This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
(1) Boil 1 lb. logwood chips 1 hour in 2 qt. water; brush the hot liquor over the work to be stained, lay aside to dry; when dry give another coat, still using it hot. When the second coat is dry, brush the following liquor over the work: - 1 oz. green copperas to 1 qt. hot water, to be used when the copperas is all dissolved. It will bring out an intense black when dry. For staining, the work must not be dried by fire, but in the sunshine, if possible; if not, in a warm room, away from the fire. To polish this work first give a coating of very thin glue size, and when quite dry paper off very lightly with No. 0 paper, only just enough to render smooth, but not to remove the black stain. Then make a rubber of wadding about the size of a walnut, moisten the rubber with French polish, cover the whole tightly with a double linen rag, put one drop of oil on the surface, and rub the work with a circular motion. Should the rubber stick it requires more polish. Previous to putting the French polish on the wadding pledget, it ought to be mixed with the best drop black, in the proportion of 1/4 oz. drop black to a gill of French polish. When the work has received one coat, set it aside to dry for about an hour.
After the first coat is laid on and thoroughly dry, it should be partly papered off with No. 0 paper. This brings the surface even, and at the same time fills up the grain. Now give a second coat as before. Allow 24 hours to elapse, again paper off, and give a final coat as before. Now comes "spiriting off." Great care must be used here, or the work will be dull instead of bright. A clean rubber must be made, as previously described, but instead of being moistened with polish it must be wetted with spirits of wine placed in a linen rag screwed into a tight even-surfaced ball, just touched on the face with a drop of oil, and then rubbed lightly and quickly in circular sweeps all over the work from top to bottom. One application of spirits is usually enough if sufficient has been placed on the rubber at the outset, but it is better to use rather too little than too much at a time, as an excess will entirely remove the polish, when the work will have to be polished again. Should this be the case, paper off at once, and commence as at first.
It is the best way in the end. (Smither.)
(2) Lauber dissolves extract of logwood in boiling water until the solution indicates 0° Beaurne'. 5 pints of the solution is then mixed with 2 1/2 pints pyroligneous iron mordant of 10°, and 1/2 pint acetic acid of 2°. The mixture is heated for J hour, and is then ready for use.
(3) To imitate black ebony, first wet the wood with a solution of logwood and copperas, boiled together and laid on hot. For this purpose, 2 oz. logwood chips with 1 1/2 oz. copperas, to 1 qt. water, will be required. When the work has become dry, wet the surface again with a mixture of vinegar and steel filings. This mixture may be made by dissolving 2 oz. steel filings in 1/2 pint vinegar. When the work has become dry again, sandpaper down until quite smooth. Then oil and fill in with powdered drop-black mixed in the filler. Work to be ebonized should be smooth and free from holes, etc. The work may receive a light coat of quick-drying varnish, and then be rubbed with finely-pulverized pumice and linseed-oil until very smooth.
(4) 1 gal. strong vinegar, 2 lb. extract of logwood, 1/2 lb. green copperas, \ lb. China blue, and 2 oz. nut-gall. Put these in an iron pot, and boil them over a slow fire till they are well dissolved. When cool, the mixture is ready for use. Add to the above 1/2 pint iron rust, which may be obtained by scraping rusty hoops, or preferably by steeping iron filings in a solution of acetic acid or strong vinegar.
(5) Common ebony stain is obtained by preparing two baths; the first, applied warm, consists of a logwood decoction, to every quart of which 1 dr. alum is added; the second is a solution of iron filings in vinegar. After the wood has dried from the first, the second is applied as often as is required. For the first-named bath, some substitute 16 oz. gall-nut, 4 oz. logwood dust, and 2 oz. verdigris, boiled in a sufficient quantity of water. A peculiar method of blackening walnut is in use in Nurnberg. On one of the Pegnitz Islands there is a large grinding-inill, turned by the stream, where iron tools are sharpened and polished. The wood is buried for a week or more in the slime formed by the wheels; when dug out it is jet black, and so permeated by silica as to be in effect petrified. Another way to ebonize flat surfaces of soft work is to rub very fine charcoal dust into the pores with oil. This works beautifully with the European linden and American whitewood. A brown mahogany-like stain is best used on elm and walnut. Take a pint decoction of 2 oz. logwood in which 1/2 oz. barium chloride has been dissolved. This gives also, when diluted with soft water, a good oak stain to ash and chestnut.
