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Arts & Crafts finish post-ammonia fuming steps

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Forum topic by morty posted 03-12-2012 02:11 AM 2054 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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morty

9 posts in 2245 days


03-12-2012 02:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: ammonia fuming arts crafts finish

Hello,

I am in the process of completing an arts & crafts table made of QSWO. I have already decided I would like to ammonia-fume the piece, and it’s the first time I have attempted this process. (I have procured some higher strength ammonia from a blueprint supply house, and have invested in the proper 3M respirator filters and swim goggles. I appreciate the hazards involved.)

My question is regarding the finishing steps to follow after the fuming is completed. Unless someone has a different suggestion, I am considering the following steps:

fuming → BLO → Van Dyke Brown glaze → Target water-based shellac via HVLP → Target water-based lacquer via HVLP

My reasoning:

I read that the BLO is the “magic” step to bring out the darkening imparted by ammonia. Apparently the oak initially comes out kind of greyish, but the oil shows the true darkening and more reddish/brown result.

Using the Van Dyke Brown glaze is adopted from another arts/crafts finish I used before, where a dye is first applied and dried, then the glaze is applied and wiped off immediately. It acted to further darken the finish and sit in the grain pores where the dye hadn’t penetrated. I may/may not do this after some fume experimenting, especially as the glaze I have is water-based and I don’t know how this will play with the BLO.

The Target shellac is mainly for a barrier coat between the BLO and water-based lacquer, and to impart some more redness.

Does anyone have any feedback or recommendations?


7 replies so far

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Trapshter

64 posts in 1855 days


#1 posted 03-12-2012 02:21 AM

Two things why BLO and not a tung oil? Tung oil will give the same pop your looking for and it will dry . BLO will not ever really dry. Second ML cambell makes a van dike brown glaze in an oil base. It’s thick you might want to thin a little with mineral spirts. The rest of your finish schuelude sounds right to me Good luck sounds like fun
Jm

-- Smile and wave boys just smile and wave

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morty

9 posts in 2245 days


#2 posted 03-12-2012 07:23 PM

That’s interesting that you recommend tung oil over BLO. According to Bob Flexner, true tung oil can take days longer to cure than BLO. Are you sure you weren’t referring to something like Southerland and Wells Polymerized Tung Oil? It apparently is a mixture of linseed oil and tung oil that is heated in an inert gas to get crosslinking to occur. It sounds like it cures quite fast when exposed to air, and Flexner cautions that it can cure faster than it can be wiped off if working large areas.

Thanks for the tip on the ML Cambell glaze!

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Trapshter

64 posts in 1855 days


#3 posted 03-12-2012 11:22 PM

No morty I was not mistaking the two. Tung oil may take a day or two to dry. BLO will never dry. Look for yourself. If you have both BLO and TUNG OIL and if you have used both cans take a pocket knife to the spillage around the cap and see which one I’d hard and crusty and which one is soft and gooey. If both are unopened put a drop on a piece of glass then the other. look the next day. In fact come back to it a few times during the day and check the progress as the day goes on. You will see for yourself the BLO will always be soft never cured. Please look in the blog section a member has a great post on finishing. (thoughts on finishing).I promise you it’s a good read.
John

-- Smile and wave boys just smile and wave

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BobLang

124 posts in 2861 days


#4 posted 03-13-2012 12:26 AM

You’re making it a lot more complicated than you need to. After fuming, it will look gray and bland. Shellac will take care of that, amber or garnet shellac will add some red tones and bring it back to more of a brown. I wait a couple of weeks for the shellac to cure, then use dark paste wax. That’s authentic for early Stickley pieces. If you’re concerned about durability, top coat the shellac with lacquer before the wax.

You will likely need to tone the color if the fuming isn’t even. Mix Lockwood’s “fumed oak” aniline dye in some blonde shellac and go over the lighter areas. If you include any sapwood (easy to miss when building) it will barely change color from the fuming, but with a stronger dye/shellac mix (and some patience) you’ll be able to match the tone.

Whatever you do, test some scraps with different fuming times, then apply the entire finish so your results are predictable.

Bob Lang
ReadWatchDo.com

-- Bob Lang, http://readwatchdo.com

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morty

9 posts in 2245 days


#5 posted 03-13-2012 08:26 PM

I appreciate the replies!

Bob, I’ve admired your work, and I own the “Pop. Woodworking’s Arts & Crafts Furniture Projects” book which features some pieces you built. What you described above is essentially the same as what you explain in the Harvey Ellis Bookcase project. However, I am shooting for a darker finish, closer to that of the Limbert Tabourette on p. 46, or the Morris chair on the cover. Are there any intermediate steps prior to applying shellac that can lead to this deeper color? Is it simply a matter of fuming for a longer period? I would like to avoid using dyes, as it’s my understanding that they are fairly light-sensitive and could fade over time. (That said, I made that tabourette and did use dye/glaze and got results similar to what’s pictured. But my goal is creating a permanent color on projects going forward, and I’ve read fuming offers that.)

Also, my desire is to use water-based products throughout because I plan to spray but don’t have an explosion-proof exhaust fan, so that makes dewhiskering a necessary step. Is there a “best” time to do this relative to fuming/touch up?

Thanks again!

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BobLang

124 posts in 2861 days


#6 posted 03-13-2012 09:11 PM

Leave it in the fumes longer to get a darker finish. That’s why you should test some samples first-to determine fuming time. The Ellis book case was fumed overnight, another 18-24 hours would have made it pretty dark. I wait an hour or two after fuming before doing anything, mainly to get the stink off. If you can’t smell ammonia on it, I don’t think you can hurt it with any common finish. If you touch up with shellac, you can top coat in an hour or so. I would wipe the entire piece down with distilled water and resand before fuming if you’re going to use a water based finished. That’s not a bad idea with shellac either.

Bob Lang
ReadWatchDo.com

-- Bob Lang, http://readwatchdo.com

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morty

9 posts in 2245 days


#7 posted 03-14-2012 02:46 AM

Thanks for the tips, I did save some scraps from the lumber I used to build it so I will definitely do some test fuming/finishing.

I may post back here with some photos of the finished product, whenever that is. I still have a ways to go in construction. It’s the Limbert-inspired table from the Sept. ‘09 issue of Wood Magazine, and it’s been a fun project so far.

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