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  • Ebonized Wood - More Questions then Answers

    Hi folks, .
    I've tried my hand at ebonizing a piece of oak, and now I have more questions.
    # 1 - My vinegar & steel wool have been sitting since Sat. there is no change in the color of the vinegar,
    Is the vinegar suppose to turn color while it is processing? If the solution does turn color what color should it be?
    # 2 - I have the vinegar & steel wool in a glass mason jar,
    Does the solution have to be in a plastic container (Trouts recipe) or is glass OK (Mac Simmons recipe)?
    The pic below shows my first attempt, and believe me it looks a lot darker in the pic then it actually is. It has been a couple hours since I put the solution on this wood, and it is purple not black.
    #3 - Does the wood actually need to soak in the solution until it turns black?
    I'm sorry if I'm being a pest with this, but I have read & reread all the posts about this, obviously I'm missing something can someone point out what it is?
    Ebonized Wood 001.jpg
    When I added some rusty things to my vinegar, it turned rust color, is this right?
    TIA
    Marsha
    Attached Files
    LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

  • #2
    Ebonizing Stain

    Hi Marsha,

    Oak is an easy wood to Ebonize as it contains lots of tannin.

    I've tried my hand at ebonizing a piece of oak, and now I have more questions.
    # 1 - My vinegar & steel wool have been sitting since Sat. there is no change in the color of the vinegar,
    Is the vinegar suppose to turn color while it is processing? If the solution does turn color what color should it be?
    A RUSTY YELLOWISH COLOR
    # 2 - I have the vinegar & steel wool in a glass mason jar,
    Does the solution have to be in a plastic container (Trouts recipe) or is glass OK (Mac Simmons recipe)?
    GLASS OR PLASTIC OR CERAMICS ARE ALL GOOD TO USE, NO CANS.
    The pic below shows my first attempt, and believe me it looks a lot darker in the pic then it actually is. It has been a couple hours since I put the solution on this wood, and it is purple not black.
    YOU PROBABLY USED RED OAK (RIGHT) I MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE ABOUT MAKING UP A "TEST SAMPLE" BEFORE YOU PUT IT ON YOUR WOOD FOR YOUR PROJECT. YOU COULD USE THE BACK OF THE WOOD IF YOU DON"T HAVE ANY OTHER SAMPLE WOOD.
    #3 - Does the wood actually need to soak in the solution until it turns black?
    I'm sorry if I'm being a pest with this, but I have read & reread all the posts about this, obviously I'm missing something can someone point out what it is?
    YOUR NOT A PEST, YOU JUST WANT TO KNOW.
    NO, YOU DO NOT NEED TO SOAK THE WOOD, YOU CAN WIPE OR BRUSH THE STAIN ON THE WOOD. IT CAN BE REPEATED IF NEEDED.
    Click image for larger version Name: Ebonized Wood 001.jpg Views: 3 Size: 14.0 KB ID: 1092
    When I added some rusty things to my vinegar, it turned rust color, is this right?
    YES, SEE MY ANSWER TO QUESTION #1.

    I HOPE THIS HELPS.

    Mac S

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks very much Mac. Your reply is excellent.
      Yes it is red oak. I'm not really concerned about this particular piece. I want to know that I'm headed in the right direction. I want to try this technique on maple, and it needs to be very dark when I'm done, because my customer actually wants me to use epony, but I refused, it's too hard to cut, not that maples' much easier! I'm going to test a piece of the maple and see how it turns out.
      Thanks again Mac,
      Marsha
      LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

      Comment


      • #4
        Marsha,
        My vinegar solution remained clear. The first time I did it, I thought I did something wrong, hehehe. It's worked beautifully on Walnut and Mahogany for me so far.
        Kevin
        Scrollsaw Patterns Online
        Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671

        Comment


        • #5
          Marsha

          Maples normally will turn different colors of yellow.

          You might want to make up a jar of "tannin tea" put in a couple of tea bags in hot water and let it set over night, then apply the tea to the maple wood and let it dry, then apply the ebonizing stain, it will get darker brown, not black, but as you know, ebony wood is dark brownish black, so it may work for you.

          If the ebony stain looked "clear" at the time, it will eventually turn to a 'rust color,' the more iron you add, the darker it will turn.

          Good Luck, let us know how you make out.

          Mac S
          Last edited by MacS; 10-06-2006, 11:27 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mac
            Marsha

            Maples normally will turn different colors of yellow.

            You might want to make up a jar of "tannin tea" put in a couple of tea bags in hot water and let it set over night, then apply the tea to the maple wood and let it dry, then apply the ebonizing stain, it will get darker brown, not black, but as you know, ebony wood is dark brownish black, so it may work for you.

            If the ebony stain looked "clear" at the time, it will eventually turn to a 'rust color,' the more iron you add, the darker it will turn.

            Good Luck, let us know how you make out.

            Mac S
            Thanks Mac, for all your help.
            I'll post a pic of the maple when I finish.
            Marsha
            LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

            Comment


            • #7
              Text gor Ebonizing photos from above thread

              The photo shows natural baltic birch - oak - walnut on the bottom, the top shows what happens when the ebonizing stain was applied.

              The second photo shows the natural woods-burr oak-red oak- spalted maple - walnut, the tops show when "tannin tea" and the ebonizing stain was applied.
              Note, the spalted maple and the red oak are brownish in color as they contain little tannin, even with the tannin tea the did not turn black.

              The third photo shows that you should always make up complete samples so you see the "final results" before you start your projects.

              Comment


              • #8
                I tried some ebonizing tonight on walnut blanks and Poplar and this is what I got two coats on the walnut and it turned fairly dark not fully black but good enough for me and I am sure with further coating it would turn darker, the poplar wasn't so easy it turned a rustic brown and turned to a much darker redish brown with each coating
                Daryl S. Walters Psycotic scroller with a DeWalt 788

                Comment


                • #9
                  All WOODS ARE NOT EQUAL

                  Daryl

                  Thanks for your imput, let me add this comment to this disccusion, regarding the final color of every species of wood, as a finisher I know, that the color of woods can vary from board to board. I think, that generally, I explained about the woods that are high in tanniin will blacken (if the ebonizing stain is high with iron oxide from the steel wool,rusty nails, screws, etc.) If the woods are low in tannin the woods will vary from yellows to brownish yellows in most cases, if you apply the "tannin tea" the woods will darken to shades to brown, even extrra dark brown. ( I never found a true black with a wood low in tannin even with the tannin tea, but then again I never tested every specie of wood)

                  In just about every article that I write on finishing, I always include something about first making up "start to finish" samples, I think, from the post from those who made up samples, you can see why you need to spend the time "first testing" the ebonizing stain on the woods you want to use, if its a wood low in tannin then make the "tannin tea" if you want, but then you need to test again, once you have the color, then move on to "clear coating" the the stain (this will protect the piece, and make it easier to clean.

                  Its up to you to do the testing, I wish you all good Ebonizing.

                  Think twice, and finish once.

                  Mac S

                  I tried some ebonizing tonight on walnut blanks and Poplar and this is what I got two coats on the walnut and it turned fairly dark not fully black but good enough for me and I am sure with further coating it would turn darker, the poplar wasn't so easy it turned a rustic brown and turned to a much darker redish brown with each coating

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've finished ebonizing my test pieces of maple. I am pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out, and how quickly the wood changed color.
                    Ebonized Wood Maple Test Pieces.jpg
                    These are cut offs from the actual chess pieces I want to ebonize.
                    The one on the left is without the tannin process and the one on the right is with the tannin process, it turned out a lot darker then I expected. I'm hopeful my customer will also like the finished result. I'm sure with a couple coats of clear finish it will look even darker.

                    Thanks to everyone, who helped me through this process.

                    Marsha
                    LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Adusting the ebony color...

                      Marsha,

                      You can adjust the color strenght, by reducing the solution with either water or vinagar.

                      When working on different woods, it very important to make up samples so you know if the color is to weak or to strong.

                      As, with all finishing, making up samples is a valuble asset that will keep you out of having problems later on in the process.

                      Good Luck

                      Comment

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