On Fri, 21 May 2004 17:50:27 -0400, email@example.com (Pete) wrote:
Did you fall asleep on the ENTER key? 350 lines??
Concentrated ammonia? Dunno about the gray part, but do know you
should handle it like it's opposite, a strong acid like sulfuric, or
hydrochloric. Wear rubber gloves and goggles, and keep a lot of water
readily available. I know of a person who dropped a large glass
bottle of conc ammonia. He didn't make it to the door, but was
rescued by someone who knew what had happened and what to do. The
fumes are corrosive and deadly.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Pete) wrote in message
If you want a grey on pine, try an iron acetate mix. This is very
easy to make, and less unpleasant to work with than ammonia.
Take a jar of strong vinegar. You can just use an empty pickle jar and
contents, but clean pickling vinegar is cheap. IMPORTANT - Knock a
couple of holes in the metal lid as a gas vent - this mixture
outgasses a little, and you don't want a glass shrapnel bomb in the
Throw in a little clean iron. Steel wool is good, and reacts quickly.
You can use old woodscrews too. Then place a big heavy nut or
something on top to weight it down. Make sure that there's no wire
wool poking above the surface of the liquid.
Leave it for a week and ignore it. You should then have a dingy
grey/black solution. Any red or brown colour is bad, as this will give
a rusty brown stain on the timber (you probably had the wire wool
exposed to the air). The mixture keeps for a few weeks, but throw it
away after 3 months, or if it discolours. Taking the iron out improves
To use this, just wipe it over your timber. Leave it for 20 minutes or
so, then wash off. Sometimes a mere spot of detergent helps to wet the
It works best on tannin-rich timbers like oak. I've no idea what the
chemistry is - clearly the old "iron gall ink" recipe is involved, a
reaction that produces iron tannates. However this recipe also works
on some timbers that are practically tannin-free, including softwoods.
It tends to grey rather than black, but there's definitely a colouring
action (and not just a pigment effect) I can't promise this will work
on your timber, but it's certainly worth the experiment.
I'd also be interested to find out what the chemistry is here.
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