I dig black. My wife (bless her) mocks me because other than blue jeans I really don’t wear anything but black and shades of grey.
I blame it on overexposure to the 80s (united friggin colors of Benneton, anyone?).
The black on the handle (hickory, by the way) involves nothing but fire and wax, and set off explosions in my closeted little mind. So I started experimenting with using what I’ve taken to calling ‘charred finish’.
And by ‘experimenting’ I mean setting every scrap of wood in sight on fire.
Some recent examples – a staked saw bench I made last month:
And a down-n-dirty dutch tool chest I’m working on:
Now, if you’re not intrigued by something like this – a ridiculously simple finish that refines surfaces, ends up perfect matte black, and involves fire and wood – then I just can’t help you. If you’re interested in the technique, though, I’ve got good news.
In the upcoming April issue of Popular Woodworking, Seth’s penned an article with everything you need to know to start controlled fires on your own projects. And as a way of demonstrating that it’s for more than utilitarian work, I also used the finish on a pair of kumiko lamps in another article in the same issue.
So yeah – this is a backhanded bit of self-promotion for my own first published woodworking article, but mostly it’s about promoting what really is the coolest thing I’ve learned in woodworking in years. Why this technique isn’t in common usage in this country, I don’t know. There are japanese techniques that use the principle, and it’s been used to treat the inside of kentucky bourbon casks forever – but outside of that, I have never seen it before. And that’s a crime I hope to see rectified soon.