More sunglasses and ramblings about DIY wood finishes

Just thought I’d give a reupdate about the other pair of sunglasses I said I was working on. Here they are! A classic aviator-style sunglass. 59mm lens width for a slightly oversized look. Getting lenses custom made – will show you how they turn out.

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I also wanted to add that I’ve been playing with some homemade stains. This oxidizing solution, (I have also heard it called ‘ebonizing’) is #0000 grade steel wool dissolved in household white vinegar. It’s basically liquid rust.

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After about a week, the steel wool will have deteriorated and the solution will look anywhere from murky brown to green. What this will do is catalyze the tannic acid present in the piece of wood (which will vary greatly) and oxidize it, turning it into a really dark black, but while also preserving the appearance of the wood’s grain. It works almost immediately as well.

 

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(Pardon the poor-ish picture quality.)

The last bit of wood is cherry without the liquid rust. The other three have been catalyzed.

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If you want to achieve a very rich black, you can brush on a bark powder or tannic acid paste, which will help along the oxidizing process. This can be helpful if you’re using a lighter wood. If you want a weathered look, however, skip this tannin catalyst and you’ll find yourself with more of a charcoal grey tone. For my purposes, I wanted to achieve a rich black, so I actually used very finely ground coffee (dark, organic mass = rich in tannin). Some coffee powder (super fine) and a little water – you’ll want a paste-like consistency.

I brushed on the coffee paste and let it sit for a moment, then saturated the wood with the liquid rust solution. Within 3 minutes it was very dark. 15 minutes, it was dry and nearly black. If you like gloss, finish it with tung oil, paste wax or shellac. If not, leave as is.

This turned almost jet black on cherry. On woods like walnut, it’s a very rich color. Looks great. Let me know if you have questions.