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Author Topic: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?  (Read 5645 times)

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Offline Brad_bb

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How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« on: April 06, 2018, 12:38:08 AM »
So I have some new interior divided light doors that are high fleck quarter sawn white oak.  I'm looking to darken the rays like this


 

This is a new piece I came across from a seller at the Round Top Texas antique flea market.  He had a number of White oak pieces he finished like this.  I explained I have a set of doors that I wanted to highlight the rays as he's done.  He said he oxidized the wood with a chemical and did a wax finish.  I asked what he used, but he would not tell me.  He was smug about it, which really put me off.  He would not help me.  From how cagey he was being I don't even know if what he told me was even the truth.  I'm sure he used some chemical or process to get the darkening of the wood.  I know it's NOT vinegar/steel wool/water.  That will turn oak black.  The steel wool does that.  Could it be vinegar?  Lemon Juice?  Was heat used?  I have no idea.  Does anyone?  I want to "oxidize" the wood so that the rays are more contrasted, then I just want to clear it with General Finish High Performance flat.  Help appreciated.
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Offline Don P

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 07:20:52 AM »
I don't know what was done there. Old arts and crafts furniture was fumed with ammonia in a fuming cabinet, might be worth a google.
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Offline Reddog sawmill

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 04:20:19 PM »
Lime sulfer would turn the surrounding wood a very light color probably leaving the flecks a darker color and give you that contrast

Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2018, 08:56:02 PM »
Any idea what chlorine/bleach would do to it, its a rather good oxidizer, according to its warning lables.
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Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2018, 09:01:43 PM »
Forget my last post try this Get the Color Out With Wood Bleach
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Offline bags

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2018, 09:06:04 PM »
Some of us old rednecks use the K.I.S.S. system. Run a light torch over it--- sand--- then finish.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 10:12:32 PM »
Reddog, can you explain the process a bit more?  

It seems maybe the ammonia fuming could have been used followed by a liming wax.
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 10:37:55 PM »
Ammonia fuming typically turns the non-medullary cells brown.  That photo is much too light to be of wood that has been fumed.
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Offline low_48

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2018, 12:55:08 AM »
Whatever he did, it sure soaked into the joinery! Even the glue line at the panel seam stands out. I'm guessing two part wood bleach. Some folks make their own 2 part with lye and swimming pool treatment peroxide. Be careful!

Offline Reddog sawmill

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2018, 06:57:28 AM »
Typically people use lime sulfer to preserve the "dead wood" on bonsai trees. It is most often just brushed on with a small brush and it turns the wood almost white. That picture almost looks like the wood was slightly toasted and sanded or wiped down with steel wool then a chemical was applied. Lime sulfer will even turn burnt wood white. Wood bleach is another good guess though.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2018, 08:29:39 AM »
As I said, this piece in the photo has a wax finish.  I could feel the wax on it.  I'm thinking it's probably liming wax (that I just learned about via this post) which has imparted the white grain filling.  

scsmith42, What else would turn the rays brown like that.  From the videos on the web I watched last night on ammonia fuming, it looked like it turned the rays and the rest of the wood brown, although now the same for each.  So the rays seemed to stand out.  
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Offline Magicman

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2018, 08:59:30 AM »
I sawed some Post Oak logs a couple of weeks ago that had been bucked and neglected for several years and the rays were almost black.  In past years I have seen these black rays in Post Oak several times.  I can easily see where it could be bleached and would look very similar to Brad's picture above.



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Offline scsmith42

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2018, 10:02:35 AM »
scsmith42, What else would turn the rays brown like that.  From the videos on the web I watched last night on ammonia fuming, it looked like it turned the rays and the rest of the wood brown, although now the same for each.  So the rays seemed to stand out.  

Brad, typically when white oak is fumed the non-medullary cells turn dark, but the medullary cells dont.  So the accentuated color is where there is greater contrast between the two different types of cells.

Fuming changes the color from the outside in, so if you sand a fumed oak surface down you will sand away the color.  The thing is though, the medullary cells are very thin, and you would have sanded through them long before the darker color was sanded off of the rest of the wood.  Thats why I dont think that they color you posted was a results of fuming and sanding.

Im thinking that some of the comments about using lime or wood bleach may be your solution.   I dont know if wood bleach would remove the fumed oak color from the main wood cells.  If you choose to try ammonia fuming yourself, see if you can buy some 29% ammonia solution.  I have some 50% which changes the color very quickly but its pretty dicey to handle.  Be sure to wear a respirator at all times around it.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2018, 12:47:30 PM »
Oh yeah, I take precautions.  I used to use Muriatic acid for deep rust pit removal in sheetmetal.  I'll have to take the same precautions I used there working with Ammonia.  Gotta figure out where I can get the 29%.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
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Offline ESFted

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2018, 01:09:40 PM »
I'd experiment on a piece with brown Trans Tint dye, then sand it back.  If the fleck absorbs more than the rest of the wood it will stand out after you sand and then you can lime wax it.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2018, 04:43:25 PM »
I'm not planning to use Liming wax at all.  I'm just trying to darken the oak a bit and hoping the rays will be darker than the surrounding wood so they'll stand out.  Once I achieve a satisfactory result, I'll apply a couple coats of General finishes High performance FLAT.  I want the quarter sawn oak to look like raw Qsawn oak that has age like the barnwood I've been using.  For example here's the barnwood Vanity I built for the shop bathroom.  Now that I've learned about the affect of ammonia on oak, it's clear that ammonia and time are what made this barnwood look like it does.  You can see the rays are darker than the surrounding wood on this vanity.  It occured naturally in a barn over probably 100-150 years.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Online terrifictimbersllc

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2018, 05:48:14 PM »
Maybe shop around but here it is on Amazon:  29% ammonia

I think it is used in the blueprint industry.
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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2018, 06:05:59 PM »
Thanks, I did see that one.  I am looking for at least a gallon.  I found one place online in MN.  I have to call and make sure they can ship it.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Online terrifictimbersllc

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2018, 07:49:00 PM »
If you build a good plastic lined enclosure you can fume a medium size piece with only a cup of the 29% in a shallow saucer.
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Offline Don_Papenburg

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Re: How do I darken Q-sawn oak rays without using stain?
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2018, 11:16:56 PM »
From the barn? horses and cows and pigs all peeing in the barn with other byproducts of feeding . Soak a small section in urine and see what happens.I think it is the ammonia in the urine that does things like that . Might try some anhydrous ammonia also if you have a friendly farmer by you. that will let you use some . Put a small section in a garbage bag . Vapors is all that you need . Safety equipment ,gloves face shield you know . The vapor will make wood bend like plastic also. Maybe clear ammonia would work just as well and be easier to obtain.
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