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How do you ebonize maple

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Forum topic by DonH posted 09-16-2010 02:51 AM 7244 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DonH

494 posts in 2280 days


09-16-2010 02:51 AM

Hi – I am working on a project that requires ebonizing maple. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to do that so that the maple can take a few knocks without showing white? A deep ebonizing process is what I am looking for as the ebonized portions will be table legs and likely will take an occasional hit with a vacuum cleaner now and again.

Thanks

-- DonH Orleans Ontario


22 replies so far

View newbiewoodworker's profile

newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2290 days


#1 posted 09-16-2010 02:58 AM

Try in the Wood section

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2656 posts in 2989 days


#2 posted 09-16-2010 03:08 AM

At least three baths of India Ink. Wear gloves!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

1406 posts in 2448 days


#3 posted 09-16-2010 03:54 AM

There’s a thread about this right now in the woodworking skill share section.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1510 posts in 3588 days


#4 posted 09-16-2010 06:14 PM

I know I read more on this, but I’ve wanted to try the technique descriped in this Popular Woodworking article about using rust and Quebracho bark tea. Haven’t gotten there yet, but it looks really cool.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View miserybob's profile

miserybob

88 posts in 2507 days


#5 posted 09-16-2010 07:06 PM

I’ve used Quebracho bark and rust on hard maple and it works quite well. It isn’t exactly “deep”, though… I doubt anything is – dye will only penetrate so far. Your best bet is to put a nice, hard finish on top of it and hope for the best.

The handle on this charging station is ebonized maple. 2 years later it’s still nice and dark – I didn’t even put a finish on it, just buffed it well. (Of course, it’s not getting knocked by a vacuum cleaner!)

View DonH's profile

DonH

494 posts in 2280 days


#6 posted 09-16-2010 08:03 PM

Great – thanks for sharing your experience with me. I guess I will try it. Where do you get Quebracho bark ?

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

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DonH

494 posts in 2280 days


#7 posted 09-16-2010 08:05 PM

Miserybob

By the way – that is a great charging station. I really admire the work you have done there.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Castlewerks's profile

Castlewerks

35 posts in 2335 days


#8 posted 09-16-2010 08:17 PM

Don,

Van Dyke’s Taxidermy sells the Quebracho—http://www.vandykestaxidermy.com/product/108025/bark-tan-dye1

Make sure that your family see the box and keep them wondering why you’re ordering from a taxidermy supply :-)

-- -Michael ( http://www.castlewerks.com ) Groton, MA

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1510 posts in 3588 days


#9 posted 09-16-2010 08:49 PM

So silly question on the “deep”: Might this be a place to get some schedule 40 (or 80) PVC, a couple of screw-on end fittings, and an old bike inner tube (for the valve). Drill a hole in one of the screw-on fittings that accepts the inner tube valve. Fill the tube with tanning solution, drop in your wood, pump that sucker up to 80 or 100PSI (wear eye protection, kids, tanning solution expelled at 100PSI would be ugly), and use that for your soaking?

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View Div's profile

Div

1653 posts in 2403 days


#10 posted 09-16-2010 10:04 PM

Throw some fine steel wool in white vinegar and let it stew for a few days. Apply to a sample piece and see what happens! This concoction chemically reacts with the tannin in the wood, different results with different species. It was the way they ebonized in the old days. I’ve used it a lot, never on Maple yet.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Timberwerks's profile

Timberwerks

355 posts in 2624 days


#11 posted 09-16-2010 11:02 PM

Brian Bogg’s method works great. Just make sure you wash and rinse the steel wool well. The base for this table is Ash and ebonized using the Bogg’s method.

-- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Timberwerks-Studio/126415221682

View miserybob's profile

miserybob

88 posts in 2507 days


#12 posted 09-16-2010 11:48 PM

Thanks, Don! I got my Quebracho from Van Dyke’s as well.

Div – Maple doesn’t have enough tannin to react with the rusty vinegar (at least not enough to turn black), so the Quebracho bark (tannic acid) is needed to stimulate the reaction.

Also, Brian Boggs mentions somewhere in his article that he didn’t get better results by repeating the application of quebracho and rusty vinegar. I was able to get a deeper, more consistent black by going through the cycle twice. Experiment on some scrap and see what works best for you.

View DonH's profile

DonH

494 posts in 2280 days


#13 posted 09-17-2010 12:53 AM

Thanks all – I think we have the solution!

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Blake's profile

Blake

3442 posts in 3337 days


#14 posted 09-18-2010 06:46 AM

Why would you want to ebonize maple? Why not start with something darker? Or something that actually ebonizes well?

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

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DonH

494 posts in 2280 days


#15 posted 09-18-2010 01:25 PM

Because I wanted a smooth surface free of grain and I wanted the leg to be strong as the design is a slim tapered leg with not a lot of attachment area to the skirt.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

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