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Forum topic by Knockonit posted 01-08-2018 12:03 AM 583 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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675 posts in 974 days

01-08-2018 12:03 AM

Well i read a little ditty on here a while back in regards to ebonizing wood.
So, i made up some iron oxide, (or what ever they call it) actually let it set a week.
I did some red oak, and well it did ok, not as black as i’d liked, second coat turned it sorta brown.

I did some cherry, misc. plywood, some pistachio, now that got dark, boy howdy did it. ebony dark.
Walnut did ok,

So i ordered some chubacca tea (not really the name, but its what my grandaughter tried to call it when i was ordering it.
So will give it a go again, once it arrives,

So any additional advice would be greatly welcomed.
thanks and happy sunday, i am glad i made it thru another one.
Rj in az

-- Living the dream

5 replies so far

View shipwright's profile


8555 posts in 3570 days

#1 posted 01-08-2018 01:41 AM

I ebonize a lot using ferrous ion solution. (rust and vinegar) I find it works extremely well if you understand it.
First it works on tannins in the wood so if the wood is low in tannins don’t expect great blacks. Generally brown woods are high in tannins. Walnut can be ebonized to easily pass for ebony. Oaks work well too.
One thing that may be causing your less than great results is that a week isn’t a long time for making the solution. The best solution I ever made was mixing flaking rust and vinegar in a jar for a couple of weeks. It may have been more.
Steel wool works but I found the rust worked even better.

Check out this blog.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View htl's profile


5125 posts in 1931 days

#2 posted 01-12-2018 11:09 AM

Would just like to add that when dry the stained wood doesn’t look that great, then you add a finish in my case Minwax Danish oil and the model tires went dark.
There was not mention of a finish being added.

The only problem I have with it is it being water based it raises the grain which is a problem for many of my needs as a model builder.
Just my $.02

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

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8555 posts in 3570 days

#3 posted 01-12-2018 03:23 PM

htl, have you tried an alcohol based dye?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Lazyman's profile


5410 posts in 2159 days

#4 posted 01-12-2018 05:35 PM

I’ve used vinegar and steel wool with great success though the type of wood makes a huge difference. As Paul said the tannin content is the key and darker woods generally have more tannin than lighter colored woods. I have had some success simply brewing some really strong black tea to add some tannin to the wood to darken it a bit. On my tool drawer project, I ebonized red oak handles and they turned out great but I experimented with white oak and it looked more of a reddish color sort of like cherry heartwood. Oddly enough I tried it on some maple and it turned black within seconds. It actually started with a slight purplish cast but pretty quickly became jet black.

I outlined my ebonizing process in the 8th comment if you are interested. I probably should have put that in a blog. Make sure that you wash any oil off the steel wool with a detergent and rinse it well before you put it into the vinegar.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View woodman88's profile


147 posts in 3421 days

#5 posted 01-12-2018 06:25 PM

I Ebonize quite a bit and my go to finish is Behlens Solar Lux jet black dye with just a bit of black India ink added to it. I have sprayed it on maple and oak mostly.You can check out my projects page on the DVD cabinet and also the edging on my new workbench.

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