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Fumed Curly Cherry Dining Table

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Project by jonsprague0000 posted 10-14-2014 08:14 PM 3439 views 28 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I bought my house I didn’t have a dining room table. So what better project than to make my own. I’ve been working on this project for the last few months. This is a first for me to use all Cherry and it worked out great. The table supports leafs on both ends.

Wood: Cherry (top), Curly Cherry (breadboards, legs, stretcher), Cocobolo (keyed tenons), Walnut (pegs)

Finish: Ammonia fuming, Shellac washcoat, Gloss then Satin Arm-R-Seal

Joinery: Mortise and Tenons, Breadboards, and Keyed Tenons

The finishing process was the toughest/funnest part. I was worried about the Cherry blotching so I decided to try and Ammonia fume the table. I took some scrap Cherry and put it in a small closed trashcan for 12 and 24 hours with the Ammonia. The Cherry got super dark. I know some say there aren’t enough Tannins, but in the small confined area it worked. So I built a large fuming tent and fumed the entire piece. It got slightly darker but not nearly as much as the scrap wood. I think the main issue was that the fumes weren’t as concentrated because the tent was so big.





23 comments so far

View Peter Brown's profile

Peter Brown

196 posts in 1142 days


#1 posted 10-14-2014 08:29 PM

It looks fantastic. Favorited it…

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

View BTimmons's profile (online now)

BTimmons

2298 posts in 1950 days


#2 posted 10-14-2014 09:04 PM

Fuming aside, that’s top notch work.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

7115 posts in 2616 days


#3 posted 10-14-2014 09:11 PM

I love it. Fantastic piece!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1952 days


#4 posted 10-14-2014 09:14 PM

That is pretty cool.
Because your tent had more volume, your ammonia didn’t have the concentration it needed.
Either give the wood less headspace on the next try or maybe try heating your bowl of ammonia so the ammonia fumes are at a heavier concentration.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View jonsprague0000's profile

jonsprague0000

94 posts in 1054 days


#5 posted 10-14-2014 10:22 PM

Thanks for all the compliments. Dallas, how do you heat your Ammonia? I think I’m gonna hold off on the Ammonia in the future, I got a few wiffs of it and it hurt.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1952 days


#6 posted 10-14-2014 10:37 PM

Ammonia is a poison. It will kill you by ripping your lungs apart. in low dosage like consumer bottles, it can cause damage, but not usually.
In levels using concentrated stuff, like that in commercial or cooling system ammonia, you will die a horrible death.

Simply put, I heat ammonia inside a case made of Visqueen or thick contractors bags with the wood to be fumed by heating he bag with a space heater from far enough on the outside that it won’t melt the plastic.
Ammonia in solution will separate from the water, (carrier), at a very low temperature.

Never, Never, Never, Never breathe the ammonia you have concentrated in a package even if it hasn’t been heated.

I know my docs have warned me about this because it could kill me with a lot smaller exposure.
Not that it would bother you, but I have some health issues that will come into play.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1263 days


#7 posted 10-14-2014 10:45 PM

First of all, very nice table. I like it.

Second, I’m curious why you would go through so much trouble to fume the cherry when it will darken and the blotching will disappear in a few weeks naturally. Maybe I’m missing something (not unusual). EDIT: especially, now that I read the post from Dallas, it’s dangerous.

Charles

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View BerBer5985's profile

BerBer5985

445 posts in 1885 days


#8 posted 10-14-2014 10:57 PM

Definitely Favorited it! It looks awesome. Cherry is one of my favorite hardwoods and that table design is exactly what I want to build for my table. Looks great. I’m going to probably copy it, I hope you don’t mind. ;)

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One, www.qualitycarpetonecrofton.com

View jonsprague0000's profile

jonsprague0000

94 posts in 1054 days


#9 posted 10-14-2014 11:46 PM

Thanks BerBer. Feel free to copy it and ‘like’ the project. My life goal is to make it into lumberjocks top 3 daily.

Charles, I wanted to try and fume because I had never tried it before and it sounded interesting. It was more of a fun learning experience. Plus if it would get me that old Cherry Patina faster without dyes then why not.

Thanks Dallas, I think I’ll hold off on heating the ammonia any time soon. Sounds too dangerous. When I was fuming I used a ammonia respirator, but there was the occasional time I sniffed the wood to see if it had de-fumed yet. Well it hadn’t and those fumes almost knocked me on my butt.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1952 days


#10 posted 10-14-2014 11:47 PM

https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/chemical_terrorism/ammonia_tech.htm

Excerpt:

What is ammonia’s mechanism of action?

Ammonia interacts immediately upon contact with available moisture in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, respiratory tract, and particularly mucous surfaces to form the very caustic ammonium hydroxide. Ammonium hydroxide causes the necrosis of tissues through disruption of cell membrane lipids (saponification) leading to cellular destruction. As cell proteins break down, water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage.
What are the immediate health effects of ammonia exposure?

Inhalation: Ammonia is irritating and corrosive. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar edema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress or failure. Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation. Ammonia’s odor provides adequate early warning of its presence, but ammonia also causes olfactory fatigue or adaptation, reducing awareness of one’s prolonged exposure at low concentrations.

