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I'm building speaker stands out of quarter sawn white oak and plan on fuming them.

What are you guys experiences with fuming?
 

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dangerous..
do you know how to???
do you even have a source for straight ammonia???
 

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No but I've read up on it a bit. It was common during the Mission Furniture period. H. H. Windsor wrote a series of articles that appeared in Popular Mechanics back about 100 years ago. It was compiled into a book eventually. Fuming was part of the look and one or more of the articles describes the process in detail. The copyrights have expired long ago and I've seen free downloads of the book on the net although the book is also available, usually at a reasonable price. It's a reasonably good investment if you like Mission furniture as the book is a series of designs which you can build or use for inspiration.

All of the designs Windsor intended to be made from white oak which is high in tannin which is what the ammonia vapors react with. Basically you just build a tent around the piece and leave a saucer of ammonia inside and wait. It takes days for the process to work. I have no idea what the strength of ammonia Windsor had available to him at the time but I would use the strongest that you can find.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
dangerous..
do you know how to???
do you even have a source for straight ammonia???
Just what I have read & seen on the web, and I would only use the 10% grade that can be bought at ace hardware and I do understand ammonia is dangerous so I would use the protective gear necessary.
 

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No but I've read up on it a bit. It was common during the Mission Furniture period. H. H. Windsor wrote a series of articles that appeared in Popular Mechanics back about 100 years ago. It was compiled into a book eventually. Fuming was part of the look and one or more of the articles describes the process in detail. The copyrights have expired long ago and I've seen free downloads of the book on the net although the book is also available, usually at a reasonable price. It's a reasonably good investment if you like Mission furniture as the book is a series of designs which you can build or use for inspiration.

All of the designs Windsor intended to be made from white oak which is high in tannin which is what the ammonia vapors react with. Basically you just build a tent around the piece and leave a saucer of ammonia inside and wait. It takes days for the process to work. I have no idea what the strength of ammonia Windsor had available to him at the time but I would use the strongest that you can find.
Pretty much what I have read & seen online.
 

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dangerous..
do you know how to???
do you even have a source for straight ammonia???
H. H. Windsor wouldn't have had access to straight ammonia Stick. He would only have had access to aqueous ammonia which would have been greatly diluted from pure anhydrous ammonia. Twice a year I head over to Alberta and haul anhydrous ammonia to the farmers who use it in their fields. Anhydrous is the cheapest form of nitrogen fertilizer being 82% by weight. You are quite right about the hazards. I have to take a course to handle it and wear a full face mask respirator as well as protective clothing. Depending on ambient temperature it is usually at a pressure of 50-100psi, it evaporates at -33C, and is extremely caustic.
 

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it's been a lot of decades since I've done any...
or Anhydrous ammonia wood bending either..
there must have been some very good reasons...
postponing my death is one that immediately comes to mind.......

FWIW...
fuming effects continue after the piece is removed from the fumes...
the fumes react w/ the tannin causing the wood to darken and it's grain to ''pop''...
results from household ammonia never seems to compare in results as when Anhydrous is used..
 

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adds darkening to the wood w/o hiding the grain...
also makes the grain stand out...

and you MUST have final sanding done before you fume...

or all bets are off...
 
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When I was a fireman I had to stop a major leak of Anhydrous Ammonia leaking from a semi tank trailer just up hill from the village that I lived in. Even with full body protection and a Scot Pack full face SCBA mask on (air supplied from a tank on my back), the stuff seeped into my gloves and boots (even though they were sealed to my hazmat suit with duct tape), making the cuticles around my finger and toe nails burn. This burning sensation continued for days afterward, and my nails didn't grow well for months after this incident. I had a scrape on my arm that had almost healed and the ammonia caused major pain in it to the point that I almost couldn't get the leak stopped, because my arm hurt so bad. It also took much longer to heal after that incident.

Household ammonia is only 6-8% ammonia. The rest is water. Anhydrous Ammonia is nearly 100% ammonia. (Anhydrous means No or Nearly No Water). Besides being used by farmers, all of the food distribution warehouses, ice skating rinks, etc. have been switching back to anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant because of it's high refrigeration efficiency and low cost, when compared with the Freons, in spite of the increased hazards associated with it.

My #2 son is the senior refrigeration technician for a major grocery distribution center near me with about 1 million square feet of refrigerated space, and even though he has all of the training and specialized personal protection equipment to use when dealing with the stuff I still worry about him, based on my own experiences with that leak over 40 years ago. It's really nasty stuff, and I have no desire to ever use it for my woodworking, or even have any of it anywhere near my home or shop.

Please do yourself and your family a huge favor, and find another way to color your wood. Don't even think about ammonia fuming of your projects. Your life and the lives of your family may depend on it.

Charley
 

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Charley anhydrous will seek out water. I've heard of releases being drawn to dugouts, sloughs, ponds, even ditches if there was water in them. The people who watched it happen said it was somewhat spooky to watch. It is very dangerous regarding your eyes because that is a rich and easy source of water. Open sores are the same. It begins a chemical reaction when it finds the water which is the source of the burning. The aqueous form is much safer but many people find the smell extremely offensive.
 

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Charley anhydrous will seek out water. I've heard of releases being drawn to dugouts, sloughs, ponds, even ditches if there was water in them. The people who watched it happen said it was somewhat spooky to watch. It is very dangerous regarding your eyes because that is a rich and easy source of water. Open sores are the same. It begins a chemical reaction when it finds the water which is the source of the burning. The aqueous form is much safer but many people find the smell extremely offensive.
The saving grace here is, that, the fumes will generally drive you away before you exceed the Threshold Limit Value (TLV) and cause permanent health issues.

We used to have a blue line printer and had an Ammonia bottle bank in on open Mezzanine hallway. Every once in a while a connection would leak. Just to get the K bottles to shut them off was a pain. We finally got rid of the bank/printers and went to plotters.

As a former safety professional I can not recommend anyone using this material if at all possible. It is dangerous; one misstep and it may be disastrous. You need experience and PPE not normally found at your local neighborhood big box store to safely handle it.
 
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