Need tips for staining black

I am building a cabinet (birch ply, pine & popular) for a fellow who has decided he wants to stain it black. I have never stained anything black. Can I dilute the flat black paint that I already have or should I go out and buy black stain?
Considering that there are mixed wood types, would I be better with a gel stain, dye or will diluted paint be okay?
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Pee Pee Firefighter

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India ink has been commented on but my preference leans toward TransTint dye from www.homesteadfinishing.com. Mixes with water, alcohol, oil, lacquer thinner (IIRC) and Jeff suggests spraying dyes. Visit his site and ask the "master".
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 16:01:48 GMT, Pee Pee Phirephighter

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Never tried it myself but I have several pieces of furniture my father made. He stained them with leather dye. Before someone says something, I will clarify. Leather DYE, not polish. Looks great.
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I have limited experience with gel and dyes so the following will apply to simple oil based stain. Be careful because these woods are inherently tricky and the darkness will amplify problems.
1) The woods you are using are all fairly soft and subject to motteling. This is especially true of the pine and birch. Be sure you use a conditioner before staining. This could be a product such as Min Wax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Some will say you can get the same effect from spirits or thinner and this might be true. I have used the Min Wax product on lightly stained birch and it works well - costs $5-6/qt.
2) When you say stain I assume the fellow wants to retain some of the grain detail. I would not use paint. You could well hide the grain and might end up with a surface coat that doesn't play well with the finish coat. If you can't find a black stain, take a look at some of the darker stains than fall in the category of Mediterranean or Ebony. You might get a paint store to mix a special batch or tint an existing stain.
3) Whatever you do, set aside some chunks of the material used in the cabinet, sand them to a representative surface, and practice with the conditioner and stain. Make sure that the conditioner lets you get all woods to the same starting point.
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I have stained black on occassion and found that the water based gel stain from Clearwater works very well. You can purchase it from Highland Hardware. SH
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I have tried quite a few ways to ebonize wood. I have used stains, dyes, diluted paint, colored lacquer, india ink, the old trick of vinegar and steel wool and various combinations.
I have not had good luck with pigmented stains. You don't get a dark enough color. Some methods, such as using a diluted paint (another pigmented stain) or colored lacquer will hide the grain. India ink, which is a true black, is faily expensive ( I paid about $32 for a quart) and also has a tendency to hide the grain.
I believe in your case, th best bet is to use a water-based dye ( http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/TransTint.htm ). However, the dye is not a true black and it has a slight purple caste. All dyes I have seen have this quality. A couple of drops of orange transtint will warm it up some, but too much will start turning it brown. Most people can live with the slight resulting purple caste.
Preston
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I did a home office. The desk top was oak strip flooring that I stained black. I got a pint from Home Depot. It's water based mixed to order and worked perfectly.
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