Wood penetration - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-20-2018, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Wood penetration

Hey folks,
How do people rate things in terms of penetration, in particular, oil vs water-based, water- vs alcohol-dissolved dyes, boiled linseed vs tung oil, BLO with shellac vs. BLO with polyurethane?
Also, the same question now in terms of blotchiness, all other factors being equal. For example, if a water-based dye was formulated similar in color as BLO, would it blotch more?
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-21-2018, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondy View Post
Hey folks,
How do people rate things in terms of penetration, in particular, oil vs water-based, water- vs alcohol-dissolved dyes, boiled linseed vs tung oil, BLO with shellac vs. BLO with polyurethane?
Also, the same question now in terms of blotchiness, all other factors being equal. For example, if a water-based dye was formulated similar in color as BLO, would it blotch more?
Assuming you mean oil stain vs water based an oil based stain will penetrate the wood much more than a water based stain. There is just a lot of different finishing products needed because each has their own characteristics so if the project needs to be a deep rich color you use an oil stain. If a more bland pastel look is desired you use a water based stain. The same is true with alcohol and water based dyes. In addition water based products take a lot of additional labor to put a finish over the top because the water in it raises the grain. It takes a lot more coats and a lot more sanding between coats to achieve the same finish as their solvent base counterpart. Linseed oil and tung oil works pretty much the same with the exception of drying time. Where linseed oil might take a few hours to dry enough to put a finish over the top tung oil might take a week. Tung oil is very slow drying however is completely waterproof where linseed oil can easily be damaged by water.

While mixing BLO with shellac can be done to make it easier for application by hand it doesn't work very well as a finish. The BLO in the finish will darken and yellow with age. Then it greatly increases the drying time between coats because the shellac dries almost immediately where the BLO takes hours. Personally I wouldn't do it.

A finish is a mixture of hardening oils and thinner. BLO is a natural hardening oil used in stains and varnishes including polyurethane. Polyurethane is a mixture of plastic resins, urethane resins, BLO and sometimes tung oil. By adding BLO to polyurethane you are increasing the ratio of the BLO hardening oil making for a weaker finish. It's the plastic resins that makes polyurethane special. Even in the name, the "poly" is short for Polymer. It was probably called Polymer Urethane at one time and then combined.

I don't understand what you mean by "For example, if a water-based dye was formulated similar in color as BLO, would it blotch more?" BLO is a clear substance, you are not going to mix anything to match the color of clear. Blotching is caused by the softer areas of the wood absorbing more pigment than the harder areas. The way to control blotching is with a sealer. When you apply a thin sealer the softer portions of the wood will absorb more of the sealer than the harder areas making the surface more uniform. Therefore when you apply a stain the penetration of pigment is more uniform. Another characteristic of alcohol based aniline dyes is they tend to stain more uniform. Since it is sprayed on it limits the amount of pigment applied. The wood can't absorb more pigment if it isn't there. This is something not possible with other stain.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-21-2018, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reply! My experience with BLO is it does impart an amber color to the wood. In fact, I soaked an axe handle in BLO and wrapped it up next to my fire place, repeating it several times to develop the wood and it ended up being a rich-dark orange, I want to say it was a hickory handle, but it's been so long I cannot remember. So, I meant to match the color to the final color of the BLO-treated wood.

As far as analine dyes, I have most definitely rubbed them on. I have attached an image of a piece that I stained using this method.

So, if I dissolved the analine dye in rubbing alcohol, would it soak into the wood more and deeper than water? The alcohol has less surface tension, so it seems to make sense that it would move through the grain quicker, but it also evaporates far faster. I'm curious of the two, which would have a tendancy to blotch more. Lastly, you're comment about the analine dye blotching less was in the context of it being sprayed. I wonder, would feel it would still blotch less than oil if it were to be wiped on?

I am aware of preconditioner, but I am still curious about how different products react differently with the wood.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-22-2018, 12:29 AM
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BLO is the reasons oil based finishes have a reputation of turning yellow. While the yellow is very minor initially it will yellow more and more as it ages.

The alcohol based aniline dye is intended to be sprayed at low pressure. When you spray a dye on you deliver a measured amount of dye to the surface. Since there is a limit to the dye it can't really absorb more and blotch. If someone were to wipe it they would have to thin it quite a bit and apply it fast or too much of it will penetrate and more likely to blotch. The solvents would evaporate so fast it doesn't give you much open time. Denatured alcohol is the correct solvent for dyes, not rubbing alcohol.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-22-2018, 12:08 PM
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Every one of them will be different, depending upon which wood is used.
Wood anatomy is like fingerprints. Half a match-stick is enough to nail them to species.
Troptical hardwoods are a nightmare but anything from North America and Europe

might take 10 minutes of fiddle to figure out.


