Black Stain Recommendation, Please

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Forum topic by MT_Stringer posted 09-18-2012 04:17 AM 2251 views 1 time favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3183 posts in 3468 days

09-18-2012 04:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine oak

I was asked for a quote to build a bench with storage cubbies. We haven’t discussed the type of wood construction but she did mention a black finish. UGH!

Here is a link to a similar item that depics what she is asking for.

Note: I am thinking either using white pine or oak plywood with edge banding for the project. Depends on what she wants to pay…maybe two of them; one for home, one for her classroom.

So what would you recommend for a black stain?

Thanks in advance. Your thoughts appreciated.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

29 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3088 days

#1 posted 09-18-2012 04:23 AM

If she likes that picture, you’re looking at dye or paint.

Of your two wood suggestions, pine blotches (especially noticeable the darker the color) and oak is two toned (the hard stuff doesn’t like to darken much).

For an even look, with dye, there are better wood choices. Buy some dye, make some samples, show ‘em to her. It’s worth the time.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View rance's profile


4267 posts in 3398 days

#2 posted 09-18-2012 04:26 AM

I’ve seen Oak dyed pitch black. It was gorgeous. I’m not sure how the Pine would look. You should do some samples for BOTH of you to look at before deciding. I’d be interested to know how much you quote, given the price in the link above. I don’t think I could build that in Pine for that price.

As for coloring, I’d start with General’s Java Gel Stain. Only because I successfully used it once.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View bondogaposis's profile


5151 posts in 2589 days

#3 posted 09-18-2012 04:31 AM

Make it out of maple plywood and paint it black.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 2495 days

#4 posted 09-18-2012 04:44 AM

You could try to ebonizing the wood. Its an old school technique that works well.
try this link

View usnret's profile


184 posts in 2746 days

#5 posted 09-18-2012 04:53 AM

Use India ink to dye the wood black. It works great.

-- Chief Petty Officer USN(RET) 1991-2011

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3982 days

#6 posted 09-18-2012 12:24 PM

I mix water based black aniline dye and India ink, then I add some black tint to my oil based top coat, to even out the color.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3468 days

#7 posted 09-18-2012 05:19 PM

@ Lee – that is not the picture of what she wants, but overall, that is what she wants…36W inches x 14D x 16H with three cubbies. Her picture shows a padded cushion which she would have to make.

@Others – I would rather use plywood so I don’t have to glue up the white pine to get a finished depth of 14 inches. The project can be built out of a 1/2 sheet of plywood. Just so happens I have a half sheet of Red Oak but I could get some Maple if need be.

Dye, tint…UGH! although we are talking black color, I am partially color blind. Gray is one of my favorite colors! :-) And believe me when I say it is really tough on my photography.

I guess I should take a ride to Woodcraft and see what those guys have to say. They carry the General Finishes stuff.

Note: I got the request via my wife’s text with a picture. So I need to talk to her in person. She is a good friend of my daughter and a first year teacher also. I really don’t mind helping her out if we can figure out what the final product should look like.

Thanks for your advice.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2752 days

#8 posted 09-18-2012 05:33 PM

Minwax’s Ebony is fairly black, and it will allow a little of the grain to show through, and is easy to apply.
Other than that, Behlen Solar Lux Stain Dye would be the product I would choose.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2348 days

#9 posted 09-18-2012 05:52 PM

I really like genuine India Ink on open grained woods. I’ve used it on ash and oak, for things like statue altars, with beautiful results. It’s got to end up blaaaaaaaaaaaaack to look best, not almost black with tints of other colors.

To me, lots of the made for woodworking products fade a bit to a purple tint. Some even start that color.

Here’s an example from Dick Blick.

I normally apply it with a foam brush. Pre-raise the grain with water, sand to 220, apply the ink, spray with your favorite clear coat.

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2931 days

#10 posted 09-18-2012 06:47 PM

Doesn’t Transtint make a black? I’m honestly not sure.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View horsch's profile


42 posts in 2902 days

#11 posted 09-18-2012 07:33 PM

I haven’t tried it, but hope to some day. This review of black shellac looks really cool, although it is not always available from the website that supplies it.

View Ben's profile


50 posts in 2922 days

#12 posted 09-18-2012 07:45 PM

I used minwax polyshades black to do a dresser and it worked out great. It was oak. I know its in bad form to use poly and stain in one, but for this project it worked out well. I used one coat on the drawers as we wanted the grain and some of the brown wood to show. But two coats on the top blackened it well. I finished with watco wipe on poly and my wife loves it.

-- Wood is good.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3396 days

#13 posted 09-18-2012 08:19 PM

My preferred method is to mix some of the Mixwax Ebony with some poly and spray it on. It’s certainly black, and with it you can control the amount of transparency with the number of coats. I did an aquarium stand using this method…among other things.

-- jay,

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2599 days

#14 posted 09-18-2012 09:01 PM

The blackest black I’ve ever used is Ronan Black Japan Color. It’s a paste that can be thinned to get any density desired. It dries pretty fast and can be topped with any clear coat.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Woodknack's profile


12464 posts in 2618 days

#15 posted 09-18-2012 09:25 PM

Use aniline black dye. One you realize how easy it is (mix, spray on) you’ll be thanking yourself.

-- Rick M,

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