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Matt Clara
11-15-2009, 02:42 AM
Thanks to Hooserhiver's Metal Stains thread, and RonS's info w/in that thread, I've learned a new technique for naturally producing dark wood from light known as ebonizing. An obvious application for this would be on fingerboards and bridges, to get that ebony look without paying those ebony prices, and without actually using a wood as dense and heavy as ebony. I'm thinking of using it on the neck of a uke going on to my CBU with b&w images printed on it. I did some research and found a good article on the subject of ebonizing wood here (http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/Ebonizing_Wood/).

One question not covered by the article is how to finish (or whether to finish) ebonized wood, so I thought I'd open that up here on the group.

Another question that comes to mind is whether this is ok to use on tops/backs/sides. For instance, can my sitka spruce be made to look as black as night and still sound like sitka spruce (or even close to it)?

dave g
11-15-2009, 03:36 AM
Interesting - I've done something similar with Behlen dye stain (black). I found it looked much better if I then put a dark oil finish on top. Looks kinda neat, but nobody is going to be fooled into thinking it's really ebony...

I may try the method you've found.

Timbuck
11-15-2009, 04:04 AM
I remember some years ago I stained a guitar fingerboard jet black with leather Shoe Dye from the Cobblers shop...it penetrated well and never wore through as I remember.

Matt Clara
11-15-2009, 04:13 AM
I remember some years ago I stained a guitar fingerboard jet black with leather Shoe Dye from the Cobblers shop...it penetrated well and never wore through as I remember.

I've been using leather dyes for wood pipes (the kind for smoking)--it's what the pros recommend. They are alcohol based dyes, and apparently aren't good for larger pieces due to the rapid dry times.

Matt Clara
11-16-2009, 06:41 AM
I wrote Brian Boggs, author of the aforementioned article on ebonizing wood (see first post), to ask him about finishing. Here's what he said:


I don't know of any finish that is not compatible with the ebonizing. I almost always use oil finishes, but I know lacquer is good as well. Have fun with it!
Brian

thistle3585
11-16-2009, 07:01 AM
I use Feibings leather dye. I have used it on fretboards without it coming off on my fingers. I wipe it on after I've fretted the instrument and it wipes right off the frets. It can bleed through tops and backs so that it can be seen on the inside, but if you mix in some lacquer before applying it then that tends to prevent the bleeding. I don't use it much for ebonizing anymore because I prefer the variations in ebony, but I do use it exclusively for tinting my lacquers.

andrew

Matt Clara
11-16-2009, 08:46 AM
I use Feibings leather dye. I have used it on fretboards without it coming off on my fingers. I wipe it on after I've fretted the instrument and it wipes right off the frets. It can bleed through tops and backs so that it can be seen on the inside, but if you mix in some lacquer before applying it then that tends to prevent the bleeding. I don't use it much for ebonizing anymore because I prefer the variations in ebony, but I do use it exclusively for tinting my lacquers.

andrew

Yes, Fiebings is what I have. I used the mahogany to color the bridge on my new cbu in order to make it better match the fretboard. I probably should have used the black, but was afraid I'd over do it.