|Project by jetnum||posted 09-27-2011 10:45 PM||6046 views||0 times favorited||3 comments|
This is a simple two-step display shelf I made in a hurry for a client using urban quartersawn white oak. The display shelf will be used to display hand-crafted artwork at art shows.
There is nothing interesting about the joinery: very simple lap joints and screws hold the project together.
Of more interest is the technique used to finish the wood. The urban quartersawn white oak that I obtained for this project has a lot of character in the ray flecks that are characteristic of quartersawn oak. I wanted to highlight the grain and fleck patterns as much as possible. Internet research suggested fuming the wood using ammonia gas:
Finishing Quartersawn White Oak: http://thewoodwhisperer.com/finishing-quartersawn-white-oak/
... but constructing a special fuming tent and using ammonia gas seemed way to complicated and unpleasant, so I decided to try just brushing household ammonia directly on the wood. The ammonia reacts with the tannic acid in the oak which results in a darker color. Because the tannic acids are more accessible in the open-pored grain of the wood and less so in the ray flecks, there is a tendency for this process to make the ray flecks really “pop” out of the wood.
As you can see in the photographs, I first experimented with small scraps to test the results of ammonia-treated versus untreated white oak. I then tried staining samples using a conventional Minwax stain and oiling with Tung Oil. My experiments convinced me that a brush-on-and-let-dry treatment with household ammonia would indeed result in better contrast between in the grain and ray flecks of the wood.
Note that the household ammonia I used also contained surfactants (soap) which concerned me but in the end does not appear to have impacted the finish. One note of caution: if you do use this technique, be sure to brush on the ammonia as quickly and evenly as you can over the entire surface of a board in order to avoid unwanted staining.
-- “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther King Jr.