Fuming White Oak with Ammonia

One of the characteristics of Mission style furniture is the unique method used to color the wood. Rather than using a stain, the white oak is exposed to ammonia fumes which react with the tannin in the wood to darken it. I have done one other piece using this method and was pleased with the result. The ammonia I am using is very high strength, and must be handled as a hazardous substance. The process is a simple one: construct a tent of plastic sheeting to house the table, fill a couple of pie plates with ammonia and put them in the tent. Wait a few hours and the ammonia will have worked its magic. There are a few samples of scrap inside the tent as well, which will be taken out and checked for darkness during the process.I anticipate fuming the piece for about 3 – 5 hours.After fuming, the plan is to put on a light coat of garnet shellac, sand lightly, and then finish with several coats of an oil and urethane mix.

Table Ready for Fuming

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Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Fuming White Oak with Ammonia

  1. That table looks really sweet. I love fuming oak. With a single coat of amber or garnet shellac you have the perfect color. Aged, dark, perfect. There is a reason Stickley loved this technique. The old way is often the better way…

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