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

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Project by mmh posted 02-07-2014 05:13 AM 1713 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 (online now)


112549 posts in 2302 days

#1 posted 02-07-2014 05:44 AM

Outstanding cane

-- Custom furniture

View Greg's profile


284 posts in 1598 days

#2 posted 02-07-2014 07:10 AM

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

294 posts in 1803 days

#3 posted 02-07-2014 07:16 AM

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

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines,

View Handtooler's profile


1114 posts in 857 days

#4 posted 02-07-2014 08:52 AM

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 310 days

#5 posted 02-07-2014 08:53 AM

Awe some jop.congratulations

-- kani

View Northwest29's profile


855 posts in 1215 days

#6 posted 02-07-2014 09:45 AM

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


2284 posts in 1740 days

#7 posted 02-07-2014 11:10 AM

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


15172 posts in 1913 days

#8 posted 02-07-2014 11:54 AM

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 2024 days

#9 posted 02-07-2014 12:10 PM

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


1148 posts in 335 days

#10 posted 02-07-2014 01:37 PM

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

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 974 days

#11 posted 02-07-2014 01:39 PM

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

-- Nimkee** Joe

View A.Scott's profile


197 posts in 701 days

#12 posted 02-07-2014 01:59 PM

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


15055 posts in 1528 days

#13 posted 02-07-2014 02:08 PM

Incredible use of wood combos.

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

View OldWrangler's profile


700 posts in 319 days

#14 posted 02-07-2014 02:13 PM

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

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!

View Karson's profile


34902 posts in 3125 days

#15 posted 02-07-2014 02:13 PM

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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