LumberJocks

Finishing Process of Interest #1: Chemical Ebonizing

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by pjones46 posted 01-07-2015 01:36 PM 1321 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Finishing Process of Interest series no next part

A while back, I put together a set of links of random finishing topics which I posted in my blog, called Finishing Tips #5: Finishing tips #5.

One of the links listed coved the topic of Chemical-Ebonizing as I saw an interest from some concerning the procedure, so this is the time to single out that process. This process does not use dye, ink or paint, and can be carried out quite easily.

As a matter of formality follow proper safety precautions such as wearing safety glasses, hand protection; well you know the drill when handling chemicals.

Paraphrasing the process from the article, the technique leaves an absolutely transparent layer of black where you can still see the wood’s figure and character, particularly after you apply a topcoat.

The first step is to dissolve de-oiled steel wool in Heinz white vinegar (6 percent acetic acid or better) to make the first of two solutions you’ll need. Use a glass jar and allow the mixture to set for about a week where eventually, the pad will dissolve and the formerly clear liquid will turn a dark reddish brown, with a black scum on top.
The second solution, tannic acid, is made with dry powdered tannin and again I suggest you use a glass container.

The full instructions and suggest sources are listed in the ARTICLE which I suggest you read as I am leaving out the full explanation.

Once you have you have the two mixtures read to go, before applying either solution, because you won’t be able to sand the wood during the ebonizing process. After the wood dries, sand off any fuzz you may feel with 280 or 320 grit paper. The writer of the original article does this process a couple of times.

Now it is time for the magic to happen. Pour a small amount of the tannic acid solution into a shallow container and brush it on your project. Make sure every bit of the surface is covered. Let the wood dry.

Next, pour a small amount of the steel wool and vinegar solution into a separate container. Using a different brush, apply the solution to the wood where almost immediately, the wood will turn a bluish black. Again, let the wood dry.

Finally, apply another coat of tannic acid, using a cotton rag to avoid brush marks and you will get a rich, deep black. Let the wood dry a day or two and you will be ready to apply a clear finish.

The link to the article is listed below.
LINK

-- Respectfully, Paul



4 comments so far

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7165 posts in 2259 days


#1 posted 01-07-2015 03:23 PM

It’s a fun process. You didn’t mention that the tannic acid is unnecessary if the wood has tannin (is brown basically).
Personally, if I want to make something black, I use a high tannin wood in the first place like oak or walnut.
It can hide the grain as well, not because it isn’t transparent but because it can be made to go so black.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View pjones46's profile

pjones46

986 posts in 2104 days


#2 posted 01-07-2015 03:49 PM

It is my understanding that Tannin is in all woods, however, in some not sufficient to adequately promote the chemical reaction and this is why they say you must add it to the surface of wood in general.

This information is as I said paraphrased from the original article and would appreciate your input and any specifics as to procedural changes so as to yield successful results.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7165 posts in 2259 days


#3 posted 01-07-2015 04:43 PM

Most brown woods have enough tannin without addition of any solution. I haven’t tested a lot because I have oak and walnut as my go-to woods for black. Walnut grain is good as well for actually imitating ebony. I have used rusty, flaking old steel to make the solution also. Any iron bearing metal will eventually work. I think flaking rust and steel wool are best because of available surface area.

The tables are walnut, the stools are oak.

The piece on the left is walnut, on the right is Madagascar ebony. Both are wetted with alcohol.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View pjones46's profile

pjones46

986 posts in 2104 days


#4 posted 01-07-2015 09:58 PM

Paul M,

Really like the tables and the black blends so well with the figured tops. The stools have such clean and elegant look much like a true Shaker simplicity.

Thank you so much for sharing

Personally I have not done allot of Ebonizing other than on few smaller projects, and was just amazed at wizardry of the chemistry involved.

Again thank you for the tips.

-- Respectfully, Paul

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com