This topic has 6 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 9 months ago by CDana.

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  • #14788
      • Experience: 20+ years
      • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

      Gang, I love FEV (Fiebing Leather dye, denatured alcohol and shellac solution) for treating wood (plywood veneer) plank floors: rich, transparent color that dries fast and can be further sealed or glazed with water-born products like Rosco products and Ben Moore StaysClear. Despite a relatively low exposure threshold, the alcohol dries so quickly that our walk-in spray booth is almost the only engineering control we need in our shop for a safe environment.

      However, there’s a factor in a design coming up that will make it way more preferable to apply color and finish to the planks once they’re installed in the very intimate theater space, where the ventilation is definitely not adequate for our usual process. Therefore, oil stains, which off-gas for days and days and require 0% humidity to dry thoroughly are also not going to work.

      I have tried acrylic stains and paints, and been disappointed by their muddiness, lack of depth, and actually how hard it seems to apply smoothly over large areas (not that shellac doesn’t have some issues on that too, at a certain scale). I don’t want to waste the nice oak veneer by just painting it.

      What you guys got?


       Angelique Powers
        • Experience: 20+ years
        • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

        Member Member

        I agree nothing is better than a FEV, but for large surfaces like a floor its just not possible.

        It sounds cheap, but I have had good luck with making a “fake stain” with just super thinned wash of a scenic paint, usually an Ochre or Burnt Umber type – usually I apply it to my planks with a cheap foam paint pad and wipe off the excess. Its usually strong enough to color the board, bring out the grain, but not make it opaque. When I apply my waterbased sealer, it also helps bring out the grain more.

        Hope this was helpful.

         Jason Strom
          • Experience: 15-20 years
          • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

          I used to work with a water-borne paint company called Target Coatings and they make some unique products. <a href="; class=”bbcode_url”> Their whole idea is to get as close as they can to solvent based finishes, but in a water based compound. They make two products that you might be interested in.

          The first is a water based shellac. Yup, I said it. It is very bizarre when you first work with it, but once you get used to it, it is amazing. It has very similar properties to solvent shellac, with one exception: Instead of resolving with alcohol, it resolves with water. Which means that when you put a water based top coat, like StaysClear over it, it bonds the layers together. They even sell dye dispersions that you can mix in to make an FEV like mix.

          The Second is the Ultima line of stain. It’s a modified linseed oil stain that acts like a solvent, but is water based. It has great clarity, and some of the best color I have seen in a water based stain.

          There sealers are pretty freaking awesome too. Worth a look.

            • Experience: 5-10 years
            • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

            That’s some good info there. I’ll definitely be checking out that site.

            As for the washes with watered down paint… I’ve had issues with keeping the pigment suspended however, that was with acrylic latex house paint. I’ve never tried it with scenic pigment and if it works better, I might have to give that a whirl.

            There are a few water based stains that I’ve tried recently with different levels of success. One from Minwax that I don’t particularly enjoy and another that is a ZAR product. I believe it is one of their water modified oil products. I’ve had them mixed with custom colors and to varying levels of opacity.

              • Experience: 20+ years
              • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

              Qpowers wrote:

              I agree nothing is better than a FEV, but for large surfaces like a floor its just not possible..

              Here’s how we do it for large floors: we set up 3-4 units of what I call “breadracks” close to our walk-in spray booth, and set up an assembly process with one person inside the booth applying FEV with an applicator pad to a few 8′ planks at a time. A team of 2 or 3 folk cycle through taking out the finished planks, setting them in the breadracks, and bringing raw planks into the booth. In a few hours (or almost as soon as we finish this first step), we can repeat the process with whatever sealer gets applied.

              This system allows us to completely finish the floor (except for any in-place toning) on our own schedule, in better light, with adequate ventilation and sufficient dust- and traffic-free cure time for the sealer using a fraction of the shop space: each 6′ tall rack can hold up to 440 sq ft of flooring (depending on plank width) in 24 sq ft of floor space.

              When I figure out how to post photos here I’ll do that. We’ve also modified our folding sawhorses to be drying racks. One or two years in a row it seemed like all we did was pretty wood floors, and this system really saved our hash.


                Hey Claire,

                for help adding photos, you can use the Attachments button below the typing window. it’ll open up another button that lets you add an image file, or drag and drop them into this box.

                [attachment=0]Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 7.54.21 PM.png[/attachment]

                  • Experience: 20+ years
                  • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

                  [attachment=0]GoSA test shot.jpg[/attachment]

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