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Thread: Solar-Lux Dye on Walnut

  1. #1

    Solar-Lux Dye on Walnut

    Hi all,

    Im building a conference table for a client that wants a live edge slab 4'x8'. To save money on buying a slab that wide, I glued up 4-5 boards, ripped a small slab in half and glued it on the outside.

    My problem is that due to a walnut shortage around here at the moment (TN), I couldnt pick through and get the boards I wanted and wound up with quite a bit of sapwood/uneven color. I am trying to use the Solar-Lux die to even out the middle but am having some issues. I thinned 1:1 and brushed it on but it dries very quickly and is super blotchy.

    Has anyone used this product to success? Any advice?

    Fortunately im testing on the back at the moment. I sanded it lightly and it looks significantly better but its not great.

    Any advice would be appreciated!


  2. #2
    Dyes can even out wood variations pretty well. I use alcohol as a carrier so I am familiar with the rapid drying you describe. I spritz the surface with alcohol to get a good idea of the look I will have once the topcoat hits. You can also use the dye more surgically as opposed to a full surface solution, then use an oil based colorant like Watco to complete the coloration job. Once cured, a protective topcoat can be applied for a more resilient table top surface.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Westchester County NY
    If there is straight running sap wood, that will be difficult to disugise/blend on a board that is in the middle of the faux slab. If you don't want to slice out the sap wood then I would put an even dye coat on the entire slab save the edge sap wood.
    But TBH, the pic on the right looks OK to me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKinney, TX
    I’ve used a lot of solar lux and it really needs to be sprayed. I’ve thinned it and sprayed multiple coats which allows me to blend different areas and get an even color without going too dark. Another method is to flood it on by spraying then rapidly wipe it back. It once dry it really looks bad until topcoated.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    You are never going to hide the sapwood. You can use a dye of the correct colour to bring it closer to the rest of the job that will help it blend. With the rest of the top, clear coat it and then make up a toner to adjust the colour as required to blend it. Avoid trying to make it excessively uniform. Cheers

  6. #6
    You can make stain from walnut husks (the soft green shell that turns black after they fall). Dry the husks and grind them up fine and mix with water to make a stain. Let stand for a day or more, then strain it through a coffee filter and apply only to the sapwood. The main problem with staining or using dye on walnut is that walnut gets lighter in color with exposure to light the dye will not. The walnut husk stain will change with the walnut.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Contribute

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    You can hide the sapwood (sorry, have to disagree with you Wayne) but it takes effort and skill to do so. I'm with Steve that you would be better off spraying on the dye. That allows you to put it on evenly to avoid blotchiness. Of course, it's going to get dye on the sapwood, too, but you can sand that off the edge sapwood if you want it to be white. Any sapwood in the middle that you want to make disappear can be done by switching to a detail gun to add color there. I've even used an artist's brush and a steady hand to apply dye to really small areas of sapwood. In any case, after the dye is done I spray on a coat of Sealcoat shellac. Next I glaze it with gel stain or glaze to even out the color even more, and to add depth to the finish. You can leave more stain/glaze on the sapwood, too, if it's still too light. Another coat of Sealcoat and then your topcoats unless the color still isn't to your liking in which case you can spray toner coats of Transtint dye in Shellac or in any WB topcoat to adjust the color.


  8. #8
    Thanks for all of the advice! I think im going to try the spray on method.

  9. #9
    On a table that big, you need to use a retarder with Solar Lux or it will dry to quickly.

    I would use a water based dye on an area that big.

    I just got done doing General Finishes Medium Brown (Dark Brown good, too). I really like the results.

    Use multiple coats on sapwood areas.

    +1 on spraying. Spray it on nice and heavy.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    A comment on spraying dye. I've found it best to spray a wet coat, but not so much that the excess can pool or migrate because then you can get blotchiness.

    If you spray really light coats the dye dries on the surface and the final finish won't show off the grain as well as when there is enough liquid to soak into the wood.


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