Painting, Staining, Dyeing and Burning Wood

Stains, dyes, and even most “clear” finishes change the appearance of the surface to which they are applied. (For the clearest finish, a water based urethane or super blonde shellac are among the best choices.) Decorative finishing effects can be applied by using a combination of stains, dyes, paint, or other means.

Recently, I had a crash course in shading wood with a propane torch. Crash course, as in one week to learn the technique and use it to make a 3 foot by 5 foot picture frame for Mandara who makes amazing art by carving, burning, and colouring plywood.

Other parts of the frame were painted or stained to provide the appearance Mandara felt complemented the piece.

The scariest part of the whole build process was the last one. After mounting the artwork in the frame, I needed to coat the entire frame and artwork with a coat of satin waterbased polyurethane to seal in the colour applied to the art and the burnt effect, or else handling could result in accidental transfer of colour.

Spraying this piece was not particularly difficult, but it’s intimidating working on something that somebody else has invested so much time and heart into creating. Spraying went fine, and the piece was ready at the scheduled time. Most importantly, Mandara and I were very happy with the result.

I am also happy to have learned another technique, and am grateful for the training, guidance and support provided by Mandara.

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