I am looking to dye a new Laminate Birch stock from Ironwood Designs a nice, full red, like the picture below. I have seen from google that it just takes some alcohol and various mixtures of RIT dye? But some peoples instructions vary compared to others. What I'm also wondering is once it is dyed, what do I coat it with for a nice, gloss finish? If anyone has experience/pics that would be great too.
Here's the color I want:
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September 2, 2009, 09:43 AM
There's probably not one precise set of instructions. I've done the same thing to a Mosin and was very happy with the results. RIT dyes are exactly what I used. Scarlett red and brown were the two colors I used. Alcohol is used basically to dilute the mixture because the dyes are a thicker liquid. Start out by pouring the scarlett red in a cup. Mix it with just a small amount of alcohol so that it's not so thick. Then start adding small amounts of the brown until you get the desired color. Remember to not add too much brown. You can always add more, but you can't take away if you've added too much. The alcohol just makes it easier to apply. Once you brush it on your stock, the alcohol will evaporate and leave the mixture. If you want a really red color, don't add much brown. But remember that the stock isn't like white paper. What I mean by that is the color of your mixture in the cup probably won't look the same once you apply it to your stock, because you're stock isn't white. Make a little mixture and give it a small try on your stock. You can then sand it off if you don't like the color, or if it's lighter than you want, you can leave it and apply over it once you darken up your mixture. Because these dyes aren't like paint and because people may like a lighter or darker shade, your best bet is to experiment like I said until you get the shade that you like best.
As for finish, I used Shellac on my Mosin and it turned out great. You can use any kind of urethane finish as well. The more coats that you use, the more glossy your finish will be. Take some 0000 steel wool in between coats and you'll get a really smooth finish.
September 2, 2009, 08:02 PM
I tried the RIT and was less than satisfied. For one thing, the RIT is laced with a lot of salt to allow fabric dyeing. This is not good on wood and around metal.
Years ago, I used to use leather dyes for odd colors on wood, so I bought some Tandy Leather Water-based Red, Yellow, and Cordovan dyes.
If you want a browner Red, experiment with straight Cordovan. Cordovan is a dark Red-Brown as-is.
For a more Russian Red, mix the Yellow with just a bit of Red until you get a true Red-Orange. You can add a bit of Cordovan to darken it as needed.
I recommend thinning the mix with alcohol at first to test on scrap wood until you get the color and darkness you want.
If you go too dark, these dyes don't come out easily.
After dyeing to the desired color, let dry thoroughly, then coat with a couple of coats of satin or gloss finish polyurethane. Gloss is usually TOO shiny, so I used satin.
Thin the first coat with about 8% to 10% thinner to get penetration.
Thin the following coats with 3% or so thinner to improve brushing.
Sand LIGHTLY between coats and allow to really dry hard before sanding.
Another option is to stain with a stain like Minwax Sedona Red, then poly. This gives a good Russian Red.
Remember, Russian Red AK's run from a light true Orange, to a Red-Orange, to a dark Red.
Here's my Bulgarian AK-74 with Ironwood butt stock and original handguards done as the above in Dark Russian Red.
Remember, these always look redder in pictures than they really are: