After my experiment with the clocks I made for Christmas I want to try something a little different. A co-worker liked the clocks but commented that she would prefer something in black.
My sister happens to be an interior decorator. She has commented that I should make some items for a shop she deals with. This shop happens to cater to contemporary items.
These two comments formed an idea for something I’d like to try that includes two things I’ve never done, bent lamination and ebonizing. The idea is to create a bent laminate piece of wood in an arc. The center would be cut out to form a rectangular area. Inside this area I would float a flat piece of wood. The arced piece of wood would be ebonized while the center piece would be hard maple. The floating center would hold a clock.
I’ve read many comments online about ebonizing with differing opinions. I decided to try two different approaches, India ink and black dye. The wood used for this experiment happens to be soft maple. The picture below is the result of my experimentation.
The left 1/4 is India ink alone. The next 1/4 is India ink washed with black dye. The remaining 1/2 is black dye alone. I can see uses for the outer two techniques.
The dye retains a lot of the grain from the wood. I feel I could get it a bit darker and still retain the grain. The technique I used with the dye, (after many attempts), was to place a couple drops of the dye directly on the wood and then use a brush loaded with water to wipe it around. Trying to mix the dye with water dilutes it quite a bit. From pictures at hobbithouseinc.com I see quite a few pieces of gaboon ebony with brown streaks within the grain. If going for a natural ebony look I think I’d prefer the dye.
The India ink provides a nice deep black. If I had sanded this piece of wood before my experiment the India ink would have likely had a more consistent texture. If going for a piano black finish the India ink would be my preferred method. With either method I have found that any finish applied would be better sprayed rather than brushed on.
One additional comment. I have tried taking pictures of this piece of wood with the flash on as well as off. Every picture make the wood appear much brighter than it appears to the naked eye.
These are Sketchup’s of the clock I was considering….
-- Owen Johnson - aka IowaWoodcrafter