I recently built a small box of birdseye maple, with Jewitt's early
American finish on it. The pulls are carved from ebony. I'd like to
make a base for the box, but a base of ebony would be impractical for
me due to the cost and availability of the wood.
So I'm trying to figure out the best methods for ebonizing wood. Both
Flexner and Jewitt's books recommend black dye stain. I tried that
method on a piece of scrap holly veneer (using Behlen's jet black
aniline dye), and it oddly imparted a slightly purplish cast to the
A Google search here shows that folks have often used steel wool and
Does anyone here have a favorite method?
Thanks in advance,
The best method for ebonizing wood i believe is black leather dye, use it a
few time real easy two coats and your done ready for your final finish wax
Knowledge speaks, wisdom listen.....
I used india ink recently to dye maple black for just this purpose. I was
happy with the results. In my case, it took two applications to get an even
black color. Keep in mind that most india ink (from what I'm told) is
water-based and will raise the grain, so you might want to pre-raise it
One method I have not tried that is of fame in the oldest days of gunstock staining
is iron filings / shavings disolved in nitric acid... if you can get the stuff. It
stain the wood a very dark brown. some time back I asked about it in this NG
because I had remembered a video I saw of a man who is a gunsmith, using all
the oldest methods to make muzzle loaders.
The Woodworks episode I saw today (on Tivo) had David Marks using what he
called metal acid dyes to ebonize maple. He indicated that these were more
lightfast than aniline dyes. It looked good on television. :-)
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