Wood Finishing Videos

The Lost Art of Fuming Wood for Color

 We are in an age when changing or enhancing the color of wood simply means using one of the fine stains or dyes are readily available. It wasn't all that long ago that the to change or enhance the color of wood was something called Fuming. It's the same thing that mother nature uses, oxidization.
Mother nature does it naturally with oxygen, but we don't have decades to wait, so we can speed up the process with ammonia. The benefits of fuming wood is that you always get a consistent color, no need to worry about dye lots or color names on the can, and the coloring can penetrate the wood up to an eighth of an inch deep for a rich permanent coloration (not longer fuming is required for deeper wood penetration). The disadvantage is that different hues and tones are difficult to control because of differing wood types and length of fuming time and even colors withing the same woods, but we can see these with stains and dyes too.

To fume wood you only need four things, ammonia (more on this later), a plastic or glass (NOT metal) container (with a lid) for the ammonia to aerate from, and some sort of a sealed plastic tent or container in which to fume the wood.