Fuming with Ammonia
How to get an authentic Arts-and-Crafts finish safely and effectively
Synopsis: When many people think of Stickley, Limbert, or Roycroft furniture, fumed white oak is what they see in their mind’s eye. Kevin Rodel explains the history and methods behind ammonia fuming, starting with how to use it safely. Use boards cut from the same tree; otherwise, tannin levels will vary, and so will your result. Then he addresses how to build a fuming chamber and prepare the lumber for a stay inside the chamber. A photo chart compares fumed, unfumed, and tannic acid fumed maple, birch, cherry, and butternut, unfinished and finished with oil. Side information offers a look at how common furniture woods look when fumed and finished in various ways.
Anyone who’s spent time mucking out stables, or just walking through a working barn, knows how pungent ammonia fumes are. Those fumes have darkened the beams of many a barn over the centuries. I wouldn’t doubt…