so my current project has a number of small details that call for
ebonizing. the furniture is walnut. millwork to date has produced
various scrap already dimensioned to some of the parameters of the
details, so I figured I'd try ebonizing that.
I made a batch of vinegar-and-steel wool. I left the steel wool in the
vinegar until it completely dissolved, then ran it through a coffee
filter. tested a sample of walnut in it. it came out nice and black. a
through cut reveals that the color doesn't penetrate far though. as an
experiment I tried treating the wood with strong black tea first, then
the vinegar/steel wool solution. it produced a slightly, but
noticeably, darker color than the vinegar/ steel wool solution alone,
so that was the process I chose. if I try ebonizing a light wood like
maple or birch I'll play with even stronger tea solutions.
this project has ebonized details inlaid in a field of lightly tinted
but otherwise unstained wood. I don't want to apply the tinted finish
to the ebonized parts, so I'll be doing the inlay work between coats
of finish. that is: spray sanding sealer > sand > spray tinted glaze
coat till color is right > rout out space for and apply inlay > spray
clear top coats till done.
I'm a bit nervous about tooling into the color coat- dings and
scratches at this point will be painfully obvious and essentially
nonrepairable, so I may get a clear coat down first.
the detail parts have swelled up with the moisture from the tea and
vinegar/ steel wool solutions. if they don't return to size on their
own I'll try a bit of heat to shrink them down.