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Bichromate of Potash and Van Dyck Crystals
Bichromate of Potash (Potassium Dichromate) is one of the most important chemicals historically used in woodworking. Rather than dying the fibers (as with aniline dyes) or putting pigment particles on the surface (as with all "stains") it reacts with the natural tannin in the wood to produce a deep rich walnut brown. The depth of the color that can be achieved is stunning. Comes as a powder and can be mixed in varying strengths with warm water to produce varying color intensities. Oak (rich golden browns) and mahogany (rich "Georgian" reds) are two which respond particularly well. Note: Bichromate of Potash is toxic. Read the instructions carefully and take all sensible precautions. Use a mask and gloves when handling it.

Van Dyck Crystals are a traditional, natural, water-based wood dye made from walnut husks with which different depths of brown can be achieved. It can be used to not only color but to shade or darken certain areas on the wood surface. Dissolve in warm water to the needed strength. Different shades can be obtained by adding water soluble wood stains.

See below for more information. Also used as a traditional brown calligraphy ink ("walnut ink") and often called "black walnut crystals" when used like that - the "black" refers to the black walnut husks it is made from rather than the ink color.
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