Black finish on furniture

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Forum topic by Jack Dalton posted 05-18-2010 10:20 PM 3800 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jack Dalton

30 posts in 3414 days

05-18-2010 10:20 PM

I am doing two small tables made of poplar and my wife wants them black. What is the best practice for this kind of finish?

-- I leave behind little bits of beauty to compensate for for my impact on this world.

13 replies so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3485 days

#1 posted 05-18-2010 10:28 PM

I’ve used india ink, followed up by a coat of ebony stain…

See my post here Click for details

The one shown is Maple, but I made a second table just like that one out of pine and they look identical, until you pick them up and feel the weight difference.

-- San Diego, CA

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4245 days

#2 posted 05-18-2010 10:28 PM

There are any number of dyes out there… I’ve even heard plain old fashioned RIT dye for clothing works well on wood. Of course, if she really wants pure black, Ive use brush-on enamel with good results.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mrg's profile


827 posts in 3026 days

#3 posted 05-18-2010 10:44 PM

Minwax has ebony stain and wenge stain. Your local paint store could tell you also or may even be able to mix you some black stain. I know my local supplier mixes custom stains for you.

-- mrg

View dustyal's profile


1295 posts in 3502 days

#4 posted 05-18-2010 10:49 PM

I have quart of black water based dye I can bring Thursday night if you want to try it… I used it on poplar… but I didn’t get solid black… grain did show. Recall my yellow shaker table? Well, I have yellow and red and blue if she would like a little color…!

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4427 days

#5 posted 05-19-2010 12:32 AM

There you go Jacl. Lots of suggestions.

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

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


405 posts in 3048 days

#6 posted 05-19-2010 01:08 AM

transtint black dye, seal with a coat of shellac, a coat of black transtint color tinted lacquer, and a couple of coats of clear lacquer polished and buffed will yield a look similar to Asian black lacquered furniture.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3508 days

#7 posted 05-19-2010 01:16 AM

You should be able to get black lacquer, however, if you go for the glossy piano finish, be sure to spend plenty of time sanding and prepping the surface. If not, any imperfection shows through.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#8 posted 05-19-2010 02:37 AM

India ink works looks good

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlesNeil's profile


2410 posts in 3897 days

#9 posted 05-19-2010 05:42 AM

yep give the dye a slug of India Ink… and call it a day… its black and serious about it, wear gloves…

View Les Casteel's profile

Les Casteel

160 posts in 3086 days

#10 posted 05-22-2010 12:45 AM

When I do black, I don’t use stain!, I use a dye of some sort, alcohol based usually, but the india ink thing is worth a try. Whatever you use finish up with a quality wipe on poly and rub out the last coat.

Good Luck!

-- Les, Missouri,

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3585 days

#11 posted 05-22-2010 03:49 PM

Steel wool dissolved in vinegar works pretty well.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 3921 days

#12 posted 05-22-2010 04:57 PM

Hello Jack,

I’m also a huge fan of using India ink and if you’re looking for a DEEP can’t go wrong.
I gave up using dyes a long time ago; they just didn’t go black, fast enough for me.

The base of the clock below is made from red oak and was dyed with India ink.
It took two coats of India ink and you couldn’t get it any blacker if you tried.

All the best

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers:

View wisardd1's profile


29 posts in 2962 days

#13 posted 05-22-2010 07:17 PM

Here is a good article on Piano Black

-- Hopefully, these gifts shall last much longer than I

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