Popping grain/figure without deepening the color
#11
  
I may be asking the impossible here, but I've got some Pommelle Maple veneer I'm using on a project...the grain looks FANTASTIC, but I want to keep the Maple basically white. Minwax Polycrylic works fantastic for that, but it doesn't quite highlight the grain as much as I want. If I turn the wood at certain angles it really shows up a lot, but I've seen some videos on popping the grain and I love the contrast they get between the figure and the rest of the wood. The problem is, it seems like there's always some sort of stain, dye, or penetrating oil used that not only pops the grain, but also changes the color of the wood. I'll test some BLO on another scrap piece of the veneer (it's already been glued to a scrap of BB ply) tomorrow and see if it contrasts well with Jatoba (my main wood), but ideally I'd like to keep the Maple white while still highlighting the figure. Is this possible? Is there such a thing as a "clear" stain that can soak in and bring that figure out without changing the color, or is there always going to be some compromise?

Thanks!
Near future projects:

-Curly Maple display case
-Jatoba and Quilted Maple dresser
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#12
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
It would be very tough to do since the "popping" is caused by a difference in color. Be aware, the BLO may be what you want (and probably the way I would do it) but it does shift in color over time. Of course, the maple itself will shift as well.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#13
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
(12-16-2017, 01:08 AM)KingwoodFan1989 Wrote: I may be asking the impossible here, but I've got some Pommelle Maple veneer I'm using on a project...the grain looks FANTASTIC, but I want to keep the Maple basically white. Minwax Polycrylic works fantastic for that, but it doesn't quite highlight the grain as much as I want. If I turn the wood at certain angles it really shows up a lot, but I've seen some videos on popping the grain and I love the contrast they get between the figure and the rest of the wood. The problem is, it seems like there's always some sort of stain, dye, or penetrating oil used that not only pops the grain, but also changes the color of the wood. I'll test some BLO on another scrap piece of the veneer (it's already been glued to a scrap of BB ply) tomorrow and see if it contrasts well with Jatoba (my main wood), but ideally I'd like to keep the Maple white while still highlighting the figure. Is this possible? Is there such a thing as a "clear" stain that can soak in and bring that figure out without changing the color, or is there always going to be some compromise?

Thanks!
Apply a water-based or alcohol-based stain in a fairly dark color to the maple. After it dries, sand it off. The stain will only remain in the figured areas, which are essentially end-grain. This will kick up the contrast and highlight the figure without turning the entire piece dark. Of course you should experiment on a scrap piece. This technique is used by musical instrument makers to "pop" curly maple. Perhaps you will like how it looks under your finish.
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#14
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
This is Arm-R-Seal semi gloss on curly maple:




John
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#15
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
I agree that the color difference does the "popping". I don't have a lot of experience with it, but, I think, tung oil has less color and does not darken (as much?) over time. Depending on how much protection you need, a wiping varnish mix of tung oil, MS, and the clearest varnish you can find might do the job. Or, just tung oil by itself might work, but would probably need renewing from time time. Someone with more experience will chime in, I'm sure.
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#16
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
Well, I tried some BLO on a sample, and I've got pics of it below. The side with no tape is just gloss Polycrylic, and the one with has BLO on one half (saving the other half to try out TO). Someone else here said TO doesn't yellow as much as BLO, so I'm interested. I have a piece of Jatoba with some BLO on it to show what my results have been. Even though the color of the figured maple with the BLO on it is actually still good enough for me, there's still not quite as much figure popping as I'd like. Keep in mind this is veneer, so I don't have much room for sanding, especially since the grain sometimes has spots that stick up a tad (along the lines). However, when I turn the pieces at an angle, both the Poly and the BLO have GREAT figure (see the 3rd and 4th pics). How can I get it so that the figure is easily visible from all angles...or is that just not gonna happen unless I add significant color to it?

Thanks again! Any other suggestions are welcome!


Attached Files Image(s)
   
   
   
   
Near future projects:

-Curly Maple display case
-Jatoba and Quilted Maple dresser
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#17
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
I think it's going to require some color somewhere.......
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#18
  Re: RE: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by fredhargis (I think it's going t...)
(12-16-2017, 03:51 PM)fredhargis Wrote: I think it's going to require some color somewhere.......

I guess I'll try experimenting with some lighter yellows/golds. Would Tung Oil maybe do what I want? Again, I want to add as little color as possible while still popping the grain. Do multiple coats of oil bring out the figure more?
Near future projects:

-Curly Maple display case
-Jatoba and Quilted Maple dresser
Reply
#19
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
While color is frequently added to help, you do not need to add any color to pop the grain.  However, it does darken the color when you do, but that's because you can better see colors already in the wood.  Consider what happens when you wet a piece of wood: it looks darker even though water is colorless.  Why?  It's because of the many fibers in the wood that reflect and scatter the light, making it look whiter.  When these fibers are surrounded by water or finish, they reflect less light so you see through to their colors and they look darker.  (The index of refraction of the finish better matches that of the fibers than does the index of refraction of air.)

In a similar manner, sugar looks white, while rock candy is clear so you can see whatever color is behind it.  Sugar and rock candy are the same thing, and you can pound rock candy to white dust.  If you submerge the dust in oil, you can see through it better to the colors behind.  

How much it darkens depends on the index of refraction of the finish, which also affects the chatoyance.  You get most transparency when the index of the finish best matches that of the wood fibers.

Here's a discussion of the role of index of refraction as it affects artist pigments: https://www.naturalpigments.com/art-supp...ue-paints/
Among other things it points out that the difference between white paint and a clear finish is just the index match between colorless pigment and binder, and that the index of refraction of BLO changes over years of aging, which can cause things painted over to reappear years later (called pentimento).
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#20
  Re: Popping grain/figure without deepening the color by KingwoodFan1989 (I may be asking the ...)
Know BLO is highly recommended but not a big fan of using it. Pure Tung oil is an excellent choice if have the patience waiting for it to dry, takes several coats to reach maximum protection.

JMHO, yes my way little more expensive but reults justify the cost.
Prefer to use 6 or 7 drops of amber trans tint dye in Zinsser Seal Coat shellac sanding with 220/320 between coats, then apply your water based poly.
Bill
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