LumberJocks

Finishing Ebony

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by merlinsr2 posted 11-15-2009 05:09 AM 2620 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View merlinsr2's profile

merlinsr2

12 posts in 2580 days


11-15-2009 05:09 AM

Hello Lumberjocks! I am new to this forum and was introduced to it just today at the Sacramento Woodworking show. The introduction was very timely as I am involved in a project and I need some advice on the finishing process. I am making an all Ebony cane for a client and would like to get some feedback on finishes. The client wants the cane made to be solid black in color. I tried minwax stain with no luck. I am using Belen stain and it is working pretty good but I still have a few “spots” that come up when trying to buff the stain out. I want to use an oil/varnish finish but have been having challenges with it being smooth. I am very open to suggestions and what experience others have had with this incredible wood. Thank you in advance.


10 replies so far

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3202 days


#1 posted 11-15-2009 05:19 AM

First of all, Welcome to Lumberjocks. We hope you enjoy the experience.

I do not understand your problem. The cane should be very black if you are using Gaboon Ebony. By it’s nature the wood is black. Are you using another wood species and trying to stain it black?
If the latter is so, what type of wood are you using. I normally use black walnut as a base wood if it is to be stained black.

John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Gary's profile

Gary

8968 posts in 2898 days


#2 posted 11-15-2009 05:28 AM

Welcome to the site. I agree with John. Need to know what wood you are using.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View merlinsr2's profile

merlinsr2

12 posts in 2580 days


#3 posted 11-15-2009 07:03 AM

Hi and thanks for all the “Welcome” responses. I am using gaboon ebony and for the most part it is solid black but it has some lite gray streaking plus some slightly brown spots. I am trying to even it all out to a uniform black. The only reason that I am trying to stain it is because of my clients request. Thanks for the feedback.

View 76winger's profile

76winger

151 posts in 2582 days


#4 posted 11-15-2009 07:23 AM

I might speak with the client and clarify whether he truely wants it “pitch black” or if the natural ligher streaks would be acceptable. I see this in some of the ebony pens I’ve made. I personally would like to see the natural coloration of the ebony, otherwise a less costly wood could have been used and stained. If he’s insistent on ebony an no streaks, I’m sure there will be some people come along with some ideas for you, I haven’t tried to stain it as yet.

-- Dave, See some of my creations at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/76Winger

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3202 days


#5 posted 11-15-2009 07:32 AM

It is quite common for Gaboon Ebony to have the lighter streaks of color. Some of us prefer to have the naturalness of the wood remain in order to show that the wood really is Gaboon Ebony. The cane might look too plasticy if done entirely in one solid black finish. I also recommend you talk with your client about these issues. There are ways to darken the lighter areas. Remember, Ebony is very dense and does not absorb stains the same way other more porous woods do.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1047 posts in 2596 days


#6 posted 11-15-2009 03:08 PM

When I want something “black”, my preference is to use walnut with black aniline dye. It may work with ebony, but as others have mentioned, I prefer the natural look of the wood. Especially with ebony.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

View bigike's profile

bigike

4050 posts in 2753 days


#7 posted 11-15-2009 03:59 PM

if u put vinagar in a glass jar and put steel whool let sit for a day use this mix to get the wood black and then put a finnish on it cuz it comes out looking kinda deep purple or a chalkey black depends on the wood used but its cheaper than aniline dye but u have to wait a day or two thats the only thing it works real good on walnut.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View merlinsr2's profile

merlinsr2

12 posts in 2580 days


#8 posted 11-15-2009 05:53 PM

Hello and thanks for the thoughts and ideas about my project. My client is very specific about using ebony and would like to have it a solid black. The cane is finished except for the finish. It looks great. John, you mentioned that there are ways to darken the lighter areas and I was wondering if you would share those with me? And bigike, you talked about the vinegar and steel wool stain, will that work on ebony? I really appreciate the input and am looking forward to being on lumberjocks.

View merlinsr2's profile

merlinsr2

12 posts in 2580 days


#9 posted 11-15-2009 05:54 PM

Hello and thanks for the thoughts and ideas about my project. My client is very specific about using ebony and would like to have it a solid black. The cane is finished except for the finish. It looks great. John, you mentioned that there are ways to darken the lighter areas and I was wondering if you would share those with me? And bigike, you talked about the vinegar and steel wool stain, will that work on ebony? I really appreciate the input and am looking forward to being on lumberjocks.

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 3233 days


#10 posted 11-15-2009 06:05 PM

the vinegar and steel wool probably won’t work on the ebony… you need the tannins that are found in oak like woods to produce the ebonizing. unless you want to apply tannins and everything the steel wool isn’t your best option. I would go with the black die. I would personally just buy the pre mixed because its easier. General Finishes makes wonderful dies and then you can go to the craft store and get some water based India Ink and add a little bit of that to the dye. That will turn it as black as is possible. most dies that you find are just a really dark blue or purple so adding the india ink will give you a true deep dark black.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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