Ebony from Ivory!

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
An experiment that didn’t result in the outcome I’d hoped for.

I wanted to inlay some Holly into my winding sticks. No problem, plenty of Holly growing around NoVA.

Without belaboring that this isn’t the time of year to harvest Holly, I thought I had the solution.

Easy solution, microwave some small branches and get plenty of small pure white pieces of Holly inlay. Unfortunately, once the microwave sets the Holly on fire, all you get is charcoal.

Lesson learned, take it slow and easy next time.
184638
 
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jrfuda

John
Corporate Member
DQ
I too started a small fire in my microwave drying some pen blanks pulled from the firewood pile. Looked away for maybe 30 seconds and turned around to see black smoke (plastic container the blanks were in was burning as well). Quickly got the fire out and thought I had destroyed the 30+ year old microwave we'd gotten from my wife's grandmother when she passed. Fortunately, the thing was built like a tank and worked just fine after a quick dissemble, clean, and reassemble. This is still our main microwave in the kitchen. Now I dry small pieces in an older toaster oven in the garage.
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Second swing at this and I’m taking it waaaay slower. I think the gentle approach will work and I will avoid the odor of toasted Holly.

I did change the recipe to a programmed 10 seconds versus press the button and see what happens.:eek:

184639


Since this is green wood, I decided to rely on my trusty HF No.33 plane which also happens to be just the right size.

184640


Next time I need to grab some bigger branches, but these may still work.
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
How about soaking the holly strips in black aniline dye (TransTint)?

Bill, You are a couple steps ahead of me.

My first priority was getting a couple of white Holly tablets to inlay at the ends of my winding sticks ala Paul Sellers video on U-toob.

I already have a bottle of Trans-Tint in black and would like to try making up some “faux ebony” Holly. The good news is I don’t think I will need to stress over drying that wood to snow white.

Unfortunately, the Boss came home to the smell of toasted Holly (my version of the event) and she’s none too happy about her microwave! Both the orange tomcat and myself are currently “persona non grata” in her kitchen. I’m not too sure what he did, and I’m not going to ask.

We’re both lying low right now...and I mean real low!

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willarda

New User
Bill Anderson
I teach a workshop on Workbench Fixtures at the Woodwright's School. This includes a pair of winding sticks. Bottom line is that any pair of contrasting woods will be excellent for this purpose. Ebony and Holly are certainly diametric opposites and thus good choices. However, maple is a good choice for the sighting tabs on dark woods, and walnut for light woods.. The stick stock can be cherry, mahogany, Peruvian walnut, maple, black walnut, etc., as long as these are straight grained and quartersawn pieces. If possible I try to cut both of the stock pieces from the same piece of wood, preferably side by side to minimize differential wood movement.
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Bill, Thanks for the response.

I ripped the winding sticks from the same quarter sawn Mahogany (Sapele?) board.

I prepped some quartered maple for the inlay, but decided that Holly would be more of a contrast. I don’t have the Holly ready, but dropped a Holly shaving on there for comparison.

I think I only have Walnut or Purpleheart for my dark wood.

184701
 

willarda

New User
Bill Anderson
I'm jus' sayin' that the contrast does not necessarily have to be stark, just different. Having said that, there is absolutely an aesthetic to the difference between the pure white wood and any other dark wood. When I made my personal sticks, there were with holly (!).
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Bill, or anyone else, assuming you intentionally kept the Holly as white as possible, what finish did you use?
 

willarda

New User
Bill Anderson
I use blond shellac, which is going to impart a slight yellowing nonetheless. I have used lacquer with holly, which gives a very clear finish. The lacquer is quite toxic, however and you need ventilation and filter to deal with it adequately. Note: I make my shellac up in isopropanol (99%). This alcohol is just one carbon longer than ethanol, and dries just a bit slower thus the brush stroke flattening is more copacetic than DNA. Plus it is a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) solvent, unlike DNA (poisonous methanol). The solubility of shellac is basically the same as with DNA. I use a coffee grinder to reduce the flakes to make dissolution faster (I do not drink coffee!).
 

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