Another colouring class

Sunday class with finished projects

This past weekend I hosted eight students from the Fraser Valley Wood Turners Guild; four on Saturday and four on Sunday. As they say, a good time was had by all. We covered various ways of altering the colour of wood: dyes, lime/tint waxes, chemical treatments and faux finishes.

The class was mainly hands-on but we started with a power point presentation of several pieces representing many of the main methods and subtle twists used to create  the more unusual pieces.  After that, many test pieces were used to practice all the various ways in which dye can be applied as well as a day-long project applying lime wax properly. Probably the most important thing learned by all was the extent of preparation of a piece that is required. Everyone brought a previously turned piece prepared for colouring, so time was spent doing a little more sanding than was expected. Flaws are magnified exponentially by dye and liming, so we had lots of fun sanding tools marks and tear out. 🙂 Lunch was included so that made up for the extra work. 🙂

So this is what ring-porous wood looks like.

The main focus was on the use of dyes because that is where the most interest lies. We covered using a single colour and combining multiple colours – all on figured wood to enhance the shapes of the various types of figure. There was also considerable interest in lime waxing. This is one process that is greatly misunderstood so the record was set straight for a few folks. The use of ferrous sulphate and ammonia-fuming to ebonize woods containing tannin was something that most had never heard of or at least never seen before. To understand how to colour wood one must understand a lot about the methods, but also about wood itself. That was a surprise to some.

All in all, I think everyone’s ability to take their work to another level was greatly improved, which makes me very happy. One fellow from my previous class has progressed beyond all expectations. In fact, the student has become the teacher. Nothing could make me more happy than to be a catalyst in the progression in any turner’s journey.

As always, all comments appreciated.

About Ed Pretty

I am a professional woodturner, specializing in gallery work, commercial work, teaching and demonstrating. I have been turning since 1958, so... a long time. I use this site to present my work to the public at large and to let people know that I am available for teaching private lessons in woodturning. Wood turning is one of my passions (the other is motorcycle touring). It is my desire to pass on everything that I have learned over the years to others so that the craft of woodturning will grow.
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