Ebonize: How to naturally stain wood

Ebonizar la madera

For Spoon Carving we can use different types of wood but they are generally light colored woods. Although there are naturally dark woods like Black Walnut. In this article you will learn how to Ebonize or naturally darken the wood.

The first method of Ebonizing consists of using Iron Acetate that reacts with the tannins of the wood to produce a dark tone. The more tannins the wood has, the darker the result will be.

Some species used in Spoon Carving and rich in tannins are: Cherry, Beech, Chestnut, Mahogany.

Oak is the wood with the highest tannin content but it is not recommended for Spoon Carving as it is very hard and fibrous.

It is possible to add tannins to any wood by applying a Tannic Acid solution. A homemade option is to use Black Tea which is high in tannins.

How to make Iron Acetate to stain wood?

Iron Acetate or Ferrous Acetate is the mix between Acetic Acid: VINEGAR and Ferric Oxide that we obtain from STEEL WOOL.

To obtain the solution, we must soak some steel wool or steel shavings in white vinegar for at least 3 days, in a glass jar with a perforated lid to allow gas to escape (IMPORTANT!).

Using a coffee filter, we can strain the liquid to remove all solids before applying it.

As you can see in the previous video, first we apply the Tannic Acid solution and then the Ferrous Acetate that will react with the tannins to produce the black color.

Once we get the tone that we want and the wood has dried, we can apply our regular finish like Oil or Wax.


Another way to Ebonize: Bake your Spoon

A different way to darken the wood is baking it at a low temperature.

We must pay close attention to the process and make sure the spoon has an even temperature all around its surface.

If the spoon has an even thickness, it will bake and darken consistently but if it is thinner in some areas, these will more likely burn faster.

Remember never to use synthetic paints that can be toxic, especially in the bowl of the spoon.

On the handle you can use many different types of decorative techniques.

I encourage you all to experiment with these Ebonizing techniques and share your results and comments.

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