Cherry Maloof Bar Stools Ammonia Fuming Process

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I just completed construction of two Maloof Bar Stools using the plans from Scott Morrison. These are made with Cherry and Ebony plugs. The first photo shows the two stools sanded to 400 grit and ready for finish. The background is a tent constructed from PVC, plastic and duct tape to seal the joints.

The next photo shows the bar stools sealed in the tent. I placed a bowl containing approximately 500 mL of 28% ammonia. Note, this is highly concentrated, not the stuff used for cleaning (cleaning ammonia from the grocery store is about 5%). This type ammonia used to be used for blueprint machines and is difficult to find. I am open to sources if anyone knows where to purchase. The pieces are left in the tent for 24 hours. Two factors that impact the color of the finished piece are the ammonia concentration inside the tent and the time of exposure. Temperature has a significant impact as the ammonia concentration increases as it is warmer outside (done in unheated garage as some fumes do escape). I have read about using a space heater to warm the tent but would not advise as ammonia gas is extremely flammable. Sorry for the poor photo quality.

The final photo is the chair after taking out of the tent. The immediate color has some grey undertones that go away after the ammonia leaves the piece. I generally leave the piece unfinished for 24 hours to allow the ammonia to escape the pores of the wood.

I am in the process of finishing and have two coats of waterlox completed. The final color is a deep rich red brown of aged cherry as opposed to the typical bright red color with no treatment. once completed, I will post photos of the finished pieces and demonstrate a comparison of un-fumed cherry with the same finish.


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Nice chairs :icon_thum

I always think of fuming oak. I've never seen fumed cherry.
Looking forward to see how it looks with it's final finish.



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Attached are updated photos. The first demonstrates a photo of the seat with finish compared to a piece of scrap finished in the same manner with the exception that it was not exposed to ammonia. This shows the difference in how the fuming process adds a level of richness to the wood. Also note the how much more even the finish is after fuming compared to the scrap piece.

I have also incorporated other photos of details etc of the finished bar stools.

Front view

Side view

In use at bar for height etc.

Front leg and arm detail

Rear leg detail

Lower supports and footrest detail

Additional angle for seat and backrest detail
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