Has anyone tried to dye the wood before assembly?

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    I’m looking for input from anyone whom has tried staining their camper prior to assembly. Additionaly any photos of the results would be great!

    I’m planning to use  Behlen Solar-Lux Stain in American Walnut, which is an alcohol based dye recommended by CLC. I would like to dye both the outside and inside of the camper. However, there are a number of steps in the construction process that I am worried about.

    1) Since all staining must be done prior to any epoxy or glass, what would be the best way to protect the color when I need to feather sand the initial reinforcing glass strips for panels 1-4.

    2) If i scuff the unprotected dye and expose bare wood would touch up dye be noticeable?

    3) I’ve seen finished campers that have not been dyed and the fillets are a little bit darker. Can I add a little dye to the thickened epoxy mixture for the fillets to match the color of the surface dye?

    4) My panels 1 forward and aft pieces have a drastic color variation between panels. The forward section is more blonde while the aft is more red. Any recommendations on tinting these prior to dye and glass tape to make the puzzle joint less obvious? Or, is it possible the American Walnut dye is dark enough that it will even out the colors?




    dyeing the epoxy is an intriguing idea.  I would advise contacting MAS epoxies to ask them.  alternately, you could contact interlux about the possibility of dyeing the varnish.  since it’s organic-based, perhaps the addition of minwax oil stain would be compatible.

    I think you’re right that if you dye/stain the wood before epoxying, then you sand or scuff the wood, it will be very difficult to touch it up and match the original dye job.

    yes, there is variation in the color of the plywood veneer from piece to piece, but I thing that adds to the allure of the finished product.  also, note that the interlux varnish has an orange hue so 4-5 coats of varnish will darken the wood somewhat.  I am very pleased with the final appearance of mine after 5 coats of varnish.



    I thought of staining mine early on, but I had already joined a few puzzle pieces so it was really too late.

    For sure you will have to tough up areas, especially where you round over or rasp to make panels fit such as the transom. Those end grains would always be darker once stained anyway.

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