I have about 300 species as microscope slides (radial, transverse and tangential sections) in my collection.



Becasue the anatomy is diffferent, the rate and the distance of penetration will be a little different.
The three common alcohols are different sizes and have different dissolving properties as well.


Methanol, ethanol and propanol have 1, 2 and 3 carbon atoms respectively.
Methanol might be OK, propanol is never used for wood anatomy staining processes.
Ethanol is the laboratory standard, maybe laced with crap like Jet B to render it undrinkable.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-23-2018, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
Every one of them will be different, depending upon which wood is used.
Wood anatomy is like fingerprints. Half a match-stick is enough to nail them to species.
Troptical hardwoods are a nightmare but anything from North America and Europe

might take 10 minutes of fiddle to figure out.


I have about 300 species as microscope slides (radial, transverse and tangential sections) in my collection.



Becasue the anatomy is diffferent, the rate and the distance of penetration will be a little different.
The three common alcohols are different sizes and have different dissolving properties as well.


Methanol, ethanol and propanol have 1, 2 and 3 carbon atoms respectively.
Methanol might be OK, propanol is never used for wood anatomy staining processes.
Ethanol is the laboratory standard, maybe laced with crap like Jet B to render it undrinkable.

Sounds very interesting to have different slides of wood! I understand that the rate of absorption will be different comparing different woods, but that wasn't my question. I wanted to know what the results are of using different solvents and water as a carrier, not how different woods have different rates of absorption. On the one hand, alcohols have less surface tension, so they would be more likely to pass through holes or pores, much like if you have ever pipetted alcohol, it tends to be drippy while water stays well inside of the pipette tip. However, alcohol also evaporates quicker (and different alcohols also have different evaporation rates), so that water would have more penetration time. As such, what do these confounding factors have on the net result of penetration.

I understand what the two of you mean by a proper solvent; however, that doesn't mean that isopropanol is never used. Isopropanol is one of the three commonly available alcohols. While it can dissolve shellac 100%, it's true that ethanol is the best to use. However, isopropanol is added sometimes to increase the application times (Flexner, Understanding Wood Finishing). Moreover, it can definitely be used to dissolve some water-soluble dyes and there are numerous examples of people using them because it is what they have on hand with amazing results. I wouldn't tell the that they did it wrong.

So, since methyl ethyl, propyl, and butyl alcohols ALL work, I am curious about their properties when using them to apply stains as well as how different oils may function.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-23-2018, 09:35 PM
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In addition to solubility as a vehicle, a carrier, consider then the propensity for binding and penetration.


Does Flexner care about food safe finishes for woods? n-propanol?, iso propanol? Not in my kitchen.

Any butanol (4C) stinks and is toxic to humans.
Methanol is dehydrogenated to formaldehyde. (Some sort of NAD-linked dehydrogenase.)


I'd stick to ethanol if I had to use a solvent. We used I don't know how much 95% for staining wood sections.
Saffranin O, Orange G, Fast Green = the standard botanical stains. Predictable lush binding and differential contrast.



Raw meat jiuces are very much hydrophylic so a hydrophobic treatment of the wood is useful = edible oil.
I carved and sold 70 spoons and 30 forks from Birch.
I baked in an olive oil finish which cannot be removed below 350F.= wood cooker!


Build the block. Pour boiling veg oil on the block and spread with the standard silicone types of basting brushes.


Or, do much the same with heated wood and melted bee's wax = that won't ever come off.
I've carved and finished dishes that way.


Have fun with it.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-24-2018, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
[...] Or, do much the same with heated wood and melted bee's wax = that won't ever come off.
I've carved and finished dishes that way. Have fun with it.
Can you recommend a good online source for beeswax?
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-24-2018, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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As a matter of fact, he does consider food safety on page 76 and 186. Therein, he describes how it is a myth. That once cured, all finishes are food safe. That is why MSDS sheets, a document required by the government to list all hazardous or toxic effects of a product, gives no such warnings for such issues. Moreover, the FDA lists all common drying compounds as safe for food contact as long as the finish has cured.
Additionally, the amount of methanol in a finish is minuscule and the fact that it evaporates away and is no longer present, means you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. He also discusses how some people like the mountain, because it makes for selling their own products at the expense of spreading misinformation and misleading the public by discouraging buying other's great products since they aren't made from their special homebrew sauce like olive oil.

The finish is not only dry, but it is durable, which means that you aren't eating the finish in any appreciable amount. Even if you ate the whole bowl after curing, you still wouldn’t get acute methanol poisoning and methanol doesn't bioaccumulate.

