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Hello All,

 

I am planning a build of a narrow table for our foyer. I have some 5/4 waterfall bubinga that I planned to use for the top and a small amount of gaboon ebony for accents. However for the apron and legs I'm stuck. I thought about using walnut, but figured the ebony would get lost. I then looked at a curly maple but the contrast seemed extreme.

What wood would be a good compliment to a bubinga top, that would showcase the bubinga and ebony but also compliment the peice as a whole?

 

Kevin

 

 

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Kevin, I'd go with black painted poplar for the aprons and legs. I can't see using walnut for the apron or legs or Maple even. Unless you make the entire table from Bubinga with the ebony accents, but to add another species as primary in your table would look too busy in my opinion.

Here is what you have going on, you have a primary focal point being the table top, made from Bubinga, then you have a primary focal point being the aprons and legs, you have two primary areas in that table, and when you have two primary areas of any piece with two different types of wood, it will look disjointed. Typically you'd want a single species for your primary areas, then the accents as you noted already. And as you have already succeeded in doing so, you want an accent that is darker then the primary species of the piece. Rarely does a lighter accent with a darker primary species look right, or flowing.

So my vote is black paint, or lacquer.

With your ebony accents and the black aprons and legs, it will all tie together beautifully.

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Kevin, there is also a process called ebonizing, where you can turn any wood into a deep black. If you want to keep a purest feel to the table, instead of paint you can turn the apron and legs into a black ebony color by a chemical process ebonizing.

It's done with vinegar, steel wool and tannic acid. It'll turn the light woods darker and dark woods such as walnut black. You can use dyes and stain to achieve an ebonization but you'll obscure the grains, when you use the chemical process the natural lines and grains come through still.

I don't typically like to redirect folks away from this site, because you came here for help, anyone can Google a subject and get an answer, but since this is outside of my expertise in finishing and it would benefit you more by seeing it done by a professional, here are some links to the subject.

 

Links of Iinterest

American Woodworker (Chemical Ebonizing)

A nice independent blog by hannamades on the subject.

Woodworkers Guild of America has a nice article on the subject.

 

You can use the above process on your aprons and legs without paint. After the process you top it off with varnish.

Here are a couple images of furnishings done with the ebonized process.

 

jp1.jpg

 

HESprenger3.jpg

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This isn't so much a recommendatin, as much as to demonstrate how the 2 (bubinga and curly maple) look together. These tables were built of those two, and I built them to learn how to french polish. The gold tomes is due to the garnet shellac I used for the finish; it may help convince you were correct in your original assesment or the opposite. I've never had waterfall bubinga, but this has a lot of figure to it. Anyway:

afd4b20f-5325-468e-a410-7534117cf6fa_zps

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Links of Iinterest

American Woodworker (Chemical Ebonizing)

A nice independent blog by hannamades on the subject.

Woodworkers Guild of America has a nice article on the subject.

 

 

It's never worked for me. 

I've tried every single thing  that one can find to try and I get terrible results.  In desperation, I've done Black aniline dye both water and alcohol and it depends on the species what result I get.  Maple was my touchstone or Moby Dick, depending  on how you look at it,   The results I have always  obtained  just gave me pain and then firewood.

 

Pine takes color nicely but Maple  has defeated me.

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Here is a little Bow Front table I did with Waterfall  Bubinga. The skirt is Baltic Birch and the legs and just soft Maple that is Quarter Sawn.

 

post-3498-0-87644800-1419861214.jpg

 

post-3498-0-34120400-1419861225.jpg

 

I really like the contrast that you get from the lighter and darker woods, but that is just my opinion. Other suggestions are all very good ideas.

 

 

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Thanks for all the idea. I have used the "ebonizing" technique once before to create a faux aged look in some baltic birch plywood. I may try this on some of the various scraps I have to see what yeilds the best result. I have considered / not rule out cherry. Though the ebonizing of poplar intrigues me.

I may do a couple of mock ups with some scrap cherry and some poplar and see what the results turn out. I'll post the results.

Thanks for all your help!

 

Kevin

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Here is a little Bow Front table I did with Waterfall  Bubinga. The skirt is Baltic Birch and the legs and just soft Maple that is Quarter Sawn.

 

attachicon.gifBubinga Bow Front Table Top.jpg

 

attachicon.gifBubinga Bow front Table 2.jpg

 

I really like the contrast that you get from the lighter and darker woods, but that is just my opinion. Other suggestions are all very good ideas.

That looks great! Seeing this and the other pics makes me think I should set the ebony aside for another project and just choose one wood to compliment the bubinga.

Its kind of funny, I've had the 80 pound block of grade "A" ebony for 8 years now and cant seem to come up with a project for it...

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