I posted before about ageing cherry, I have been using the suggestion of
Drano it works great the color is perfect, the only problem is I some times
get small black specks almost like mold. The parts I am making now are small
so I dip them in a diluted solution of drano and then dip them in vinegar,
then dry them off the spots show up very quick only a couple minutes. I was
thinking it might be from the type of draino (kitchen sink) maybe I should
use plain lye? Or if any one knows of a stain that would give me the same
color I would appreciate knowing what that might be since, I can get larger
parts to quote on but I don't if I can control the color, and if I keep
getting the black speckles that will be a problem
Joe, try using plain lye, like Red Devil Lye. Drano has little pieces of
aluminum in it to help the drain cleaning action. Perhaps this is what's
causing the specks.
As a chemist, I can tell you that lye (and Drano) is EXTREMELY
dangerous. Always wear rubber gloves and mix up your solution slowly
(add the Drano to cold water a little at a time) so that it doesn't
overheat and boil.
To reply, remove .nojunk from my email address.
I fume most of my cherry, and the effect is stunning. Beautiful
ageing, and absolutley no obscuring of the figure whatsoever. The
richness of the resulting wood is unlike any I've ever seen.
Cherry is rich with tannin (what causes the reaction with ammonia in
the first place), but you may run into a difference in tannin content
between boards from different trees. If you're not using boards from
the same tree, best to mix up a weak solution of tannic acid and brush
it on before fuming. (Tannic acid is commonly available in a powder,
you mix it with distilled water yourself.) It's very safe stuff, so
don't worry about using it. The ammonia fuming, however...best to read
up big-time before doing it. It's quite safe if you're cautious, quite
dangerous if you're not.
Good tip...the mail-order chem-supply place I get mine from isn't
cheap, and I also have to pay shipping if I use them.
On the other hand, there's wine-making places all over where I live, so
when I run out, it's nice to know there's a ready supply 20 minutes
Thanks again, Doug!
Drano has flakes of aluminum in it which reacts VERY vigorously with
the sodium hydroxide to heat up the solution thus helping to melt
grease. The spots you are getting are possibly a reaction to the
Besides, doesn't drano also have a blue dye in it?
Yes, use straight lye, you can vary the shade (so I've been told) by
adjusting the concentration of the solution.
As others have mentioned impurities will give black spots.
I use pure lye to age cherry. Once I encountered small black
spots. I think it was caused by aluminum oxide left over from
sandpaper. A more careful cleaning after sanding got rid of
Some of my cherry projects can bee seen at:
While it seems a little obvious (and I don't wish to disregard the
subtle effects the other techniques may deliver) why not just leave
your piece out in direct sunlight? If you're in moderate northern
latitudes, the time is right for it (although late spring is better).
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