So after some serious thinking, observing how the red looked over the amber, and remembering how the sunburst failed, I opted not do use ebony for the grip. You see, it's impossible to stain over ebony, and if I screwed it up it would look hideous.
Instead, after some thinking and consulting with my dad, who used to co-own a side business refinishing furniture with my mom, I decided to mix a little ebony with the Sodona Red, resulting in the same shade of red, but darker. This would, I hoped, result in a nice, rich color for the grip which would seamlessly blend into the lighter red on the limbs.
I did this on my lunch break today--I go home for lunch as I live very close to work. Don't tell anyone, but I broke the speed limit both ways to buy extra time.
I poured about 1/2" of red into a plastic cup, then mixed just a teaspoon of ebony into it. I then applied it to the grip and using a dry brush "feathered" the edges up into the lighter red, as my mom instructed. I then let it sit for as long as I possibly could before leaving to head back to work, which was about 25 minutes.
It came out positively gorgeous. I think I'm going to do one more coat this afternoon before I go over to Ken and Rya's, to darken it a little more, and then let it ride.
My next step: I'm considering using a thin brush and some black and white paint to detail-accent the edges and lines. I need to think on that before I move on it, though. The thing may be just fine the way it is.
Pictures will come tonight. I am hoping to have a coat of Polyurethane on it by Saturday. Sunday I want to take it out to my folks to leave with mom so she can paint the Tengwar on it.