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Ebonizing (Read 1,124 times)
 
Bruce Kamp
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Ebonizing
Jul 6th, 2016 at 8:47pm
 
I have been reading that steel wool and vinegar will make a good Ebonizing agent on high tannin wood. 
What else is used as a substitute for ebony?
I see a lot of rings and finials made of black looking wood. With ebony being so expensive I would imagine that there are some good alternatives out there.

Thank you
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Len Layman
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #1 - Jul 6th, 2016 at 9:12pm
 
USMC black shoe die will work well.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #2 - Jul 7th, 2016 at 8:49am
 
Bruce Kamp wrote on Jul 6th, 2016 at 8:47pm:
I see a lot of rings and finials made of black looking wood. With ebony being so expensive I would imagine that there are some good alternatives out there.


If you choose to dye a lighter colored wood for finials, you want to make sure you use a relatively hard species (holds fine details better) with a tight grain pattern, this will help to more closely mimic ebony.

There are over 30 different types of ebony from my last count, not all are pure black and there is a wide variety in price.
There are several types of Blackwood that can be a good substitute without having to resort to dying, like Burmese or African.

just a word of caution, I wouldn't buy any wood unseen. Just because it's called ebony or blackwood, doesn't mean it's pure black (if thats what you're after) many can be more brown with few if any black streaks.
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Bruce Kamp
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #3 - Jul 7th, 2016 at 11:00am
 
As I understand it, the vinegar solution actually changes the color of the wood by altering the color of the tannins. I would think polish or dye might not penetrate enough to withstand turning.
I could see using a dye on a finial after it was turned. It would be like staining it before a finish coat. However in a ring of a segmented bowl I can't dye just that ring. I need something that penetrates far enough to withstand turning so that I can color it before I glue it to the other rings.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #4 - Jul 7th, 2016 at 11:45am
 
Bruce Kamp wrote on Jul 7th, 2016 at 11:00am:
However in a ring of a segmented bowl I can't dye just that ring. I need something that penetrates far enough to withstand turning so that I can color it before I glue it to the other rings.


There are suppliers that specialize in colored veneers, however you didn't mention how large of a ring you are constructing. I actually thought. you were talking about a ring for your finger.
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #5 - Jul 7th, 2016 at 2:17pm
 
Bruce Kamp wrote on Jul 7th, 2016 at 11:00am:
I need something that penetrates far enough to withstand turning so that I can color it before I glue it to the other rings.

Ebonizing is only skin deep, sanding would remove most of the color.

Dyed veneer is usually accomplished under a strong vacuum.

Back in the day when I was a kid I remember a science project where we placed a stalk of celery into a cup of red water. Over the course of the day we could see the stalk change color. The next morning the stalk was almost completely red.

Someone once tried this with freshly cut poplar logs, and it worked well. Obviously this isn't a small undertaking. IMO you would be better off finding woods that are naturally colored by mother nature.

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Ed Weber
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #6 - Jul 7th, 2016 at 3:25pm
 
Ron Sardo wrote on Jul 7th, 2016 at 2:17pm:
IMO you would be better off finding woods that are naturally colored by mother nature.


The only way to go IMO  Thumbs Up
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Bruce Kamp
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #7 - Jul 7th, 2016 at 8:43pm
 
The rings are more veneer thickness in the segmented bowl. I am thinking 1/16", maybe 1/8". I would probably laminate them to a thicker lam board and then cut the segments.
I understand that ebony, and most likely other black woods, will be expensive. Trying to understand what substitutes might work.
Thanks
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Ed Weber
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #8 - Jul 7th, 2016 at 9:28pm
 
You can get dyed veneer almost anywhere
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #9 - Jul 8th, 2016 at 9:07pm
 
Bruce, Fieblings USMC black dye will dye maple veneer black.  I learned of it from a Kentucky turner named John Jordan.   This is a leather dye and penetrates well.  Avoid getting it on skin because you pretty much get to wear it off.

It is used on turnings just before starting the finish cycle (after sanding) to avoid the differences of penetration with density.

Have made brown ebony much much darker with it.  Brown ebony was both less expensive and less brittle.

Sauers Veneer has been my go to place for a lot of years.  At one time the were the source for Woodcraft sold veneers (and may still be).

