or other?

I feel I asked a lot of very basic questions, which I generally do not like to waste people's time with, but I'm simply running out of time before Christmas. Once someone's answered my questions I will try to make a procedure plan to finish the wand and I might post it here for final advice. I could of asked a shop consultant these questions, but I assume people in these forums have a better background in woodworking than they do.

EDIT: if you have any other advice you would like to give, regarding the next steps, I will gladly devour all of them, since I know that the fact that this is quite a detailed project for a beginner, and in general, there might be many things I should think through or lookout for.

Last edited by Klaidas; 12-10-2019 at 01:56 PM.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-10-2019, 04:33 PM
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okay, I see your dilemma - if this were my project, I would get a piece of wood
with similar grain smoothness to practice with, in small sections.
yes, small carved details will disappear with a thick primer and paint.
making the details larger will definitely help keep the textured look you are after.
as for not seeing the wood grain, you are just going to have to accept the fact
that ash is a very grainy wood - personally, I like it. if I wanted a plastic look,
I would use plastic. or a different wood such as mahogany that is easier to finish.
no matter how it turns out, your girlfriend will be honored and tickled pink that
you made it for HER - not yourself. and she will never notice any wood grain.

I would use the acrylic tube paint from WalMart, Hobby Lobby, etc.
since this item will not be heavily used, I would use the brown automotive
rusty metal primer because the white will be hard to cover.
once you are satisfied with the tone of the dark brown, start mixing a pinch
of white paint to the degree that you like for the middle sections.
(I am guessing this is like a "worn" area?).
the technique that I am referring to is "Dry Brushing".
google it: "dry brushing with acrylic paint".
there are a few "vague" videos on YouTube.
you may be overthinking this just a little.

.

.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 12-10-2019 at 04:43 PM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-10-2019, 05:08 PM
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Disclaimer: I am not a Potter fan by any stretch of the imagination.
I found this one on Pinterest that probably shows what your expectations are.

a steady hand would not need tape for the white part.
but, you can use any tape you have on hand for a small piece like this.
Dry Brushing or Glazing will give you the look that you are trying to achieve.
another way, and probably the simplest for you, is to apply the lighter
brown paint first. let dry thoroughly. apply the dark brown paint and
gently wipe off the excess between the knobs with a soft cloth to obtain the
worn look that you are after.

ADVICE NEEDED: getting the right color for ash wood project-wand.jpg

ADVICE NEEDED: getting the right color for ash wood project-art-1.jpg

ADVICE NEEDED: getting the right color for ash wood project-art.jpg

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 12-10-2019 at 05:13 PM.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-11-2019, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, all of this was very helpful.

Just like you said, I'll probably just add primer to the whole wand, then cover it with light brown paint, let it dry and apply the darker paint in the areas and wipe it off gently to form a color transition. I assume in this scenario staining is not needed? Although I think I might add it as the first process just so that in the case of the paint and primer being scratched off, the natural look of the wood would remain hidden under the darker stain.

About the white part, I suppose I will have to decide between either just staining it with the right color or painting it, but making wider cavities of the symbols for doing the latter.

Assuming I do the painting method, how should I, and what should I use to finish the wand, if it's possible on a painted surface? Just regular lacquer is fine on the paint, or something else? I think this is one of the last decisions regarding the wand. I'll move on to buying the supplies now and testing everything out on spare ash wood.
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