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Discussing: Woods and natural wood stains

Woods and natural wood stains

OK, here's a question for the wood workers and botantists among us.

1. What kinds of wood, if any, found in a northerly climate, would naturally be black or virtually black in color?

2. What kinds of stains would a society like Bree or the Shire have for staining wood black? Extra points for identifying stains used to turn leather black, too.

Now, turn the equation around - what are naturally white or virtually white woods and/or what would such societies use to turn wood white?

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Woods and natural wood stains

Maple, birch, and pine are naturally light (if not quite white) woods, and walnut wood is a very dark brown.

I don't know anything about stains, though...

 

 

Re: Woods and natural wood stains

Soot. The eternal blacker of stuff is soot. Soot is the basis of India Ink, it's what makes old rafters dark, it's just carbon and it is what they drew those nice permanent black outlines of mammoths & such int the caves with. You stick it on stuff with other stuff, to be technical -- ink is lampblack (ie, soot) and varnish, frex, but you can mix it with other kinds of goo (I believe suet was the base of choice in the caves, along with the natural stickiness of clay).

Or you can simply singe things to make them darker - there is a nifty trick for ageing wood with a blowtorch, for example. I doubt it would fool the serious experts, but it does darken it up nicely, as long as you don't screw up and char it.

Beeswax is a traditional base for art materials, and does nice things to wood, too.

Bitumen - natural tar - will blacken stuff too, but it doesn't seem like it would be easy to work with at all (you use it in jewelrymaking to hold stuff, and heat it up to get them loose). But maybe you could mix it with turpentine and get a black stain.

All woods will oxidize over time and get darker when exposed to air, like apples -- that's why aged bark mulch is so popular, because the color is completely natural and will only get darker. But it takes time and some only go grey, like cedar and pine, when left to themselves.

 

 

Re: Woods and natural wood stains

There are no trees that I know of that are "black" inside. But Black walnut is very dark, it is climate appropriate for what you are suggesting and it very easily and commonly taken the rest of the way to black by several old techniques including black wax, the use of pigments derived from oak galls and various black tempera paints.

Oak gall stain was a really a STAIN. It is made by gathering the decomposing galls from oak trees and boiling them a bit, straining them and then fermenting them. When they fermented(spoiled) there was a nasty film. Skim this off and boil the black tar-like goo left behind. Then either mix it with wax, amonia , tempera paint medium or add gum arabic to create black ink. In the past, india inks were not used as often as oak gall ink. It is PERMANENT, so hands were protected when possible. It is very versatile and it is a very DEEP black color. It was applied with a brush to wood and then wax sealed with a wax that was also pigmented with the gall.

E.W.

 

 

Re: Woods and natural wood stains

OK, Oak Gall it is for what I want to stain.

What about bleaching woods? I know alder and certain pines can be very pale - what would folks have been using to make them as pale as possible?

Thank you, thank you, for the great answers!

Ang

 

 

Re: Woods and natural wood stains

Ashwood is very light, It can be leeched and polished to resemble horn.

E.W.

 

 

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