Are you aware that formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance produced in plants, bacteria, fungi, and animals? For example, an average bottle of red wine has 250 mg of methanol (Hodson et al., 2017). You seemed awfully worried about it breaking down into formaldehyde, but did you know that formaldehyde is produced naturally in the human body to the tune of about 50 ml/day (American Chemistry Council, 2017) and it doesn’t accumulate and is naturally cleared from the body?! In other words, the methanol and formaldehyde that you are so concerned about in your kitchen is coming from you and your food products, not your finishes. It is equivalent of being afraid that you might drown in a dried riverbed.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-24-2018, 01:27 PM
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Missed the point, pondy. I was referring to the technology of the finishes in application.
Ethanol is the better vehicle/carrier. At least for stained wood slides, it was.
I did use those short chain alcohols including both n-butanol and t-butanol.



Cured finishes are Food Safe because they are required to be so. That's a given.
Butcher-Block Finish is often recommended for some reason.



What happens next year and the year after is all as you say.
I should learn your next metabolic step for your home-grown formaldehyde.
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post #11 of 14 Old 10-24-2018, 01:35 PM
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Beeswax: I do not know of any convenient online source.
Might be too late in the season but I have shopped for beeswax in small village farmer's markets.
Usually the people selling local honey have some beeswax or know who has some.


After coating, I baked the birch dish for 5+ minutes at 325F to use Charles' Law for maximum penetration.
Beyond that time, the wood begins to cook and brown a little!
The oil treated 70 spoons and 30 forks were baked for 3 min 30 sec at most.

.
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-24-2018, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
Missed the point, pondy. I was referring to the technology of the finishes in application.
Ethanol is the better vehicle/carrier. At least for stained wood slides, it was.
I did use those short chain alcohols including both n-butanol and t-butanol.



Cured finishes are Food Safe because they are required to be so. That's a given.
Butcher-Block Finish is often recommended for some reason.



What happens next year and the year after is all as you say.
I should learn your next metabolic step for your home-grown formaldehyde.
Thanks for clarification. Why did you find ethanol to be a better carrier? How did it compare to methanol?
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-24-2018, 07:26 PM
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Long time ago.
In the prep stages, the stain-stuffs, the pigments such as Saffrainin O dissolved more readily in EtOH and there was less sedimentation.
Some sort of flocculant that always settled in a methanol base, like it all would not simply dissolve. Fast Green FCF, Methylene Blue and Toluidine Blue all did the same thing.



No increase/decrease with time, just there from the start. The precip, whatever it was, would stick to the wood sections during the stain time and would not rinse out in a dehydration series of good EtOH. What that all was who knows but it just looked crude.


In the histology, EtOH "let go" of the stains faster. Trying to get a good, bright contrast, the MeOH based stains took some 2X longer.


I'm guessing now: I suspect that the molecular size had a lot to do with the hydrogen binding strengths ( Van der Waal's forces?)


All bets are off if you get stuck with denatured EtOH. Every supply order seemed to be laced with something different.
Saffrainin O , as you probably know, is a bright red on plant cell wall. With denatured EtOH, it was at the blue end of purple.
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-30-2018, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Long time ago.
In the prep stages, the stain-stuffs, the pigments such as Saffrainin O dissolved more readily in EtOH and there was less sedimentation.
Some sort of flocculant that always settled in a methanol base, like it all would not simply dissolve. Fast Green FCF, Methylene Blue and Toluidine Blue all did the same thing.



No increase/decrease with time, just there from the start. The precip, whatever it was, would stick to the wood sections during the stain time and would not rinse out in a dehydration series of good EtOH. What that all was who knows but it just looked crude.


In the histology, EtOH "let go" of the stains faster. Trying to get a good, bright contrast, the MeOH based stains took some 2X longer.


I'm guessing now: I suspect that the molecular size had a lot to do with the hydrogen binding strengths ( Van der Waal's forces?)


All bets are off if you get stuck with denatured EtOH. Every supply order seemed to be laced with something different.
Saffrainin O , as you probably know, is a bright red on plant cell wall. With denatured EtOH, it was at the blue end of purple.

I don't do any wood slide staining. In fact, I don't work with eukaryotes much and when I do, they are single-celled so I don't do tissue staining. Sounds to me like the Safranin O has a strong hypsochromic shift. I wonder if it would be a brighter red in isopropanol, which is even more polar than ethanol. The size of the solvent is infinitesimal compared to the medium and should not play a role in the amount of penetration. Short chain alcohols quickly pass through cell walls, that's why cells that produce alcohol have no transporters specific to them. There's just simply no value in it as they slip right through. However, things like surface tension, viscosity, absorption and adsorption, and affinity to the medium may play a role in the rate of penetration as well as the solubility of the dye. Like a mass spec column, I would imagine that the amount of interaction with the medium will affect the rate of movement.

Would be of some value to know better these properties, instead of having most of the information based on personal experience and subjective results.

Good stuff! I haven't ever noticed a difference in color with my analine dyes from one solvent to another, but maybe I should be paying more close attention.
Thanks for the reply
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