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coloring handmade rigging line


davec
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I’m still struggling with getting adequate results on my new ropewalk, but am thinking ahead to when it is working and I will need to dye my rope.  I had asked some of this before, but much of the information was saved in my PM box, and is now lost.  My questions fall into two categories, color and product.



In terms of color, kits traditionally come with black and tan line for standing and running rigging.  My understanding is that tarred rigging was more very dark brown, and running rigging would have initially been more yellowish hemp color when new, and would have faded with sun exposure.  Some of the books talk about using dark walnut for standing rigging.  Bottom line question is what color to use for standing and running rigging.


For standing rigging, some of the books and others who emailed before suggested dark walnut.  The standing rigging I saw on the Consititution looked blacker, so the question is whether a black dye, or ebony, which has a little brown in it would be more appropriate.


For the running rigging, the question is if I use ecru DMC cordonett, can I just use the original color, or should I dye?  If I dye, what color?

 

This is the DMC cordonet undernatural light:

post-16-0-06048800-1361718780_thumb.jpg

 

and this is it with a flash:

post-16-0-25765500-1361718728_thumb.jpg


In terms of actual product, there were two suggestions from before that didn’t sound too messy.  Someone (I think Chuck) suggested using General Finishes water based dyes, and if I remember correctly suggested Dark Walnut for standing and Amber for running (please correct me if I remember incorrectly).  Larry suggested using transtint dyes, which can be mixed with alcohol and are very fast drying.  When I looked this product up, it didn’t say what kind of alcohol.  Is anyone familiar with the product, and if so, can you tell me whether it is supposed to be isopropyl, denatured, or some other type.


Thanks!


Dave



 

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I used a dark brown (oak, it's called) water based stain on my standing rigging.

Black is just too black for my idea.

 

Any very dark brwon will do, I guess. Be aware that the material you use, as well as your method of dying does result in different shades of brown. So thinking ahead is worthwhile.....

 

Jan

Edited by amateur
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I made rope on my ropewalk using threads that were recommended here before. Then I dyed some with water soluble stains and thus far they look ok to me.

I have been a woodworker for several years and stained many cabinets, etc. Personally I don’t like the common Miniwax products and rely on a water base stain made by General Finishes. http://www.woodcraft.com/search2/search.aspx?query=stains

 

It is easy to use, gives great coverage and stays good in the can ‘forever’. I use the Espresso color for standing rigging and a couple others for the running rigging lines. I might add that Golden Oak is my favorite. I have used it on oak furniture but also like the looks of it on rope for running rigging.

 

The discussion of threads I used is covered in the following site.

http://www.brentjes.com/ropewalk.html

 

I hope this helps (or adds to the confusion???).

Edited by Modeler12
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Thanks Chuck, will have to look into that.  Sorry to trouble you with a further question, but could you please explain the mixture and method of dying you use (if it's not giving away a trade secret :) ).  Do you use it straight out of the can, dilute it etc to ensure the tack-free uniform finish; and do you simply soak it in the solution and let it hang to dry.  This is a great finish and I would really like to try and replicate it if I can find it, or something of the same type over here.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Perhaps Chuck has a different approach, but here is what I do to stain long pieces of lines.

 

I work outside along side of the house. I pour some of the stain in a shallow dish, hold the end of the line down in the stain with my finger (plastic glove) and have my wife pull the line gradually along. After about twentyfive feet has been drawn she clamps her end to a tree branch and I do the same at my end. I then take a paper towel and pull it along the line to soak up excess stain. I go by eye sight as to how much I wipe off. The stain dries to the touch in less than an hour.

For short sections, made on my ropewalk, I do it all myself and hang the lines off a tree branch. Mind you, I live in California where I can do this nicely even in the winter.

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It should be noted that coffee and tea are acidic and will rot the rigging (and sails) over time. 

Mark and Chuck, I wonder how serious this really is!!!

 

I made a small ship model about 25 years ago and dyed the white cotton sails with a tea mixture (and don't ask me what kind of tea it was, but probably Lipton). The model has been sitting on a shelf since then and the sails still feel as soft and healthy as the day I dyed them.

I know that acids will harm cotton and tea does have a mild acidic value, but after the dyeing has been done and the cloth is dried, the acid becomes more stable, unless the cotton absorbs moisture again. I agree that using other materials may be advisable, but I also think that using tea for sails, for example, should not be a major concern. 

Acid free paper is now common, but paper has survived thousands of years without that treatment. 

 

The sails I made for my current project uses a very light weight muslin with a beige, natural color. But if it had not been available I would have used a mild tea soak again. Just to be safe, I might have washed the dyed cloth in a slightly alkaline solution afterwards.

Edited by Modeler12
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Thanks everyone for all the responses.  I finally had some success with my ropewalk last night, and will head over to woodcraft over the weekend.  I want to stay away from dyeing with coffee - I usually drink it while working, and have so far not gotten any of it on my model.  Putting it on deliberately just doesn't feel right.

 

The general finishes stain sounds really good, but I think I will try the transtint dye first.  The person who had responded when I asked before the site went down (I wish I could remember who it was) mixed it with alcohol, and said it dried quickly enough that he could use the line as he made it.  It comes in pretty similar colors to the general finishes stain.  If I can't get the transtint to work, I'll use the stain.  It would also be easier for me to use something that I could do inside.  Virginia isn't California, and does get pretty good weather, but it is more of a daylight issue.  By the time I finish work and exercise, I'm usually out of daylight.

 

Jay - your website looks great, and should be really helpful.  I'm looking forward to reading it more carefully over the weekend.

 

Dave

Edited by davec
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Thanks to everyone for their responses. I made my pilgrimage to Woodcraft over the weekend. Usually this is a risky proposition, but I only bought the two cans of stain. I’m at work, so can’t post pictures. I got the General Finishes stain. The expresso color works great for the standing rigging. Not black, but a very deep brown. It also covers really well. I’ve been using both ecru and white cotton, and both end up the same color after staining.

 

 

 

I also tried the Golden Oak. Chuck – what color stain or dye did you use on your line? I really want the same effect. The Golden Oak has a significant orange tinge to it. I originally thought I might have gotten a bad can until I realized it is the same color as oak flooring. I’d like something with more yellow in it. Any suggestions for other colors?

 

 

 

Also, the water based dye is very thick. It does seem to penetrate OK, but it seems like there is a lot of stain getting into the line, and it is a little stiffer when it dries. Have people been using it straight from the can, or have they been thinning it?

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

For the standing rigging I use the color 'Espresso', a stain by General Finishes. My wife called it black, but is not quite black. The picture below shows the slight difference. I use the 'brown' thread for serving and it is very close to the Espresso.

post-246-0-47070800-1363272011.jpg

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