LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

Fuming White Oak - Ammonia suppliers

2452 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  rick1955
I've been really coming up with nothing for a supplier of a high concentrate Ammonia here in Omaha - perhaps I'm not searching right on Google. Either way, I'd like to go the route of the high concentrate instead of the household version, as I'd like to get this done in a day instead of having to monitor it all day long. So with that, what online sources can I get some. I'm looking to fume a Queen size bed to give a "size" of what I need to do and perhaps someone has a recommendation of how much I would need.

Thanks, Michael
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
I'm also interested in this. I never found a source for concentrated ammonia.

Also, have people had good success fuming? I'm working on a QSWO dining table, but I have some sapwood included. How easy is it to match the sapwood to the heartwood after fuming?

Usually janitorial supply houses are the place to find concentrated ammonia. Remember you are looking for super concentrated ammonia in the 28% or more range. Super toxic stuff, be careful.

Marshall, I wouldn't recommend fuming if you want the sapwood to match the heartwood. The sapwood will be much lighter. Either remove all sapwood, or better yet use a stain that blends and conceals the sapwood. I have found stains with a high solid content work best. Examples include Rodda, Cabot, and Varathane brand stains.
If you use dye, the sapwood can actually stain DARKER than the heartwood.
This table is actually full of sapwood, but I don't notice it too much with the Rodda stain.
Table Furniture Property Chair Wood


See less See more
Ace Hardware carries a 10% concentration that works much better than typical household ammonia. Not as fast as the real industrial strength, but less scary to work with and easier to get.

I've used this a few times on smaller projects and it works great in a short period. I'm sure it would take a larger volume to fume a Queen sized bed but I'm sure it would work.
Ammonia is used to produce crystal meth. So more than likely you will not find it, and if you did the paper work would kill you.
Ammonia is used to produce crystal meth. So more than likely you will not find it, and if you did the paper work would kill you.

- dschlic1
Hmm - must have missed that watching "Breaking Bad"...

Guess I'll be going to Ace Hardware this afternoon - might be able to get 2 for 1 trip as I need something else for a project that they might have…else time to go to HobbyTown.
Try this place. I got this link when someone asked the same question some time ago. Been meaning to buy some and haven't got around to it yet.
Many packing house use ammonia for refrigerant.
Find out who they use
This table is actually full of sapwood, but I don t notice it too much with the Rodda stain.
Table Furniture Property Chair Wood

- pintodeluxe
Nice looking table! I normally stain my QSWO with GF Gel Stain. I thought that fuming might be an easier way to go for such a large proejct, but probably not with the sapwood that I have included already. Trying to match sapwood to the fumed heartwood screams PITA.


See less See more
Don't mess with that high concentration stuff. I did my whole ottoman and Morris chair in a Christmas tree bag with a small plastic container of 10% ammonia cleaner from Fleet and Farm. Worked in under two hours to give me the perfect soft brown I was looking for. With poly over the top it turned a nice golden brown color. Really brought out the flecks and rays. Check out my chair in my projects.

That high concentration stuff scares me and I'm glad I didn't go there.

Do some tests on some small wood pieces at various lengths of time. You may be surprised how dark the wood gets in a couple hours.
You can find it on ebay, search for Ammonium Hydroxide. You can also find it at a drafting supply place, it's used in blueprint machines.
I went to Ace - picked up the 10% - better than the household, but not as powerful, but should do it's job, cheap too and quick to get.

Hopefully I'll be able to build a "container" for the bed and get the beast finished and sold.
I've been a fan of the Ace Hardware stuff for years. Only 10% but does exactly what I need. My first attempts at fuming were with household 'lemony scent' ammonia and they failed to meet my needs. You can get stronger ammonia (used for blueprints i.e. drafting supply house), but the Ace ammonia works well with only a few hours of application.

My technique is to build a booth large enough to fully contain the oak pieces and any fixtures to hold them so that all surfaces are exposed. The booth is a frame (made with PVC pipe and "T"/cross/elbow fittings) covered with drop cloth plastic sheeting (you need to see the color change without having to open up the booth).
The ammonia is poured into a glass baking dish (it is easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission) and then set on the floor of the booth. The air will get quite toxic at this point so use appropriate caution/protection.
I then use a small (5") computer muffin fan to blow air over the dish and circulate the fumes within the booth.

As for holding the pieces, there are many tricks to be sure all exposed surfaces can get fully fumed.
When I do small parts (think rungs in a Mission style piece), I'll drill drywall screws into the hidden ends of the tendons and hang the parts on a string with wood clothespins. Larger parts get more elaborate support, but using screws in strategic places provides support points.
There is also the 'bed of nails' approach with long drywall screws driven through a scrap sheet of plywood. The oak is rested on the points.

For a queen sized bed (head board and frame I assume), I would consider using a half gallon of the ammonia in a pan. You can always refresh it if the process slows significantly before you reach your desired color.
See less See more
My local ace has 20% janitorial ammonia. Our local supplier of printing paper for plans used to bring us the old ammonia from blue print machines. It was still good for fuming but blue print machines are gone in my area. We used to 20 gallons on hand and it was free. We now anhydrous ammonia as a gas. We did some tests and we turned a piece of 3" white oak, brown almost to the center of the piece.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.