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Discussion Starter #1
After starting and restarting many times over many years, I've finally finished the outside of an old peachwood bowl, which must be one of the very first blanks I roughed out when I started turning. The outside finished up nicely (sanded to 330 + tung oil), the inside is a bit rougher---at least partly due to my own skill limitations. My goal is to get a matte black finish on the inside; I am reading about ebonizing but haven't tried it.

So here's my question. The blank is from crotch in a tree with one rotten branch shooting through it, so there are a few patches of hole-ridden, very punky, very porous wood in an otherwise solid bowl. When finishing the outside, it was clear that oil could just soak straight through the porous parts (or just through the holes if I'm not careful.) I don't want that to happen in reverse when I'm blackening the inside.

Any advice? What's a matte-black finish/stain/dye/paint that I can apply inside a holey, punky bowl without fear of seepage?
 

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I've used milk paint in similar situations many times.
Comes in Pitch Black as well as a ton of other colors and can be mixed to varying consistencies to give fairly decent control over penetration.

When dry it's a very tough coating.

It does need to be sealed after it dries, though.

If I wanted no sheen at all, I'd probably use rattlecan pre-cat lacquer from Mohawk for that.
It comes in 6 finish levels; dead flat, flat, matte, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. The dead flat really is exactly what it says.

If you can tolerate a slightly less flat finish, the milk paint can be rubbed out, burnished actually, with 0000 steel wool then sealed with Watco or something similar, and that will give a rather nice satin look.
 

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Both Milk Paint and Black Gesso are two of the best finishes for porous areas and then don't bleed through the wood. I like to use shoe dye when I want things black but it can soak all the way through the wood to the outside and ruin the bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice folks. I'll keep my eyes open for black gesso at the art supply store. Here is the bowl in question:





Here's one of the punky parts:

 

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That's a lovely turning. You sure you want to cover it up? Well, if you do, some of the suggestions for Ebonizing are spot on. I've tried a "Purist" formula that worked well with some wood. A quart jar, four quad zero steel wool pads filled with white vinegar and set aside for several days. Didn't get the jet black I was after even using two or three coats. Added coffee grounds, yeah, really, and that did darken things up. I finally settled on a Jet Black Ebonizing process from Rustoleum in a spray can and will probably never go back.
 
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