Custom Cane #147: Black & White Ebony, Afzelia Pommele, Tiger Maple, Gabon Ebony, Freshwater Pearls

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Project by mmh posted 02-07-2014 05:13 AM 4203 views 2 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an attempt in using naturally colored woods together with stained hardwoods. I usually stay away from using any form of stain or dye, as I believe the natural beauty of the wood should be shown and highlighted with a simple finish of oil, wax or poly combination that also protects the wood. Showing off the natural grain and coloration of a piece of wood made by Mother Nature is more gratifying than altering something with paint.

Upon the request of a client who loves vivid colors, I ventured into using aniline dyes for this project. The request was to use Black & White Ebony for the handle and the shaft should be quite brilliant in color. Orange is a favorite, but the brilliance of woods such as Padauk, Bloodwood, Redheart, Pink Ivory, Purpleheart, etc., are short lived once oxidization sets in and after even a few weeks, months, years there is a notable change in color.

I suggested using a shaft made of hard Tiger Maple knowing that I could get an interesting depth with the natural figuring of this wood. I stained the maple with a black dye and sanded it down to reveal black stripes within the natural white of the maple. After drying I applied several additional layers of yellow and reds to mimic the colors of the collar made from an extraordinary piece of Afzelia pommele. This piece of Afzelia has a very tight pommele grain of finely quilted blisters rarely found in wood. One can only imagine the intense beauty of the original log that this small piece of wood came from.

The dyes are not colorfast, so I had some problem with keeping them from bleeding. To protect the coloration I applied a coat of CA glue, which also gave problem with the bleeding so this project took a lot longer than expected. In hind sight I should have used a permanent dye, or maybe my problem was using water instead of alcohol. In any case, the colors are vibrant and now water proof.

Although I am quite pleased with the end results of this piece, I think I will be shying away from using dyes.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

19 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4696 days

#1 posted 02-07-2014 05:44 AM

View Greg's profile


335 posts in 3993 days

#2 posted 02-07-2014 07:10 AM

Hi Meilie, great looking cane! I absolutely love the layers of grain on the B&W Ebony-Reminds me of how Zircote looks. I thought it was a curly Koa shaft at first. You know, I have shied away from dyes for all the same reasons you listed, and your experience helps solidify my stance, so thank you for sharing your experiences and enlightening us.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

340 posts in 4198 days

#3 posted 02-07-2014 07:16 AM

Stunningly beautiful Meilie. Nice play of tones on the woods you used.

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines, Instagram benji reyes

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3251 days

#4 posted 02-07-2014 08:52 AM

She’s a real beauty! Very fine craftsmanship with quite the combination of exotic woods. Thanks fo sharing.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View kani's profile


102 posts in 2705 days

#5 posted 02-07-2014 08:53 AM

Awe some jop.congratulations

-- kani

View Northwest29's profile


1710 posts in 3609 days

#6 posted 02-07-2014 09:45 AM

Visually quite stunning! It sure will be a unique cane – should create a real ‘buzz’ as the client uses it. Might bring you more clients.

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4135 days

#7 posted 02-07-2014 11:10 AM

always hard to learn “on the job”. I have had to use scrap wood and try all the dye/finish combos first..otherwise I was in for stunning surprises! Glad you got the cane done. The b&w ebony is sure stunning. BTW there are places that would take your cane shaft and under high pressure use colored resin and force it thru the shaft. I have no idea the cost. But it would make your shaft hold color and would be very tough.

View Ken90712's profile


18028 posts in 4308 days

#8 posted 02-07-2014 11:54 AM

Ahh this is a real work of art! I too have had some issues with dyes but mine were probaly self induced from not knowing. The colors and design of this is beautiful, what great work.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Woodfix's profile


354 posts in 4419 days

#9 posted 02-07-2014 12:10 PM

Magnificent. It is amazing when it all works out. Concept, idea, design, construction, finish and result

-- I would rather have the most memories, than the most money.

View steve_in_ohio's profile


1195 posts in 2730 days

#10 posted 02-07-2014 01:37 PM

Wow, that turned out amazing, love the mixture of woods, great work

-- steve, simple and effective

View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 3369 days

#11 posted 02-07-2014 01:39 PM

the time you put in to it show ,the one that gets it will be happy

-- Nimkee** Joe

View A.Scott's profile


230 posts in 3095 days

#12 posted 02-07-2014 01:59 PM

Wow…this is a beautiful piece of woodwork.
I viewed several of the other canes you made and they are great builds also. All of those you have made makes the one I made the other day rather dull.

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3923 days

#13 posted 02-07-2014 02:08 PM

Incredible use of wood combos.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 2714 days

#14 posted 02-07-2014 02:13 PM

Nice piece of work, I especially like the handle of B & W Ebony….great idea

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5520 days

#15 posted 02-07-2014 02:13 PM

Beautiful job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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