This is How to Ebonize Wood the Easy Way. In this post, you’ll learn a one step process to ebonize a piece of wood and bring out a true, deep black that looks incredibly natural.
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How to Ebonize Wood
There may be a case where you need to deeply color a piece of wood to where it looks like it is pure black all the way through. When you ebonize a piece of wood, you make it look like Ebony, which is completely black.
Ebony wood is very expensive. The pure black form of this wood is very rare, and that’s what drives the price up significantly. However, when you take a lighter colored piece of wood and ebonize it, you get all of the look with a very low price tag.
There are only a few things you need to get right in order to create a piece of wood that looks and feels almost like real Ebony. I’ll show you everything you need to know, and you’ll really enjoy this process.
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Pick the Right Wood Species
When cut and sanded, it almost has the appearance of stone, rather than wood. When you pick out a piece of wood to ebonize, you need to make sure you find something that also has the same properties.
Some of the best pieces of wood that you can find are those with a figure that is almost invisible, very faint or nonexistent grain lines, and a high density. One of the best that you can use is a piece of clear maple with very little or no figure.
You can also use other light colored wood species as well, and you’ll have to do a little bit of experimentation to see if there are any that you’d like more than maple.
See Also: 9 Excellent Tips for Staining Plywood
Pick the Best Piece
Once you are happy with your species choice, it’s now time to pick the absolute best piece of wood to turn black. Even the individual piece of wood is going to make a difference, so you want to pay attention as you are making your selection.
Ebony is a very evenly colored piece of wood, with almost no grain and really nothing going on with the surface. In order to reproduce it in another species, you need to pick the clearest and most uninteresting piece of maple that you can possibly find.
It may sound funny reading that, but the more plain the piece of maple you start with, the easier and the more realistic the process will be when you dye it black.
Maple is an amazing wood species, and there will be a lot of variation in your boards. Pick something that’s plain, defect free, and that is large enough for your particular project.
Dye With Alcohol Stain
The trick to ebonizing a piece of maple is to use the right kind of stain. Stains work a little bit differently depending on the type that you buy, but there is one type that makes the process very easy, and it all looks really natural.
Dye stain, in particular and alcohol soluble dye stain is the best choice for adding a deep black color to your wood. Literally all you need to do is add a few drops of this concentrate to some alcohol, swirl it up, and you’ll have a deep black stain that dries in seconds.
Create a strong stain mixture, and wipe it on the surface of the wood in several coats. The stuff is going to dry so fast that you can literally do dozens of coats in one session, deepening the color every single time you do it.
At some point, the color enhancing effect is going to slow down, and then stop. That’s when you get to slow down, and stop as well. By this point, you should have a very deep, and even black color.
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The Best Alcohol Dye Stain Available
Not all alcohol dies stains are created equal. Some are definitely better than others, though the prices are fairly tight between the different types. The one day stain that is been the best in my experience is transtint.
These dyes come in small bottles with dropper heads. All you do is drip a certain number of drops into a certain amount of alcohol, and you’ll be able to create a stain mixture. I recommend writing down both the number of drops, and the amount of alcohol.
Any time you need to reproduce the same mixture, all you have to do is add the same amount of alcohol and the same amount of drops, and you’ll get the same color. It makes the process really easy, and above all repeatable.
The liquid is also much easier to work with than powdered die stains, which can be a little bit more of a hassle to mix. It’s not the end of the world, but it definitely doesn’t mix quite the same as a few drops that are already a liquid.
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Finishing the Ebonized Wood
The staining itself is definitely not the last step when it comes to bringing out the perfect color in ebonized piece of wood. Just like any other stain, you really don’t see the full color affect until you apply the clear coat.
Depending on what you’re looking for in your Ebony colored maple, you need to select the right sheen for your clear coat. In most cases, a high gloss, or a very flat sheen will have the best luck on a piece of ebonized wood.
The high-gloss can have the effect of creating a look like a piano key. In contrast, the very flat look can make your ebonized would look more like stone. Both are very good looks, and I recommend trying both of them to see which one you like better.
You can apply your clears by hand, or you can apply them with an aerosol. Which ever way you go, the sheen is really what’s going to set the look apart in your final product.
See Also: 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know how easy it is to ebonize a piece of wood, and make it look outstanding, it’s time to get out into your shop and take action. If you don’t have any dye stain, now’s the time to get on Amazon and buy a bottle.
When you get the stain into your shop, mix it according to the directions with some denatured alcohol, and you’ll have a perfect dye that can turn nearly any piece of wood into a solid jet black piece of wood.
This is a fantastic look, and it drastically changes the original color of the material. If you have any questions about how to ebonize a piece of wood, please post a question and I’ll be happy to answer them. Happy building.
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