Dark Horse


I carved this ale bowl from some more of the red alder I mentioned in my last post.  Then I tried something new for me: I painted (ebonized I suppose) the outside  with waterproof black India ink.  I like how it completely absorbs into the wood, allowing the lines of the grain to still remain evident.


The ink is water-based, but I didn’t notice much grain raising.  I think this is mainly because the surfaces were straight from the knife.  Had it been sanded, all of those torn fibers would have absorbed the water from the ink and raised up on the surface.


I like the contrast between the black and the natural reddish brown interior.  I even like the solid hard black knot area on the interior.


When carving the exterior, I left a series of loose, shallow faceted flutes that merge and fade beneath the neck of the horse.  After the ink dried for a couple days, I treated the entire piece with flax seed oil, followed by a flax oil/beeswax blend.


It feels nice with the web of your hands under the necks, and it’s big enough to share, easily holding 24 ounces of ale.  The dimensions are 12 3/4 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 5 1/2 inches high.


This entry was posted in ale bowls, bowls, green woodworking, paint, trees, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Dark Horse

  1. wurzelgummage says:

    That’s funny, I was thinking of colouring the White Oak bowl I’ve been working on black with vinegar and wire wool mixture. I’ve had to have it in a bucket of water to try and keep the moisture content even whilst I dither around doing “stuff”, so the tannin has been leeched out a bit. First ever bowl for me, so the learning curve is steep to say the least.

    I like the combination of the colour of the Alder and the almost burnished effect of the India ink.


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Good luck with the white oak bowl. If you’re concerned about the continued leeching of the tannin, you might try to just keep the in-progress bowl sealed in a garbage bag rather than submerged in water.

      Glad you like the color combination. It kind of reminded me a bit of the red/black combination so common in Greek pottery.


  2. hafnego says:

    Hi Dave. Gorgeous, as always. How big was the original log?

    Gordon Hafner >


  3. francedozois says:

    a beauty–you should make a black chicken to go with the white chicken–


  4. Hi David, love your work. Not having tried this, I was wondering how you keep that sharp edge between the ink black and the natural alder. I would thing the ink would bleed when you apply it.

    Paul Dzioba


    • Dave Fisher says:

      I was wary of that myself, but really didn’t notice any bleeding with the ink. I just worked carefully with the brush right up to that cut edge. Had I gone over, I would have lightly pared that bordering surface to remove any ink that overshot the mark.


  5. Ken Pollard says:

    Beautiful work, as usual, but this one really caught my eye. Elegant lines. Inspirational. Thanks for posting it.


  6. SteveC says:

    You’re in a league of your own ! Superb design. Perfectly carved.


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