Staining veneer

I have finally finished the woodwork for my latest project, and I’m now ready to put some veneer on the naked MDF and plywood carcasses. I have decided on raw veneer and hide glue, which I found worked very well on my first pair of DIY speakers, nearly twenty years ago. My plans are to use black ash for the faceted baffle, and a nice oak on the rest of the boxes.

My first question is about the black ash veneer. Ash has a nice grain, takes stain well and is cheap, so I’m thinking of buying a sheet of natural ash veneer and staining it myself. Is there any reason not to do this, and buy ready-stained veneer instead? Secondly, would you advise staining the veneer before gluing to the carcass or after?

The black-stained veneer will directly abut the oak veneer, so I am concerned by the possibility of bleed-through of the black stain into the natural oak when I am rubbing oil into the veneered speakers. Bearing this in mind, would there be a preference for spirit-based or water-based stains? Or is it more a matter of just waiting long enough for the stain to dry completely before applying the oil?

Finally, I would prefer to cover the sides and rear of my boxes with single sheets of oak veneer, rather than mess around with book-matching. The thing is, the cabinets have ended up 34cm wide, and I’m struggling to find a supplier of crown-cut European or American Oak veneer sheets that are more than 29-30cm in width. Can anyone recommend a supplier (preferably in the UK) that would stock it in this width? Or am I being too optimistic?

Thanks,

Alex
 
If you can find aniline die I'd use that. It can be sprayed so you can gauge the color intensity you'd like. This stuff dries quick so one could stain prior to glue down without worrying about sheet warp. A company here in the states called Mohawk carries this type of stain to give you an idea of what to look for.
 
Thanks for the replies so far. My plan now is to apply the raw ash veneer to the baffle, and then use a water-based aniline dye once it's glued on.

My remaining concern is still whether such a dye likely to come out with oil after it has dried - I would expect a water-based dye would have less of a tendency to do this than a spirit-based one, but in my mind a slight possibility remains.

Alex
 
Thanks for the replies so far. My plan now is to apply the raw ash veneer to the baffle, and then use a water-based aniline dye once it's glued on.

My remaining concern is still whether such a dye likely to come out with oil after it has dried - I would expect a water-based dye would have less of a tendency to do this than a spirit-based one, but in my mind a slight possibility remains.

Alex


Using a water based anything you risk making the veneer expand and that might cause it to lift or bubble.Once the dye stain is dry it should not react with other finishes.
How I would do it is mask off the areas you do not want black and spray it with black acrylic satin spray paint-maybe two coats.Then remove the masking material.If there are any little overspray areas sand them back using 180 grit and a hard sanding block.Then spray over the whole lot with a clear satin lacquer-maybe 4 coats.
 
Yes, I used black satin spray paint on the MDF rear panels of my last speakers, and it worked out well. In that case I used a grey primer first, but of course I wasn't worried about hiding the grain.

i thought about it for this project, but had it in my head that oil and wax would bring out the grain of the veneer better. I can definitely see the benefits of paint as a finish for the baffles, though. Have you used satin lacquer on unpainted wood? How does that work out compared with the more traditional finish?

Alex
 
From my experience spirit based dyes are good and avoid the risk that water, a powerful solvent, imposes on many materials as mentioned expansion etc.


Just look at what water does to chipboard.


You can dilute it with white spirit and then use several coats to the desired shade. Use a lightly loaded brush to avoid the black going onto the lighter oak, and be ready with a tissue in the other hand to blot off any over dying on the oak.


I have always used Thixofix or Time Bond in veneering both wood and EPDM onto my speakers, but although good the avoidance of bubbles under the veneer has to be carefully monitored, as I suppose with all glues.


After a waxed sculpture made at art college in the 70s was subjected to the sea air where I live, it grew black mould in the wax. I much prefer polyurethane, which can look very similar, and is very atmosphere, acid and alkali resistant, and hard wearing, sealing the cabinet.


Satin is Ok, but I use gloss and rub down with fine W or D, and then a final coat of diluted with white spirit poly can produce a lovely dulled finish and without the vulnerability, and need for re-polishing with wax.
 
If you want the classic black ash effect with lots of grain, IMHO, the best way to achieve a "black on black" finish is to use Speedwell india ink. Pretty cheap, goes a long way. It's basically carbon black in a shellac solution. Two coats has worked well for me in the past on oak. Oil should not bother it at all once it is dry.
 
OK, an update. My plan now is to spray paint the raw ash veneer on the baffle, first with primer, then one or two coats of black satin, and finally satin lacquer. I will do a quick test on some scrap before I do the whole baffle.

I managed to get all my supplies in for this last stage of the project before the shutdown here at the start of the week! I have to say I strongly recommend The Wood Veneer Hub to anyone looking for veneer in the UK. A great stock and excellent speedy and helpful service.

Alex
 
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