Black Finish to Match a Grand Piano

A furnituremaker gets tips on "ebonizing" a music stand to match a grand piano's black finish. August 22, 2005

I am building a sheet music stand for a client and I am thinking about ebonizing the legs to match a black baby grand piano. I am looking for information on how this is done. I am looking to do it with either a stain or paint. The piece will be built out of walnut with black legs. Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor F:
I put some 0000 steel wool in a container and add cider vinegar. The vinegar eats the wool and the result is a nice black liquid. It may take a while and you will have to strain the liquid. If you are in a hurry you might want to try India Ink.

From contributor M:
Another option to consider is going with a Black Lacquer of the same sheen as the piano. You can buy aerosols in black with different sheens.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
If you want to make the walnut black with the wood grain still visible, you can just use a black dye and the topcoats of your choice such as lacquer, etc. If you don't want to see the wood, but want it black, use poplar, MDF, or birch plywood instead of walnut and paint it.

From the original questioner:
I have another question - what would be the best thing to use on poplar to make a smooth gloss finish?

From contributor M:
You might be better off with a black pigmented stain, then with a black dye. You need to ask your supplier, or you can ask here on the forum for a company that sells a jet black stain. These same pigments are used as the colorant for the black lacquers.

From contributor J:
If you’re painting, the use of clear topcoats over the paint will match real close to the factory finish.

From the original questioner:
Here is what I ended up doing to ebonize the wood. I bought poplar for the top and legs of the cabinet and then bought India Ink and continued coating with that until it was completely black. A high gloss varnish did the trick on top and worked great, and it matches the original finish on the piano very well.