Metal Complex Dye Stain

A weakness of dye is that it fades fairly quickly in UV light, so a more fade-resistant dye was developed in the 1950s called “metal-complex,” or “metalized” dye. This dye still fades, just not as rapidly.

metal dyesMetalized dyes are usually available thinned with acetone (methanol was once used) and ready to use. These dyes are labeled “non-grain-raising” or “NGR” and are very popular in industry and in shops that spray their stains. The dye can be sprayed directly on the wood to act as a stain, and it dries very rapidly so finish can be applied within minutes. The dye can also be added to lacquer and sprayed as a toner.

Metalized dyes are also available in concentrated liquid form for you to thin with water, alcohol, acetone or lacquer thinner. Using water provides more time for application, of course, but introduces grain raising.

Choose a metalized dye stain if you want a deeper or more even coloring than can be achieved with pigment. Choose also if you want to reduce the time between staining and finishing or add a dye colorant to lacquer.

To apply metal complex dyes follow the steps below:

  1. Make sure wood surface is free from oil, grease, debris, and dust
  2. If you are not using water to thin a concentrated solution than proceed to step 3. If you are follow the steps in water soluble dye stains to complete your task.
  3. Brush or wipe on the stain in the circular patterns.
  4. Allow the stain to sit on the wood surface for a couple of minutes before wiping off the excess.
  5. If a darker colored is desired, apply a second coat of stain.
  6. Once desired color is achieved, allow the stain to dry for 24 hours before applying a finish coat.

applying water soluble dyes


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