But the most beautiful and lasting of the browns is a concentrated solution of potash permanganate (mineral chameleon). This is decomposed by the woody fibre, and forms hydrated manganese oxide, which is permanently fixed by the alkali.
(6) For the fine black ebony stain, apple, pear, and hazel wood are the best woods to use; when stained black, they are most complete imitations of the natural ebony. For the stain take - gall-apple, 14 oz.; rasped logwood, 3 1/2 oz.; vitriol, 1 3/4 oz.; verdigris, 1 3/4 oz. For the second coating a mixture of iron filings (pure), 3 1/2 oz., dissolved in strong wine vinegar; 1 1/2 pint is warmed, and when cool the wood already blackened is coated 2 or 3 times with it, allowing it to dry after each coat. For articles which are to be thoroughly saturated, a mixture of 1 3/4 oz. sal-ammoniac, with a sufficient quantity of steel filings, is to be placed in a suitable vessel, strong vinegar poured upon it, and left for 14 days in a gently-heated oven. A strong lye is now put into a suitable pot, to which is added coarsely-bruised gall-apples and blue Brazil shavings, and exposed for the same time as the former to the gentle heat of an oven, which will then yield a good liquid. The woods are now laid in the first-named stain, boiled for a few hours, and left in it for 3 day3 longer; they are then placed in the second stain and treated as in the first. If the articles are not then thoroughly saturated, they may be once more placed in the first bath, and then in the second.
(7) Wash with a concentrated aqueous solution of logwood extract several times; then with a solution of iron acetate of 14° B., which is repeated until a deep black is produced.
(8) Beech, pear-tree, or holly steeped in a strong liquor of logwood or galls. Let the wood dry, and wash over with solution of iron sulphate. Wash with clean water, and repeat if colour is not dark enough. Polish cither with black or common French polish.
(9) Oak is immersed for 48 hours in a hot saturated solution of alum, and then brushed over several times with a logwood decoction prepared as follows: - Boil 1 part best logwood with 10 of water, filter through linen, and evaporate at a gentle heat until the volume is reduced one-half. To every quart of this add 10 to 15 drops of a saturated solution of indigo, completely neutral. After applying this dye to the wood, rub the latter with a saturated and filtered solution of verdigris in hot concentrated acetic acid, and repeat the operation until a black of the desired intensity is obtained. Oak thus stained is said to be a close as well as handsome imitation of ebony.
(10) 1 lb. logwood chips, 3 pints water; boil to 1 pint; apply hot to wood; let dry; then give another coat; let dry slowly; sandpaper smooth; mix 1 gill vinegar with 8 tablespoonfuls iron or steel filings : let stand 5 hours, then brush on wood; let dry; then give another coat of the first. This sends the vinegar deeper into the wood and makes a denser black; after which paper smooth. Then polish with white French polish, as the white brings out the black purer than common French polish. The woods observed to take on the stain best are pear-tree, plane-tree, and straight-reeded birch; mahogany does not stain nearly so well as the former woods.
(11) Get 1 lb. of logwood chips and boil them down in enough water to make a good dark colour; give the furniture 3 or 4 coats with a sponge; then put some rusty nails or old iron into a bottle with some vinegar, and when it begins to work give the furniture a coat of the vinegar. This, if you have well darkened it with the first, will give you a good black. Oil and polish in the usual way, rubbing down first with fine paper if required. A quicker way is to give the wood a coat of size and lampblack, and then use gas-black in your polish rubber.
(12) Make a strong decoction of logwood by boiling 1 lb. in 1 qt. water for about 1 hour; add thereto a piece of washing soda as large as a hazel-nut. Apply hot to the wood with a soft brush. Allow to dry, then paint over the wood with a solution of iron sulphate (1 oz. to the pint of water). Allow this to dry, and repeat the logwood and iron sulphate for at least 3 times, finishing off with logwood. Once more allow to dry thoroughly, then sandpaper off very lightly (so as not to remove the dye) with No. 0 paper. Now make a very thin glue size, boil in it a few chips of logwood and a crystal or two of iron sulphate, just sufficient to make it inky black. Paint this lightly over the work, allow to dry once more, again sandpaper lightly, and finally either varnish with good hard white varnish, or polish with French polish and drop black.