Custom Cane #147: Black & White Ebony, Afzelia Pommele, Tiger Maple, Gabon Ebony, Freshwater Pearls

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Project by mmh posted 196 days ago 1392 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an attempt in using naturally colored woods together with stained hardwoods. I usually stay away from using any form of stain or dye, as I believe the natural beauty of the wood should be shown and highlighted with a simple finish of oil, wax or poly combination that also protects the wood. Showing off the natural grain and coloration of a piece of wood made by Mother Nature is more gratifying than altering something with paint.

Upon the request of a client who loves vivid colors, I ventured into using aniline dyes for this project. The request was to use Black & White Ebony for the handle and the shaft should be quite brilliant in color. Orange is a favorite, but the brilliance of woods such as Padauk, Bloodwood, Redheart, Pink Ivory, Purpleheart, etc., are short lived once oxidization sets in and after even a few weeks, months, years there is a notable change in color.

I suggested using a shaft made of hard Tiger Maple knowing that I could get an interesting depth with the natural figuring of this wood. I stained the maple with a black dye and sanded it down to reveal black stripes within the natural white of the maple. After drying I applied several additional layers of yellow and reds to mimic the colors of the collar made from an extraordinary piece of Afzelia pommele. This piece of Afzelia has a very tight pommele grain of finely quilted blisters rarely found in wood. One can only imagine the intense beauty of the original log that this small piece of wood came from.

The dyes are not colorfast, so I had some problem with keeping them from bleeding. To protect the coloration I applied a coat of CA glue, which also gave problem with the bleeding so this project took a lot longer than expected. In hind sight I should have used a permanent dye, or maybe my problem was using water instead of alcohol. In any case, the colors are vibrant and now water proof.

Although I am quite pleased with the end results of this piece, I think I will be shying away from using dyes.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

19 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


112010 posts in 2203 days

#1 posted 196 days ago

Outstanding cane

-- Custom furniture

View Greg's profile


281 posts in 1500 days

#2 posted 196 days ago

Hi Meilie, great looking cane! I absolutely love the layers of grain on the B&W Ebony-Reminds me of how Zircote looks. I thought it was a curly Koa shaft at first. You know, I have shied away from dyes for all the same reasons you listed, and your experience helps solidify my stance, so thank you for sharing your experiences and enlightening us.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

292 posts in 1705 days

#3 posted 196 days ago

Stunningly beautiful Meilie. Nice play of tones on the woods you used.

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines,

View Handtooler's profile


1071 posts in 758 days

#4 posted 196 days ago

She’s a real beauty! Very fine craftsmanship with quite the combination of exotic woods. Thanks fo sharing.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View kani's profile


66 posts in 212 days

#5 posted 196 days ago

Awe some jop.congratulations

-- kani

View Northwest29's profile


719 posts in 1117 days

#6 posted 196 days ago

Visually quite stunning! It sure will be a unique cane – should create a real ‘buzz’ as the client uses it. Might bring you more clients.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View michelletwo's profile


2222 posts in 1642 days

#7 posted 196 days ago

always hard to learn “on the job”. I have had to use scrap wood and try all the dye/finish combos first..otherwise I was in for stunning surprises! Glad you got the cane done. The b&w ebony is sure stunning. BTW there are places that would take your cane shaft and under high pressure use colored resin and force it thru the shaft. I have no idea the cost. But it would make your shaft hold color and would be very tough.

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Ken90712's profile


14878 posts in 1815 days

#8 posted 196 days ago

Ahh this is a real work of art! I too have had some issues with dyes but mine were probaly self induced from not knowing. The colors and design of this is beautiful, what great work.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Woodfix's profile


323 posts in 1926 days

#9 posted 196 days ago

Magnificent. It is amazing when it all works out. Concept, idea, design, construction, finish and result

-- Living is a constant gamble, life is about working the odds in your favour

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1041 posts in 237 days

#10 posted 196 days ago

Wow, that turned out amazing, love the mixture of woods, great work

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 876 days

#11 posted 196 days ago

the time you put in to it show ,the one that gets it will be happy

-- Nimkee** Joe

View A.Scott's profile


195 posts in 603 days

#12 posted 196 days ago

Wow…this is a beautiful piece of woodwork.
I viewed several of the other canes you made and they are great builds also. All of those you have made makes the one I made the other day rather dull.

View Roger's profile


14318 posts in 1430 days

#13 posted 196 days ago

Incredible use of wood combos.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View OldWrangler's profile


522 posts in 221 days

#14 posted 196 days ago

Nice piece of work, I especially like the handle of B & W Ebony….great idea

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3027 days

#15 posted 196 days ago

Beautiful job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

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