Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 175 March 2020 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
Finishing: Aging Hardwoods with Uric Acid and Ammonia
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Here is another blast from the past...

I was taught to use a water wheel to sharpen various tools way back while I was in college working in an antique restoration shop. The water smelled horrible and was always very murky. It wasn't until a little later that I found out why...
I saw one of the craftsman walk over to the wheel and urinate into the trough. I immediately went to the sink and washed my hands and asked my fellow worker what the hell was that all about? He explained the iron filings and nails would break down faster by adding uric acid, ammonia and vinegar to the water and then went on to explain how this mixture would age various hardwoods based on how much tannin was in the wood. From light grey to totally black.

Have some fun and make a batch, straining it through cheesecloth before using and gather some scraps to experiment with. To check the color concentration after it is completely dry I use a spray can of SealCoat shellac to bring out the beauty and depth of color of different concentrations. Or, take some old rusty iron/cut nails and put them in a jar with filled with equal parts of water and ammonia. After the solution turns very dark over a few days you're ready to go...or you can speed it up...

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at alannoel@comcast.net.

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

March 18, 2020  Finishing the Finish
March 21, 2020  Finishing 101
April 1, 2020  Coloring Wood
April 8, 2020  French Polish Workshop
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