Thursday, 23 October 2014


Hi all,
I have been deprived of crafting time for a long time but that is about to come to and end because my wife can't stand the smell of paint. This means that the decorating is being put on hold till next April when we can have the windows open to let the fumes out.

So, I'm like a dog with 2 bones at the moments and, because I was spoilt for choice and didn't know which project to do first, I have started 3 at the same time.

I will tell you about the others in my next post but first I will share my ebonizing project with you. I have always been keen on the look of pietra dura, which is all about using precious stones to form pictures. They are inlaid into other pieces of stone or sometimes inlaid into wood.

So I have decided to make a box, cut out some flowers on the top with my scroll saw and then inlay them with clay because I can't afford precious stones.

To get a good contrast between the wood and the stones, pietra dura artists commonly used ebony, which is a black wood that can be seen on the keyboard of a piano. Ebony is a very expensive wood so I decided to make my own, Obviously I can't make wood, but according to what I have researched it is possible to ebonize other woods and make them black by painting them with a special solution.

Oak is a good wood because it contains the right natural ingredients to  react with the special solution which is made from steel wool and white wine vinegar. No, I'm not making this up and if you manage to stay with me for a few post you can see if it works.

I rinsed the soap out of one of my wife's brillo pads when she wasn't looking and mixed it with some of the white wine vinegar she had lurking at the back of the pantry. I put the pad in an empty marmalade jar poured on the vinegar and, after drilling a few holes in the top to allow obnoxious gases to escape, I took it down to my shed to let it ferment. Here it is after two weeks brewing.
Tomorrow, I'm going to begin cutting the wood for the box and then I can see if this magic solution works, If it doesn't, I suppose there is always black paint.

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