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Fuming Oak

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Jaco

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I read an article “somewhere” on fuming oak.
Wood is placed into a container that can be sealed. Also placed into the container is a dish with ammonia.
The ammonia reacts with the acid in the oak, making the oak darker.
I fumed some white oak candle holders for about 5 days in an old cake tin, keeping the sealed tin in the workshop, so that it did not get “cold”. The higher the temperature the better it works. The colour change is excellent and consistent. Beats any stain. Looks natural.
By varying the number of days, you can go from a light brown to dark brown.
I checked it daily till I liked the colour.
Then used Danish oil to finish with some Liberon wax.

Next up is to stick a number of different types of wood into the tin and see what happens.
:D :D :D
 

Chris Knight

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Jaco,

Yes, fuming is a very useful technique that I use quite a lot. When your pieces get bigger than biscuit tin size you will need to make a "tent". I use polythen sheet draped over a framework of 25mm PVC pipe (as used in plumbing). With the various fittings like elbows and tees it is easy to make a frame any shape you want and to re-use the bits for something else.

I use .880 ammonia from a printing works and a few hours is all that is usually needed. 24 hours is the max I have ever fumed.

You will need good ammonia cartridges in your face mask and eye protection (I use swimming goggles) when using a lot of the stuff as in the tent method. Best to do it outdoors if you can too.
 
A

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thanks Chris. will remeber when i do some more. will also try get "stronger" amonia than just the household stuff.
Jaco
:D
 

Steve Maskery

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Hi Jaco
I'm surprised you had good results from white oak. I've always found it to be very poor compared to English or European oak. Don't think I've ever tried red oak. I'm assuming you mean American. I thought that the american oaks had a much lower tannin content than proper oak :lol:

I know a local furniture company who fumed walnut with some success for a bedroom suite.

When I made this bed
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/steve.maskery/oakbed.html
I put the pieces in the garden shed (much closer to the neighbours than our house :) ) and sealed the door and windows with parcel tape for a week

Cheers
Steve
 

Steve Maskery

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Yes, Thanks Dave.
My webpages are all cloaked, so I can't easily cut-and-paste URLs.

I also did a pair of bedside tables to go with it. The clients like it all but decided to put any more expensive-furniture-spend on hold for a year or two. They went to Malta instead. When they came back the house was flooded, ball-cock in the loft. Celings down, carpets sodden and.... bed and bedside tables all OK. PHEW! But every cloud has a silver lining, their wardrobe was ruined and written off, so I have designed one to replace it. Same style as the bedside tables, bow front, qtr sawn English oak. I'm just waiting for the green light. Is this phone working OK?

Cheers
Steve
 

DaveL

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Steve,

I hope we will see some pictures of the wardrobe? I went looking on your site for the cabinets and could not find them. :cry:
I have not made anything from oak but love the contrast you have between the fumed frame and the natural panels on the bed.
 

Steve Maskery

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The panels are made from 3 pieces of 3mm birch ply pressed onto a former. A stack of oak plies are pressed in the same way, then ripped to make edging pieces. When these are glued on and trimmed flush, the whole lot is veneered.
They look like solid wood, and I was very pleased with the result.
Fortunately, so was the client!

See GW 147 for more more details.

Cheers
Steve
 

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