Today I took out a bunch of oak furniture that I built years ago for a
new coat of oil finish. Getting it out in the sunlight I was surprised
by how yellow it looks now (its about 9 years old). Almost looks like
someone applied Golden Oak stain which I do not like so much.
The wood is quartersawn oak with several coats of oil applied originally
and a recent coat of Tried and True Varnish Oil.
Would I have any luck trying to fume it now? My impression is that oil
finish penetrates the wood so it might not let the ammonia work. On the
other hand, ammonia is pretty potent stuff so it might penetrate the
through the oil. Yes, I could test a scrap but I thought I'd post this
question before I go shopping for ammonia, protective gear, etc.
Thanks in advance,
Oil yellows. Always does, always will. Linseed goes bilious yellow in a
few months over a summer, better oils take some years to get there.
Only way to really stop it is to use a reddish oil instead. It still
adds some yellow, but at least it now looks an attractive brown, not
Only if you can get the oil finish off first. You _might_ get some
ammonia through the oil in patches (especially worn edges), but any
colour change will be patchy as anything and not a good look.
I've successfully fumed oiled oak, but only on Craftsman-style stuff
where it was all square corners and easily sanded free of finish first.
Even then I had trouble with any sorts of moulding (but they were
already quite dark and the variation wasn't obvious)..
Also if there's any shellac around, ammonia has a bad effect on that.
I don't think you will get what you want by fuming. Fuming works best
on raw, unfinished wood untouched by anything else. Since the wood has
been sealed before, I think at best you would have a blotchy finish
since you would never get all the remnants of the sealer off the wood.
I think you would be better served by getting some different stains in
the family of coloring you want and then mix and test until you get the
right color. If you are not stripping and are concerned about blotchy
finishing with the pigment stains, try using some of the better gels.
You have some good advise from others here Jim, the only thing I would add
is that if you do decide to fume, make sure you use 29% (pretty much only
available from blue print shops).
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