End table set - build #2: Selecting the woods

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Ottacat posted 01-30-2014 11:39 PM 1517 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Starts with a need Part 2 of End table set - build series Part 3: Preparing for ebonizing »
The end tables will be built out of four species of wood.
  • bases (which will be ebonized)
  • veneer for main part of tops
  • ebony inlay
  • accent wood to frame veneer

For ebonizing I wanted to try the vinegar and iron method outline in this article from Popular Woodworking. I also wanted a fairly tight grain so I chose cherry. I had stock for the aprons but needed some 8/4 stock for the legs.

The veneered main part of the tops of course offers a huge variety of choices. Looking through the selection at VeenerSupplies I was struck by the look of Pelin burl so I ordered some. I got three sheets of which I will need only one for these tables so I’ll lots left.

I buy ebony inlay pre-made from Matt over at Inlay Bandings. I buy mine 1/8” x 1/8” by whatever longest he currently has in stock (usually 30” or 36”).

For the border wood I decided on African Mahogany and plan on staining it down a bit. I have some boards in the shop for a future project and I’ll only need about half of one.

5 comments so far

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3541 days

#1 posted 01-31-2014 12:14 AM

BLOG IT, BLOG IT. I love a good build blog. I want to see the ebonizing of the cherry. Great looking veneer! Do you have a vacuum set up or are you using a press?

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Ottacat's profile


532 posts in 2769 days

#2 posted 01-31-2014 12:19 AM

Thanks for your encouragement.

Yes for my veneering I have a vacuum setup. I describe it here –

View CL810's profile


4072 posts in 3905 days

#3 posted 01-31-2014 01:08 AM

I like the plan and wood choices.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View woodshopmike's profile


226 posts in 2581 days

#4 posted 01-31-2014 12:23 PM

You’ll be really happy with the results ebonizing cherry. It gets really dark, I mean black! I did a article on my blog covering the process. I read through the article you listed and here are a few things that I did to get “better” results.

- wash the steel wool in a solvent to remove oil. They are normally treated with oil to prevent rust. This also prevents the vinegar from reacting as quickly. You’ll also end up with oil in your ebonizing solution if you don’t remove it first.

- using a jar with a plastic lid is better than one with a metal lid. The metal lid can rust onto the jar making it a bit harder to remove. I’ve used both and the plastic lidded jar is nicer, but don’t sweat it too much.

Aside from that, I’ll say to not expect the solution to just drain right through the coffee filters. I filtered my first batch and it took for ever. I don’t know if it was just the kind of filter I used, but i started poking little holes in it because it took so long to drain. The next time I made the solution I didn’t bother draining it.

My thinking is that it’s just little iron particles that are in the solution and those aren’t going to soak into the wood anyways. Also, it’s not like the ebonizer is a top coat finish, so you’ll be sanding a little after application just to knock down the raised grain. Also, I just dip a brush or rag into the container, I don’t shake the thing up before application, so the solids should be settled in the bottom. If they do find there way to the top the stuff you didn’t filter out will just get sanded off the surface and end up on the floor anyways… Just a thought.

I’m looking forward to seeing you progress on you build and that is a NICE!!! piece of veneer you have.


View Ottacat's profile


532 posts in 2769 days

#5 posted 01-31-2014 01:09 PM

woodshopmike – thanks for the tips on ebonizing, I’m sure they’ll come in handy.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics