FAQ- Lyes

Why should I use a lye?

Lye is an optional pretreatment to alter the base color of the wood, accelerate patina, and create custom looks.

Can I mix or layer lyes?

We do not recommend mixing different lyes, but you can layer them. Refer to the WOCA Color Guide for layering ideas.

Do I have to apply a finish over a lye?

Yes, lye treated wood is still unfinished.

Why does the lye looks uneven and splotchy after finishing with oil?

Not enough of the pigment from the lye was polished off. Polish the surface again with a red pad to get the lye pigment to move around and into the grain.

Can I apply 2 coats of lye?

It's not necessary, but yes.

What is denibbing and what do you recommend to denib lye?

Denibbing is the process of polishing a dried lye surface with a green polishing pad to remove lye pigment from the surface and reveal the wood.

Can I T-bar lye?

No. We recommend applying lye with a WOCA Applicator Pad, paint roller or brush. A T-Bar does not allow for the best workability and risks showing start and stop marks.

Do I need to neutralize the lye?

For Oils, reactive lyes, like Antique and Driftwood Lye should be neutralized with Intensive Wood Cleaner prior to oiling.

For Waterbased Finish, all lyes should be be neutralized with Intensive Wood Cleaner prior to finishing.

Why can't I get a consistent color with the lye?

Antique and Driftwood Lye are a reactive lye, which means they only react with the tannin in wood. Heartwood contains tannin, sapwood does not. The lye cannot react with the sapwood.

Is WOCA Wood Lye a bleach?

No. It mildly lightens wood.

After applying the lye, my wood looks green.

Antique Lye and Softwood Lye can sometimes cause temporary green hue on the wood surface. This is a result of a chemical reaction that occurs between the lye and the wood fibers. The green color will eventually fade away on its own, usually within 90 days.

if the wood turns green, it is still safe to apply a WOCA Oil finish to it. The oil will not interfere with the lye reaction process.

Can I apply a polyurethane over a lye?

Yes, but the lye must be denibbed with a green pad and neutralized with Intensive Wood Cleaner prior to applying polyurethane. Intensive Wood Cleaner must be used to neutralize the lye otherwise it will corrode a water based finish.

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