Making Layout Dye

Not too long ago I needed to do some precision layout on brass stock for making some specialty squares and patterns for assembling the Roentgenesque parquetry units for the tool cabinet.  (Those projects will be on these pages shortly.)  Try as I might I could not find my bottle of Dykem, the standard layout dye for the metal working trade since the days of the Mayflower.  So being in the hinterlands on a Saturday afternoon, I made my own.

The starting point, not too surprisingly, was a dilute solution of lemon shellac (given the amount I needed it turns out to have been way too much).  I started with a deposit of the shellac flour adequate to cover the bottom of the bottle fully.

I then filled the bottle with ethanol to dissolve the shellac.  To this I added some Trans Tints until the chromatic intensity got to where I wanted.

And with that, I was done.  The bottle I now have will certainly last me long into the afterlife, I should have only made about 1/10th as much.

I am certain that as soon as I complete these projects my original bottle of Dykem will be in plain sight.


PS  We are finally back to Shangri-la after three weeks of time with the family.  L’il T is just a gas.  Once we get the yard dealt with (literally knee deep) I’ll be resuming my “normal” routine.