I love the traditional look of quarter sawn oak and the patina finish achieved by gassing the wood with ammonia. Are there other woods that react well by gassing with ammonia? If there are could you say what the effect is?


Ammonia fuming works by reacting with tannins in the wood. Therefore, high tannin content species will produce the most dramatic results. Surprisingly enough, there are actually full-blown research papers (PDF) on the subject.

To identify which woods have high tannin content, hardwoods generally have a higher tannin content than softwoods. You can also look for woods with a natural yellow, red, or brown tint to them, as these colors are a result of tannins in the wood. Some examples of wood species with high tannin content are oak (obviously), walnut, and mahogany.

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    Good comment, @Doresoom. You can also soak any piece of wood in tea (or something else high in tannins) and give it a higher degree of tannins. I've done this quite successfully with pine and poplar. – dfife Mar 19 '15 at 16:04

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