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Thread: Dying wood black

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default Dying wood black

    I've been asked to build a kitchen side table for a friend at work. He wants it black, but not painted. So I am thinking of using this black dye, http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...190,42996&ap=1
    but I also read recently in a magazine that black dye can have a blueish or greenish tinge (which I don't want), so they recommended to use black India Ink to dye the wood. Has anyone used this? Any other options?
    I havn't decided on the wood yet (I need to look at his other furniture), but probably oak or maple. Thanks.
    Formerly known as "Ryan in Edmonton "

    GALLERY OF PROJECTS: http://lumberjocks.com/galleries/Boomr99#

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Victoria, B.C.
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    Default Re: Dying wood black

    Ryan, there are a couple of ways of turning wood black. A lot of the local woodworkers here use black leather dye which they purchase at their local Tandy leather supply store. One of the members here tried the LV dye but was not happy with the resulting colour.
    http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com...ead.php?t=2289

    However, one of the traditional ways of "ebonizing" wood is to apply a solution made from vinegar & rusted steel onto the wood surface. This chemically reacts with tannins in the wood to blacken it. Apparently works well with oak, not sure how it will work with a light coloured wood such as maple. Here are a few links, you'll find more if you google.
    http://www.oldtoolsshop.com/z_pdf/wo...ingWood-ne.pdf
    http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki...t.aspx?id=2946
    http://www.scrollsawer.com/forum/off-topic/7452.htm
    Last edited by Pete in Victoria; 07-21-2008 at 09:18 AM.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2006
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    Ontario
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    Default Re: Dying wood black

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan in Edmonton View Post
    He wants it black, but not painted. So I am thinking of using this black dye,
    Ryan!

    I have got excellent results by applying black dye, then black wiping stain followed by a black toner and clear topcoats. Gives a nice depth, but still lets some of the grain show. I spray everything, but you could probably hand apply just as effectively.
    Black dyes are notorious for giving shades of other colours, which is why I put on the stain. I have heard that India ink is very good, but haven't used it yet. If you are going to try the rusty nails and vinegar method, make sure you make plenty of complete samples from the same wood as you're using for the table, as the tannin content will drastically affect the colour. If you're using maple, give it a bath in cold tea or get a commercial additive (this was discussed on the Woodweb Pro Finishing Forum a while back http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/forums/finishing.pl click on the Knowledge Base and complete the search box).

    Good luck....................Paul

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    GTA
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    Real Name
    I.B.Woodworker

    Default Re: Dying wood black

    I have done some dying with black indian ink with very good success. The inc is not that cheep. I went to one of the local art supply stores to find it. You might find it cheeper.

    I was dying ash, and found that it would get small pin dots that did not dye. It took a few coats, and it looks nice. The only down side is that it is a very mat finish, and picks up and dust and shows it. You will need to put on some finish over the india inc to combat this.

    mjm

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dying wood black

    I've used vinegar and steel wool a lot. The colour varies from piece to piece and you really can't tell what it looks like until the first coat of finish goes over it. I bought India ink from wallymart and it works good but being water based it really raises the grain and then sanding shows bare wood so you have to do it several times. Minwax does an ebony stain but it needs a lot of coats to produce black. I don't think there is an easy way to do it. All require a lot of samples to be done and all woods respond differently so it will take a lot of patience to come up with a satisfactory black.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Ottawa
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    Default Re: Dying wood black

    The LV dye is nice and black but requires several applications to get it into the grain of oak. It's a bit of a pita. If you have spray equipment, tinted black laquer is the way to go, Target has waterbased products for this too. The Target forum is an excellent source of finishing info.
    Last edited by OttawaP; 07-24-2008 at 07:04 AM.
    Paul

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dying wood black

    Thanks guys. My friend has decided to go with maple and keep it a warmed natural look. So I guess the dyeing won't be required. But good info for next time. Thanks again.
    Formerly known as "Ryan in Edmonton "

    GALLERY OF PROJECTS: http://lumberjocks.com/galleries/Boomr99#

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