Black Water-Based Dye Over an Oil Stain

You can mix black dye with de-waxed shellac, then apply a more durable topcoat over that. March 4, 2009

I'm told this can be done but want some advice from someone who may have pulled it off already. I want to use some TransTint, black water based dye, to overcoat some topcoated existing oil based ebony stain to give it a darker color. I then want to cover with sealcoat and clear water based poly. What is the best way to apply the dye - alcohol mix? I heard of using acetone also?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Save a step and mix liquid TransTint drops with the shellac SealCoat. We have done this numerous times without any issues. The Sealcoat is great as a toner/stain base.

From the original questioner:
Do you have a sealcoat product you prefer?

From contributor A:
Zinsser Bullseye SealCoat is a patented no wax shellac product. The only one of its kind. It's available at most paint stores and some good hardware stores. You need to know about this stuff if you plan on using waterborne topcoats.

From the original questioner:
So you use it as the lone top coat with nothing over it. I saw samples at Rockler with it and two coats of clear water based poly over it. That was kind of the model finish I was thinking about.

From contributor K:
SealCoat is an excellent product but it is only a sealer or for light duty use as a top coat. It should be topcoated with your topcoat of choice. I use Targets products over it all the time.

From contributor A:
Sealcoat is a sealer/barrier coat/bonding coat or as the body for a dye/toner coat. It must be topcoated. Some guys use oilbased stains, then sealcoat as the barrier, then waterborne as the topcoat. This kind of bridges the gap between solvent/waterborne. We will do this if we need a particular stain color which is easily available in oil based. We have never had any issues going over solvent based stains, but there may be dry time issues with an oil based stain. The sealcoat negates these incompatibility issues. When we stain something, but want to make it darker or browner we will add TransTint drops to either Sealcoat or the first clear topcoat. This makes a toner coat. Sometimes we want to pop the grain, but not the heavy look of stain. In that case a little dye in shellac will bring out the grain more than a clear topcoat. We try to use waterborne exclusively, however it often doesn't happen.