The Greene brothers used ebony extensively in their furniture and architectural pieces and that use has become a trademark of their woodworking designs. I wanted to try to stay true to their designs and use actual ebony plugs in the Greene and Greene style clocks I am building. I was not impressed with the shouldered plug design the plans called for and wanted true pillowed ebony plugs in my clocks. Pricing Ebony, I decided that I would have to come up with some other method of getting my plugs made. The plans called for using Mahogany for the accents and using a sharpie marker to dye the wood and make it resemble ebony. I was skeptical to say the least, but I decided to give it a try anyway and see how it actually came out. I used a method similar to William Ng’s for making the ebony plugs. Since the plugs where to be a full 3/8” plus a 1/64”, the plug stock would not chuck up in my hand drill so I had to resort to doing each plug by hand. I set out four sheets of sand paper sitting on top of 3M Scotch Brite pads for cushion. holding the stock like a pencil, I made small circles on the sand paper while also rotating the stock around to give a nice pillowed end. William’s video along with Mark Spagnuolo’s video on the subject, helped me greatly, and made all 16 plugs a breeze to make. Surprisingly, the plugs turned out great and from a couple feet, you’d never know they are not ebony and are in fact, mahogany colored with a sharpie. Maybe the next clock I will use actual ebony, but for now, I’m happy with the results.
I laid out the sheets in a row so I could go through the grits and pillow both ends of the stick.. There is actually 3 grits of sandpaper there, the 600 is currently on top of the 400 grit paper in the picture.
After going through the grits, I would make sure I had a uniform pillow across the end
Once the end is pillowed nicely, a sharpie marker was used to make it dark
Once pillowed and colored, I cut all the plugs to just a 1/6” short of the depth of the mortises and chamfered the bottom edge to make inserting them easier.
All the plugs cut and ready to be placed in the clock frame.
Now that is what I’m talkin about!!! Perfection. :o)
Now that I have done the plugs the way I have, I can’t ever see making the shouldered plugs the way the plans showed ever. Making the plugs was an enjoyable experience and I am super glad I went through the extra effort to do them right.
-- Are you going to use that piece of scrap?