India inks or acrylic inks can be used to color veneers too.
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #10 - Jul 9th, 2016 at 4:03pm
 
Bruce Kamp wrote on Jul 7th, 2016 at 8:43pm:
The rings are more veneer thickness in the segmented bowl. I am thinking 1/16", maybe 1/8".


Just so we are on the same page, commercially available veneer is about 1/28" to 1/40" even down to 1/64" for flexible veneer.

If you can't resaw the wood yourself you might find craft wood for scrollers that thick, or more expensive tonewood (for musical instruments).

Good Luck.

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Ed Weber
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #11 - Jul 9th, 2016 at 6:39pm
 
Depending on your equipment (bandsaw & drum sander) you can easily resaw ebony pen blanks. A standard 3/4" pen blank can yield several pieces, depending on desired thickness, blade kerf and sanding.
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Ken Vaughan
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #12 - Jul 10th, 2016 at 10:12am
 

"Thick veneer" is the term used to describe the veneers of yesteryears.  The term normally is for 1/16 up to 1/8 inch thick sheets.  At 1/16 inch plan to pay 3-5 dollars a square foot for plain wood.  For banding and segmentation separations, grain counts little. 

Resaw and drum Sanders get into the discussion if you are going to use lots of thick veneers. 

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Ed Weber
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #13 - Jul 10th, 2016 at 12:09pm
 
Ken Vaughan wrote on Jul 10th, 2016 at 10:12am:
"Thick veneer" is the term used to describe the veneers of yesteryears.  The term normally is for 1/16 up to 1/8 inch thick sheets.  At 1/16 inch plan to pay 3-5 dollars a square foot for plain wood.  For banding and segmentation separations, grain counts little.

Resaw and drum Sanders get into the discussion if you are going to use lots of thick veneers.


First of all Veneer

Full Definition of veneer

1:  a thin sheet of a material: as a :  a layer of wood of superior value or excellent grain to be glued to an inferior wood b :  any of the thin layers bonded together to form plywood c :  a plastic or porcelain coating bonded to the surface of a cosmetically imperfect tooth

2:  a protective or ornamental facing (as of brick or stone)

3 :  a superficial or deceptively attractive appearance, display, or effect :  facade, gloss <a veneer of tolerance>

Veneer is a term for a covering, if your using a thin piece of wood between layers (segmenting) it's no longer veneer.
Thin and thick are vague and relative terms as to be meaningless.
Common store bought sheets of Veneer are (1/28" to 1/40" even down to 1/64")  as Ron pointed out, part of the reason for cutting your own veneer is so you can control the thickness for your application. Some store bought veneers in the above mentioned thickness's can be easily damaged simply handling them.

A veneer of 1/16"  may be considered thick by industry standards, after all they are trying to maximize profits by getting the most yield out of each blank.
As mentioned above, Veneer is a term used for a protective or ornamental facing. It doesn't mean wood and it doesn't have a set thickness.

As someone who makes segmented turnings, I regularly resaw and sand thin pieces for my work. (they are only considered veneer if they are on the face).
This can be easily accomplished with a bandsaw and a drum sander. Using a sanding sled, you can sand to whatever thickness you desire.
Here is an ornament I made showing thin pieces made using the process I mentioned.
the width of the entire stripe is 1/8". As you can see in the close up, the outer thin strips are thin, uniform and approximately 1/32".
You can save money by cutting thin strips yourself and not having to buy retail veneer sheets. It's also beneficial to maintain color uniformity throughout the piece.
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Bruce Kamp
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #14 - Jul 14th, 2016 at 10:52pm
 
Thank you for all the input. It really has forced me to think this through..
I think for now I am going to go with wenge. I bought a board today, $100, so I have to be frugle with it.
This will let me know if my design ideas make sense.
Thank you again. I did learn a lot from this discussion. That is why I like this forum so much.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #15 - Jul 15th, 2016 at 9:16am
 
Good luck with you design & construction.
There's more than one way to skin a cat, if you're into that sort of thing.
Let us know how you solve you design idea, I'm sure other members would be interested.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Ebonizing
Reply #16 - Jul 15th, 2016 at 7:21pm
 
Wenge veneer I think is fairly common with commercial veneer suppliers.
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