Separation of 844 Colorants

Over time, stored colorants will clump or settle, and there's not much you can do to fix it. September 16, 2008

Two years ago I ordered four small bottles of what I think were 844 Colorants. They came packaged in 4 ounce bottles and I have used them for toning lacquer. One of the bottles, yellow oxide, has never been opened. When I look at the bottle it appears the colorant has separated. Do 844s separate while sitting on the shelf? Is there any way of ensuring these are 844s and not something else?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor C:
Sure they will separate. Most dispensers have mixers on the lids and are on a timer to keep them good.

From contributor B:
I have never seen 844 colorants in a bottle, only in quart, gallon and five gallon containers. That doesn't mean they don't package it in bottles, I've just never seen them.

Do the bottles say "Cal Tint"? That is 888 colorants (universal) and is intended for use in water-base coatings. Although I do see people using these in lacquer, we don't recommend them since they tend to affect dry-time and in some cases they will bleed out.

From the original questioner:
The bottles say 844 colorants. The funny thing is I have two yellow oxides and two raw umbers. The yellow oxides have separated and have become hard on the bottom while the raw umbers are good as new. I am just going to try a little of the raw umber to kill the stark white. How much is supposed to be put in one gallon? I need a starting point and I will go from there.

From contributor T:
That's hard to quantify. "Slight" – off-whites use 1/48 - 4/18 oz colorant. It’s best that you put some on the end of a mixing stick and start there. A drop about the size of your pinkie fingernail should be more than enough so start with a little and add if necessary.

From contributor T:
That would be per quart of white base.

From the original questioner:
I think I'll start with 1/2 teaspoon in a gallon. My only fear is mixing it. I don't have a shaker so I will need to stir quite a bit.

From contributor S:
Settling and Clumping:
When particles come out of suspension and they settle, they clump. Usually, it's too late at this stage for those settled and clumped particles. The reason they need to remain in suspension is that they need to stay wet, i.e., surrounded with finish. The clumped material is no longer wet. Each single particle of clump is no longer surrounded by finish/coating material. In this sense it's dried. Wetting out each particle again is almost impossible. Simple stirring won't do it. Even though you are asking about color mixing and not what to do with clumped material, I thought that I would at least comment about settling.