Dwell Made Presents: DIY Black Oak Bench
In this episode of Dwell Made, Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern makes his own ebonizing stain out of steel wool and vinegar, and then turns an oak stair tread into a stylish bench by adding hairpin legs. This is a simple DIY bench that would make ideal seating at a dining table, or serve as a place to take shoes off in an entryway or mudroom.
Step 1: Make the Ebonizing Stain
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I tore up some pieces of steel wool and placed them in a jar before pouring distilled white vinegar over the top. I let this mixture sit for one week.
Step 2: Trim the Oak Stair Tread
I bought a solid oak stair tread from Home Depot. One of the edges is rounded over, so I clamped it down to saw horses and used my circular saw to trim off the rounded edge.
Step 3: Sand the Oak
I used 150 grit sand paper to smooth down the oak.
Step 4: Apply the Stain
After sitting for a week, the steel wool had started to rust and oxidize in the vinegar. I used a foam brush to spread this mixture onto the oak. The oak immediately started to turn black.
Step 5: Prepare the Wood for Sealing
The wood looked a bit reddish in color after the stain had dried. This is from the rust particles in the stain. I used a clean, damp rag to wipe off the wood and remove this dust and red tint. I let the wood dry and then used 220 grit sand paper to very lightly sand the wood grain that had been raised by the stain and damp rag.
Step 6: Seal the Oak
I want the grain of the oak to show, but I also want to protect the wood, so I used Minwax Wipe-On Poly in satin. I can apply this in thin coats with a clean rag, and the wood will be sealed, but I can steel see and feel the grain. I made sure to wipe off all dust with a clean rag before pouring some of the poly on a clean rag and rubbing it into the wood.
Step 7: Add Hairpin Legs
I screwed some 16" hairpin legs to the underside of the oak using ¾" pan head screws.
If you don’t have a drill or a circular saw, you can just leave the rounded edge and use screw-on legs from Floyd.