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Fuming Wood for Color

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  • Fuming Wood for Color

    hi all.. I was just reading an article about fuming wood with ammonia to alter the color and was wondering if anyone had tried this?..apparently household ammonia is used with some really nice results.... (I gather furniture makers have known of this process for awhile now)
    I'm wondering if it works on a variety of woods or if it really only works well with specific wood types ( Cherry and Oak were talked about in the article I read)
    ahhhh, something new for me to try

    Sue Chrestensen

  • #2
    I've never tried it with other than oak so I'm not sure how it would affect other woods. It does bring out a very unique look and is an excellent match for antique pieces as this is how they dyed wood many moons ago.
    Scrollsaw Patterns Online
    Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


    • #3
      Hi Sue,

      Again, this is a process where the reaction is with the tannin in the wood.

      Also, although household amonia will work, there are higher concentrate that will give you better results, and faster.

      MAKE SURE that you use the proper protection: Rubber gloves, Face shield and proper respirator mask. Also only use in a well ventilated area (prefereably outside)

      If you're not carefull, this stuff CAN hurt you bad!

      DW788. -Have fun in the shop or it isn't a hobby anymore.

      NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.


      • #4 does one fume wood ?

        never mind...did search on line..interesting.

        thanks for bringing it up Sue.....pete
        Last edited by pete00; 08-30-2006, 02:44 PM.
        Pete Ripaldi

        "Insert Clever Tag Line Here..."


        • #5
          I think I'll try a couple pieces of different woods just to see what happens..we have some poplar, aspen,cedar, butternut, pine of course..maybe a bit of basswood, ..I'll take pics if anything interesting happens..

          Sue Chrestensen


          • #6
            I never tried it BUT at the last wood show I went to in January, the guy from one of the finishes, I can't remember who, talked about it. He said to make sure you use the amonia you get in the home improvement store, the NON sudsing amonia. He also said to make sure your wood is not laying flat on anything. He suggested using the little discs with feet that come in pizza boxes and rest the wood on the legs. He also said to use a clear container so you could see the color the wood was turning so you could remove it when it got to the right color. If you lift it up to look at it during the fuming process, it will stop the process. I have always wanted to try this, I have plenty of discs but so little time to do everything I want. Let me know how it works!


            "Congress needs to realize it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Not of the people, by the people and for Congress." - Dr. Benjamin Carson, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital


            • #7
              here is a link with some reference to different woods.

              Please do this in a well ventilated area. Exposure to ammonia in a refrigeration plant was an event I will never forget. Pure ammonia is deadly stuff.
              CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
              "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
              Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


              • #8
                I'm confused Mac, who is Shannon and Don???

                I sat down today to work on an article on colouring fretwork and came across Sue's thread on fuming. It is no surprise to anyone here, that we like to colour our work.... maybe you should take a look at our stuff Mac.

                I agree that there is much to be added to scrolled work when you incorporate colour, and hope to present some ideas on this in a friendly and supportive manner through this article.

                I just recieved my preview of the sandshading article which Shannon and Bob are presenting in the next issue of SSW&C. I look forward to feedback from the members on this technique.

                Take care


                • #9
                  Carl..thanks for posting the link..Ken Kyler's information and way of presenting it was very helpful!! We have some walnut and butternut which might work..can you picture the beauty of a walnut that is just a bit darker on some pieces?? ahhh, I really appreciate the information that is given here..I'll be careful when I do this..I have vivid memories of problems breathing after not following common sense precautions when using a lacquer spray.. I do learn LOL

                  Sue Chrestensen


                  • #10
                    Betty..thanks for the tip on using the see thru top!! It's one of those practical things that I probably would have not thought of..I'll figure out what to use and cut a few small pieces to put into a container

                    (after I eat the pizza so that I have the little 'feet' thingies..hawaiian pizza is my fav..LOL..hmmm now I'm hungry)

                    Sue Chrestensen


                    • #11

                      There's no scope here for either personal abuse or pontification.

                      If there's anything to be said about fuming wood, then this is the place for it. It's not the place for members to fume at each other.

                      There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                      (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


                      • #12
                        I just want to take a moment to remind EVERYONE about the SSW&C Message Board Bill of Rights

                        We all have our talents, and it serves NO ONE'S purpose to attack someone else's character.

                        Last edited by BobD (Archive); 09-05-2006, 07:59 AM.


                        • #13
                          Here, is that "Fuming" article...

                          My recent comments on the subject of "fuming" was deleted from this post.

                          In that same post, I had mentioned, that I had an article on fuming that was coming out in September, well, here is the fuming article.



                          • #14
                            ? about fuming...

                            I'm using cherry on my new project and the pattern suggest 3 different shade of the article that Carl posted said cherry fumes very well..

                            my question is..should I cut, shape, sand and then fume..
                            once fumed can the wood be sanded?

                            Hawk G-4 Jetcraft
                            Fish are food, not friends!


                            • #15
                              Fuming question...


                              I also, mentioned cherry wood in the article, as one of the woods that is high in tannin.

                              Yes, if you want all your cuts to get fumed, then do all the work before you begin fuming.

                              Once the pieces are fumed, you can't sand to much, or you will have to go to plan B, which is staining to match the fuming.

                              If you always start out making up complete "start to finish" samples, you can try sanding to see how much you can sand. The samples are a great way to learn.

                              Good Luck


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