A Black Finish on Furniture

Black paint can be added to most water-based finishes. Here are a few tips on formulas and application. November 13, 2005

I have a black table base to do (first one). Legs and apron will be maple, satin finish with rub-through here and there. What is generally used for the black, and should anything be applied prior?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
What finishes are you used to?

From the original questioner:
Mostly pre-cat lacquer.

From contributor D:
Add a black colorant into your sealer and spray that directly on the raw wood. You could also have your distributor make a black sealer for you. Scuff it, cut through it and topcoat.

From contributor L:
I use ML Campbell's MagnaMax Black. Self sealing if you want, but for a real smooth finish, I suggest getting MagnaClaw tinted black for an undercoater. Put 5% retarder (C161 1) in it to give you more open time for less overspray, but be careful about droops and sags on your vertical surfaces. Pretty easy to work with.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
As far as I know, all finishing suppliers will mix a black paint in a variety of bases. My supplier will mix any color paint from any paint store in water-base, lacquer, pre- and post-catalyzed lacquer, and conversion varnish. I pick the one that has the durability the job needs. Most of the time, I use pigmented pre-cat lacquer. If needed, I can get the primer tinted to match the paint or a contrasting color if there's some distressing involved and the second color needs to show through.

Check with your local finishing suppliers for their selection of pigmented finishes. A good paint job consists of 1-2 coats of primer to get the surface perfectly level/filled grain, then 1-2 coats of the pigmented topcoats. With a distressed painted finish (rub-through), you'll need a clear coat over the paint to seal the wood. With black paint, a water-clear, non-yellowing topcoat isn't as important as it is with lighter colors.