Monday, 1 June 2020

Diluting the Drugs

Yesterday, I ran out of stain for the new wooden floor in the housekeeper's room. This comes in a crystal/powder form called variously "Van Dyke Crystals" or "Walnut Powder". There is nothing I know that looks more like an illegal substance, especially given the Dutch Name. :-)

This morning, I discovered a few more crystals in the bottom of the bag: could I finish the room? It was going very well: I covered quite an area, but as I was backing out the door my stain supply in an old coffee jar got lower and lower. I diluted it once (i.e. cut the drugs), diluted it again, but finally the liquid ran out just before I got to the door.

You can see the result in the photo below. There is an area of medium stain, below this an area of light stain and below this an area of no stain:

effect of diluting stain before supplies ran out

At least you can see how you can control the tone of the stain by dilution, or indeed by using multiple passes. Now, with experience of mixing the crystals in water, and knowing that the brushwork is critical, I try to do the staining in a single pass for efficiency.

How frustrating to have the stain run out just at the last minute! It blocks progress in the room i.e. varnishing the floor and then installing units. However, as I was writing this blog entry, the new stain arrived by post. See the 1Kg bag below:

new bag of Van Dyke crystals - hurrah!


  1. The floor is looking great. How lucky you didn't have to wait for weeks for the new bag of 'special' crystals.

  2. You are doctoring this castle back to health, David.