Full Chisel Blog

March 21, 2013

Dyeing Maple with Iron Buff

Iron buff is an interesting dye, the fact that the liquid is clear and can still instill a blue-grey color to hard maple and a green color to soft maple.  So it is also an indicator to determine if the maple [Acer spp.] is hard or soft.

Most folks say to place steel wool into vinegar.  The problem with steel wool is that it is covered with oil from manufacturing so I find it better to use iron filings [I save from saw sharpening] to make the solution known as ‘iron buff’.

I mixed up a small batch to stain the handle of a touch hole prick, also known as a vent pick, used to clean the touch hole of a flintlock rifle or smooth-bore.  A friend who is a blacksmith said he wanted me to make him one as he admired the one I had made several years ago using iron buff to color.  It has some age to it as can be seen in the photograph.

little prick

I will set the piano wire needle in the handle using Cutler’s Cement.  I first etch the end of the wire with garlic and as you can see the end also has some ‘upset’ marks on the shaft to help give the cement a key to improve the grip.  After it has cured for a week or so I will finish with Moses T’s Gunstocker’s Finish.

Everyone needs a little prick.


1 Comment »

  1. 1/8 teaspoon iron filings, 1/4 cup white vinegar.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 22, 2013 @ 8:22 am

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