Dave Wood Arts
WB Golf
Classical Wood Restoration Process

Water Based Stain

There are a variety of stains available for tinting and colorizing wood, from oil pigmented stains, to solvents and water based dyes. Each has its merits and can enhance the beauty and interest of wood. However, for golf club staining, I prefer to use water-soluble dyes. With these, you can tint the club head gradually and evenly with great clarity.

Dye stains penetrate deeply into the wood to enhance its grain, while producing rich and vibrant colors that are resistant to fade. The swatch color sample in fig 19, shows various color and shade possibilities.

Colors can be combined to achieve almost unlimited custom variations, without hiding the naturally unique features of the wood.

The dye can be applied through spraying, dipping, or wiping on with a soft cloth. Personally, I prefer to dip the club head into the stain and smooth afterward with a soft cloth. If the stained wood appears too dark, its saturation can be reduced with water, or with an ammonia window cleaner.

Water dye mixtures should not be stored in metal containers... This gives new purpose for the large plastic, won-ton soup container, left-over from the Chinese take-out.
The dye mixture will not stain metals, making for easy soleplate clean-up. The water dyes can be purchased as pre-mixtures, or in ready to mix powder form (fig 20).

When blending your stain from the powder, carefully measure the amount of powders to water ratio and write it down. Just in case you need to repeat the formula.

Filling the Wood Grain

The water based dye used to color the wood will have raised its grain and opened its tiny pores. The open grain will need to be filled-in with a paste grain filler to prime and level the surface, achieving the classically polished "Piano Finish" that most enthusiast admire. Paste grain fillers are produced in both waterborne and oil based.

They are available in natural and colored pigments that are compatible, complimentary, or contrasting, to the stain color for rendering the look you are trying to achieve in the woods surface.

Water soluble, or Oil based? When I was growing up, oil based solutions were widely available. Today, oil paste fillers are not as easy to locate. The water based variety are most common. Both accomplish the same goals. The water based cures very quickly, while oil based requires 24 hours. I still prefer the oil base. A little more linseed oil in the wood can't be a bad thing.

The viscosity of the filler should be somewhere between a heavy cream and peanut butter. To apply the paste filler, simply brush, or wipe completely into all of the stained wood areas, using a circular motion to completely fill in all of the tiny pores in the grain. Rather than brushing on, I wear a disposable latex glove, as I prefer to hand rub the paste into the grain pores.

The grain filler has a glossy sheen when its first applied. Wait a few minutes for the filler to dull and lose its sheen before wiping it totally away from the woods surface. Removal, wiping off and surface polishing, can be done using burlap, coarse rags, or shop towel's found at local auto parts, or big box hardware stores.

Handle with care. Do not touch the club head with bare hands, especially the sole plate, as the natural oils in your skin will leave a marks that will not be immediately visible, but will appear/tarnish when the coatings begin to cure.

Once you have wiped off all of the filler from the club head, the wood color will take on a somewhat dampened appearance. With your etching tool, remove the filler from the markings and stamp cavities, while in its soft condition. Use a lint free tack cloth to dust off the remnants.

Allow 24 hours for the filler to dry. Wipe away the face masking film with a paper towel wetted with acetone. Detail the top of the insert and face profile edging with your exact knife to remove any residue of stain or masking film.

The stained wood is now ready to receive its first clear coating.

Opaque, Tone and Glaze surface coats

If the wood is to be finished with a solid opaque color, semi-transparent glaze, or special effect applied to the finish, apply this layer over the stain and filled surface prior to clear coating. Begin this process by masking off the soleplate and face areas, including the insert top-line, with a transparent, low-stick tape.

Carefully trim the tape following the outlines of the plate and face profile using an exacto knife with a sharp tip, so as to cut through the masking film, but not into the underlying surface. I often use lacquers, acrylics and fixatives for these coats, depending on the desired cosmetic effect. Spray lightly around the masked areas to protect against building up a paint ridge. Once the coating has dried to the touch, carefully remove the mask. Clean up any glue residue from the surface of the plate, or face, leftover from the masking procedure.

Fancy combinations of multiple stain types, paints and surface effects, from opaque to transparent, are evident on this Wood Bros Driver made for a Hawaiian Governor. (fig 22)


Jump to page
... 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 7.. 8.

Copyright 2017 © Dave Wood

Dave Wood Arts

info: davewoodarts@gmail.com