I read an article about 25 yrs ago about bending wood frozen in
amonia. In the article, the guy bend the wood like a pretzel by hand.
I tried it out on a small piece of oak about 3/8x2x12" just like in
the article. I used household amonia and a Tupperware plastic pan
with air tight seal (this will show you wife that tupperware has may
uses). As it was Spring, I put the container with amonia and the oak
soaking in it, all in the freezer. (this will really impress you
wife) Two days later I pulled it out, opened the container inside the
house, gagged for a while (impessed my wife some more), took it
outside, wrapped my face with a wet rag, and with welding gloves on, I
bent the oak strip in two. Some of the color in the oak was gone,
the liquid looked like oak water, meaning I left in the solution too
long. The water content in the household amonia was probably too
high as well, although it didn't freeze.
I always thought that if I needed to do this to a longer heavier piece
of lumber, I would build a temp vat with a lid and a heavy polyethene
liner outside in a field. I would use it in the middle of a prairie
winter at -30 below and use industrial strength amonia. My form and
clamps would be ready, I would be dressed to be there for 1/2 - 3/4 hr
wearing heavy gloves and a respirator (Scott Airpac comes to mind) .
Anyone wanting to try this method should first buy some household
amonia and take fast sniff. Then decide whether you will go ahead or
get the stronger stuff. Get sloppy with amonia and it will kill you.