Ebony or "lignum vitea, " as it is known to botanists, is a wood that is so intractable as to be worked with great difficulty. Therefore, the following processes of "ebonizing" various kinds of wood, and imparting to them a black color, should be of interest. Success in some cases will depend on the nature of the wood being ebonized. For example, woods that are rich in tannin, such as oak, beech, etc.. will readily become blacked when brought into contact with salts of iron, because this mineral chemically reacts on the tannin and converts it into tannate of iron, which is black, or greyish black, while on soft woods that are free from tannin, salts of iron will only produce a silvery grey, but logwood, Brazil wood and aniline hydrochlorate will impart a rich deep black color to woods free from tannin. It will therefore be best for the reader to experiment on a few small pieces of the woods he intends to ebonize, so as to find out which particular process will yield the deepest and richest black. When this information has been obtained, he can proceed to ebonize all the wood he wants to.

As the process employed usually consists of steeping the wood in the ebonizing solution, or of an application of it to the surface of the wood by means of a sponge or brush, it will be best to cut the wood into the desired pattern before ebonizing it, because the ebonizing solutions seldom penetrate the surface very deeply; consequently cut-out edges will show white or a different shade of black to that which the surface does. Besides, some of the ebonizing solutions require to be applied to the wood very hot, or even require the wood to be boiled in the fluid, with the result that the wood becomes more or less softened and liable to warp, and such warping would spoil the accuracy of cutting, whereas if the cut pattern be at all warped after ebonizing, it is easily rendered fiat again by laying it between boards with heavy weights on top until the wood is dry and level.