Fuming Common Furniture Woods

The practice of fuming wood to enhance its color is most often associated with white oak. The oaks in general are high in tannin and fume well, though red oak tends to turn greenish rather than deep brown like white oak. Other species contain varying amounts of tannins and can be fumed, but the effects are generally not as pronounced as with white oak. I was curious about the effects of fuming on other furniture woods, so I fumed a number of them for four hours.

I'd heard that nontannic woods could be fumed if a solution of tannic ac;d was applied to the surface of the wood first, so 1 tried that as well. {Tannic acid is available from Olde Mill Cabinet Shoppe; 717-755-8884.) Tannic acid is sold as a powder that you add to water, I added tannic acid to a pint of water until the solution was saturated, applied the solution with a foam brush and then let the samples dry overnight before fuming. Here are the results.

Unfumed

Fumed

Tannic acid, fumed

Unfumed

Fumed

Tannic acid, fumed

Ming Furniture

Mv preferred finish has always been boiled linseed oil (I use Tried and True brand because it builds quickly and contains no metal driers\ Three or four coats over fumed oak impart a subtle amber overtone that's in keeping with the look of Arts-and-Crafts furniture.

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