To Dye in a Vacuum Infusion Chamber

One experiment leads to another, and yet another …oh shiny, yet another…squirrel. Here I am probably 25 layers deep into yet another experiment. This time, I am working on dye penetration into wood.

Maple samples weighted down with a large stainless steel nut.
Maple samples weighted down with a large stainless steel nut.

I have setup a vacuum infusion chamber, this will be used in many future experiments. In the chamber I have some aniline dye mixed with some water, don’t ask how much of what, its been laying around for a couple of years and I just added a little more water to make it cover the samples.

Small jar on left, larger jar center stage.
Small jar on left, larger jar center stage.

I put the samples in the jar, poured the dye in and slapped the lid on. The first jar I used is in the left of the picture. Note its about half empty, yes I said half empty. In this case the empty portion is WAY more important than the full portion. I turned the pump on and the container filled with bubbles. I had to shut it off quick! So the picture to the right is a much taller jar, with the maple bits moved into it, now the jar is considerably less than half full. I had to spend a bit of time cleaning the blue dye out of the apparatus so it wouldn’t stain anymore than it already had. Yick what a mess, thankfully I could just hook the air hose up to it and blow all the blue out of it quick, note cover exhaust end with a series of paper towels.

Blue bubbles, lots of blue bubbles!
Blue bubbles, lots of blue bubbles!

Bigger jar, less fail! This time the bubbles didn’t expand all the way up to the opening, but they did go quite a way up the side of the jar. This bubbled for at least 2 hours, which was longer than I had expected. But it takes whatever it takes to get the dye all the way through the wood.

After all of the bubbles stopped, and it took plenty of patience to get to this point. I closed the valve, shut the pump off and then disconnected the hose. I then opened the valve which released the vacuum seal.

In the last picture you can see that I was able to hold over 29 inches of mercury, which is great! Now I wait patiently again for the moisture to evaporate before I can see how deep the dye went.

Holding 29+ inches of vacuum.
Holding 29+ inches of vacuum.

I wait patiently while it dries. Now to figure out how to set the aniline dye so it doesn’t bleed if it gets wet again. Any have any suggestions?

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