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Thread: How to do a Fire Blacken wood finish?

  1. #1

    How to do a Fire Blacken wood finish?

    I am building a live edge slab dining table. The base will be a simple trestle base that I plan on making out of some heavy maple. I would like the base to be dark black but have not had good luck staining the maple dark enough with ebony stain.

    Anyone know how to "fire blacken" wood and if that will work on maple or do I just need to rethink the idea for the base?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho

    I had luck using a propane torch and blackening the wood. Then I put several coats of 2 part expoxy finish over it.

    Try it on a scrap. After you blacken it, you can lighten areas by using a wire brush and or sand pape.

  3. #3

    Thanks Ken

    The torch makes perfect sense, I thought that might be the case!

    Do you think Oil based polyurethane would work as well? (or even shellack) I am concerned that it might not adhere to the charred wood surface. Maybe that is why you used the epoxy?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    I have also used a torch for blackening wood. I'm not sure about poly--we used it on unfinished shop cabinets.

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  5. #5
    Torching the wood will alter the texture. Do you mind that?

    If a darker color is all yr after then I'd experiment with black aniline dye. You'll get your maple as black as the devil's soul with that.

    Pigment stains contain binders that lock the stain in - but also inhibit each successive coat from deep penetration. The watersoluble dyes are strictly colorants. Downside: You gotta seal it for some topcoats. Upside: you can keep making it darker with successive coats.

  6. #6
    I have not used it, but there was a project posted using India ink - it was very black, and apparently easy to apply.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Ink works as does the cheap dye you buy at the local food store. I think the brand is RITE clothes dye... $4 for 8 oz. of water soluable BLACK dye.

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  8. #8

    Going with the ink or dye

    All of your suggestions have helped me realize that what I want is a dark black finish, not a burned finish.

    It sounds like the India ink or clothes dye are both reasonable options - I am getting excited about the project now that I have all the pieces and the design finalized - will post to projects as it comes together!

    Thanks everyone!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Chico, California
    I think the Rit dye will fade after awhile. Ever try to get india ink off an old school desk? If you have a yarn/weavers shop near, the dyes they use are pretty permanent. I think it is proceon or something like that. I've used it for anodizing.

  10. #10

    INdia INk works great!

    Just wanted to check in - I finally got around to dying the maple table legs black with india ink, inexpensive and worked really well. One coat is black and fairly consistent.


  11. #11
    Glad to hear another validation of this method. Thanks for the followup.

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