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Fuming a Small Box With Household Ammonia #1: After Four Days of Exposure

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Blog entry by Roger Kimmel posted 09-18-2014 12:49 AM 1551 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Fuming a Small Box With Household Ammonia series Part 2: After Six Days of Exposure »

The box hasn’t darkened appreciably over the past two days, so I put in fresh ammonia in a slightly bigger saucer to give it more surface area. Here’s a funny thing. It felt like the box was damp to the touch. The lid just lies in a rabbet in the sides, and the wood had swollen so much that it was jammed in tight! It really has been picking up moisture. I don’t know if this is due to the fuming reaction, or if it is just a consequence of having the box suspended over a dish of water. The ammonia supposedly reacts with tannin in the wood to produce the dark color. If anyone knows the detailed chemistry behind this, I’d like to know.



8 comments so far

View longgone's profile

longgone

5688 posts in 2769 days


#1 posted 09-18-2014 03:10 AM

Why did you suspend it over a dish of water? When I fumed an oak box I just sealed it in a container with a dish of pure ammonia…not diluted with water. I used just regular ammonia I bought at the grocery store. The oak came out substantially darker and I fumed it for about 24 hours.

View hoss12992's profile

hoss12992

3831 posts in 1353 days


#2 posted 09-18-2014 04:01 AM

When I fume smaller stuff, I get a smaller bowl and put straight ammonia in it, place it inside a garbage trash bag, then put my work piece in it, with some spacers underneth so as its not sitting on the trash bag. Then I tape up the end of the trash bag so it is air tight, and works like a charm. Hope this helps

-- The Old Rednek Workshop https://www.facebook.com/theoldrednekworkshoptn

View Roger Kimmel's profile

Roger Kimmel

36 posts in 840 days


#3 posted 09-18-2014 09:27 AM



Why did you suspend it over a dish of water? When I fumed an oak box I just sealed it in a container with a dish of pure ammonia…not diluted with water. I used just regular ammonia I bought at the grocery store. The oak came out substantially darker and I fumed it for about 24 hours.

- Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor


Sorry, I wasn’t being clear. It’s over a dish of ammonia, but grocery store ammonia is mostly water.

View Roger Kimmel's profile

Roger Kimmel

36 posts in 840 days


#4 posted 09-18-2014 09:30 AM



When I fume smaller stuff, I get a smaller bowl and put straight ammonia in it, place it inside a garbage trash bag, then put my work piece in it, with some spacers underneth so as its not sitting on the trash bag. Then I tape up the end of the trash bag so it is air tight, and works like a charm. Hope this helps

- hoss12992


Thanks Hoss. I think the big thing is the ammonia, the stronger the better. It seems like even cleaning ammonia comes in different strengths. What kind did you use, and how long did it take?

View Chemie555's profile

Chemie555

21 posts in 841 days


#5 posted 09-18-2014 01:22 PM

You can get really strong ammonia at this link: https://us.vwr.com/store/catalog/product.jsp?catalog_number=JT9736-9

But as a chemical engineer I must also warn you of the extreme hazards of using product this strong:

Health Rating: 4 – Extreme (Poison) Flammability Rating: 1 – Slight Reactivity Rating: 2 – Moderate Contact Rating: 3 – Severe (Corrosive) Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES Storage Color Code: White Stripe (Store Separately) —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Potential Health Effects —————————————————

Ammonia is very alkaline and reacts corrosively with all body tissues.

Inhalation: Corrosive. Extremely destructive to tissues of the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. Symptoms may include burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting. Inhalation may be fatal as a result of spasm inflammation and edema of the larynx and bronchi, chemical pneumonitis and pulmonary edema.
Ingestion: Corrosive. Swallowing can cause severe burns of the mouth, throat, and stomach, leading to death. Can cause sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea.
Skin Contact: Dermal contact with alkaline corrosives may produce pain, redness, severe irritation or full thickness burns. May be absorbed through the skin with possible systemic effects.
Eye Contact: Corrosive. Can cause blurred vision, redness, pain, severe tissue burns and eye damage. Eye exposure may result in temporary or permanent blindness.
Chronic Exposure: Prolonged or repeated skin exposure may cause dermatitis. Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause eye, liver, kidney, or lung damage.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions: No information found.

-- If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.

View Roger Kimmel's profile

Roger Kimmel

36 posts in 840 days


#6 posted 09-18-2014 11:47 PM

27% – yikes! Thanks for the link. This would do the trick, but at $199 per 2.5 liter, I think I’ll stick with Mr. Clean!


You can get really strong ammonia at this link: https://us.vwr.com/store/catalog/product.jsp?catalog_number=JT9736-9

But as a chemical engineer I must also warn you of the extreme hazards of using product this strong:

Health Rating: 4 – Extreme (Poison) Flammability Rating: 1 – Slight Reactivity Rating: 2 – Moderate Contact Rating: 3 – Severe (Corrosive) Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES Storage Color Code: White Stripe (Store Separately) —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Potential Health Effects —————————————————

Ammonia is very alkaline and reacts corrosively with all body tissues.

Inhalation: Corrosive. Extremely destructive to tissues of the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. Symptoms may include burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting. Inhalation may be fatal as a result of spasm inflammation and edema of the larynx and bronchi, chemical pneumonitis and pulmonary edema.
Ingestion: Corrosive. Swallowing can cause severe burns of the mouth, throat, and stomach, leading to death. Can cause sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea.
Skin Contact: Dermal contact with alkaline corrosives may produce pain, redness, severe irritation or full thickness burns. May be absorbed through the skin with possible systemic effects.
Eye Contact: Corrosive. Can cause blurred vision, redness, pain, severe tissue burns and eye damage. Eye exposure may result in temporary or permanent blindness.
Chronic Exposure: Prolonged or repeated skin exposure may cause dermatitis. Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause eye, liver, kidney, or lung damage.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions: No information found.

- Chemie555


View wb8nbs's profile

wb8nbs

162 posts in 2153 days


#7 posted 09-24-2014 03:12 PM

Anhydrous Ammonia is common on farms and in meth labs. If you can find one of those, maybe they will give you a litre or so. It is EXTREMELY nasty stuff. I wouldn’t try.

-- The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

View Roger Kimmel's profile

Roger Kimmel

36 posts in 840 days


#8 posted 09-25-2014 12:26 AM



Anhydrous Ammonia is common on farms and in meth labs. If you can find one of those, maybe they will give you a litre or so. It is EXTREMELY nasty stuff. I wouldn t try.

- wb8nbs


We have a lot of farms and meth labs around here, but I don’t want to go up to them and ask to borrow a cup of ammonia. You’re right, even the 27% ammonia is very nasty. You can get nice results with household ammonia if you are willing to wait, and it is not nearly so noxious.

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