Children exposed to the same concentrations of ammonia vapor as adults may receive a larger dose because they have greater lung surface area-to-body weight ratios and increased minute volumes-to-weight ratios. In addition, they may be exposed to higher concentrations than adults in the same location because of their shorter height and the higher concentrations of ammonia vapor initially found near the ground.

Skin or eye contact: Exposure to low concentrations of ammonia in air or solution may produce rapid skin or eye irritation. Higher concentrations of ammonia may cause severe injury and burns. Contact with concentrated ammonia solutions such as industrial cleaners may cause corrosive injury including skin burns, permanent eye damage or blindness. The full extent of eye injury may not be apparent for up to a week after the exposure. Contact with liquefied ammonia can also cause frostbite injury.

Ingestion: Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia from swallowing ammonia solution results in corrosive damage to the mouth, throat and stomach. Ingestion of ammonia does not normally result in systemic poisoning.
How is ammonia exposure treated?

There is no antidote for ammonia poisoning, but ammonia’s effects can be treated, and most people recover. Immediate decontamination of skin and eyes with copious amounts of water is very important. Treatment consists of supportive measures and can include administration of humidified oxygen, bronchodilators and airway management. Ingested ammonia is diluted with milk or water.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5056 posts in 2612 days


#11 posted 10-15-2014 12:09 AM

That is a great looking trestle table! I’m sure you’ll have many fine meals around it!

As for the fuming, why not just set it out in the sun? That should accomplish nearly the same thing, without any fried lungs!

-- Dean

View Woodbridge's profile

Woodbridge

3460 posts in 1883 days


#12 posted 10-15-2014 12:21 AM

Beautiful table.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View jonsprague0000's profile

jonsprague0000

94 posts in 1054 days


#13 posted 10-15-2014 01:28 AM

I tried putting it out in the sun. It was a bad idea. Be very careful. I only left it a few hours and even flipped it occasionally. When I brought it in I noticed that the breadboard rose slightly above the table on the sides. There was slight cupping. I guess either the 100 degree sun took its toll or my breadboards weren’t tight enough.

Anyways I was able to flip the table and get the breadboards flush again after a day. It sure did scare me though. But it did do a good job darkening.

Thanks for all the nice comments. And Dallas, what fun would fuming be if it wasn’t a little dangerous.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1263 days


#14 posted 10-15-2014 01:38 AM

Yup, direct sunlight can cup it pretty well, eh? I tried that once.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2574 days


#15 posted 10-15-2014 01:54 AM


https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/chemical_terrorism/ammonia_tech.htm

Excerpt:

What is ammonia’s mechanism of action?

Ammonia interacts immediately upon contact with available moisture in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, respiratory tract, and particularly mucous surfaces to form the very caustic ammonium hydroxide. Ammonium hydroxide causes the necrosis of tissues through disruption of cell membrane lipids (saponification) leading to cellular destruction. As cell proteins break down, water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage.
What are the immediate health effects of ammonia exposure?

Inhalation: Ammonia is irritating and corrosive. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar edema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress or failure. Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation. Ammonia s odor provides adequate early warning of its presence, but ammonia also causes olfactory fatigue or adaptation, reducing awareness of one s prolonged exposure at low concentrations.

Children exposed to the same concentrations of ammonia vapor as adults may receive a larger dose because they have greater lung surface area-to-body weight ratios and increased minute volumes-to-weight ratios. In addition, they may be exposed to higher concentrations than adults in the same location because of their shorter height and the higher concentrations of ammonia vapor initially found near the ground.

Skin or eye contact: Exposure to low concentrations of ammonia in air or solution may produce rapid skin or eye irritation. Higher concentrations of ammonia may cause severe injury and burns. Contact with concentrated ammonia solutions such as industrial cleaners may cause corrosive injury including skin burns, permanent eye damage or blindness. The full extent of eye injury may not be apparent for up to a week after the exposure. Contact with liquefied ammonia can also cause frostbite injury.

Ingestion: Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia from swallowing ammonia solution results in corrosive damage to the mouth, throat and stomach. Ingestion of ammonia does not normally result in systemic poisoning.
How is ammonia exposure treated?

There is no antidote for ammonia poisoning, but ammonia s effects can be treated, and most people recover. Immediate decontamination of skin and eyes with copious amounts of water is very important. Treatment consists of supportive measures and can include administration of humidified oxygen, bronchodilators and airway management. Ingested ammonia is diluted with milk or water.

- Dallas


You beat me to it, Dallas. I worked in the HAZMAT biz for awhile, and ammonia is bad news. I have, however, fumed oak with ammonia and used it to patinate copper. You just have to know the dangers, and protect for them. I’ve also used bleach for patinating copper, and the cautions are the same. Nothing like leaning over a bin with poison fumes coming out of it to remind you of the dangers…hopefully getting away before getting seriously hurt.

I did not know that cherry could be fumed with ammonia. I’ll have to check that out. All woods should react to some extent with corrosives (be they acid or base).

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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