Changing the color and look of wood can be complete with techniques outside of the traditional wood strain. There are a large number of techniques and procedure than are use to improve the overall look of the wood used in any project.
Its a common practice to give your cherry projects a couple days in the sun to accelerate its color shift. The cherry goes from a light brown/pinkish/salmon color to a deep rich medium brown with red undertones. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend you do.
We are in an age when coloring woods simply means using one of the fine staining products that are readily available. Most of these come with instructions on usage and safety. But there is another way to color wood, one that mother nature uses, oxidization.
It can be difficult for some craftsmen to stain a project made from a beautiful hardwood like walnut. A purist might say that staining any wood is unnatural and thoughtless. Sometimes though, a wood requires stain to bring out its hidden beauty. And as woodworkers, most of us appreciate the beauty of grain in wood and it's uncommon for us to hide it.
I read this method of ebonizing wood in a book by Tage Frid a long time ago. It works well on any wood that water will penetrate into. Some woods, like rosewood and lignum vitae do not respond well to this treatment because they don’t absorb water very well.
Recently I’ve experimented further with the ebonizing walnut technique and tried it on other species of wood. The ebonizing solution is made with two common products: vinegar and steel wool. A plastic jar with a plastic lid is best to use because the lid won’t rust.
When I first heard of this product I was a bit skeptical, after all how could someone actually put a stain in a spray can that wouldn't clog up the nozzle. Well, someone at Krylon figured out how to do it, and it works like a charm.
There are three general classification of bleaches used on wood; peroxide or "two-part" bleaches, chlorine bleach and oxalic acid. Each type will work on some colors and not on others. The trick in using any bleach is selecting the correct one for the stain. Knowing beforehand what made the stain in the first place will help in selecting the correct bleach.
How to Ebonize Wood
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