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Veteran Advisor
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Bending wood using ammonia

Can anyone give me info on using ammonia in bending wood ? I read sometime back that it was a good bending process.

 

Tictock

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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

Ammonia?  Really?    That's a new one on me and I bend wood at least monthly.   I can't see how using ammonia would be in the least different than using cold tap water - and that's not going to work, either, for the most part.

Best,

Matt Seiler
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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

[ Edited ]

No, Ammonia - actually strong ammonia fumes - was used for fuming oak to darken it. This was used before stains and dyes were readily avalable. The old timers made a tent, put the parts to be fumed in the tent, then poured ammonia in a large flat dish in the bottom, they then closed the tent and let it set until the color of the oak changed to the desired tint. It actually chemically changed the tannins in the wood and the tint went inside the wood, not just staying on the surface like a stain would.

 

Here's a link.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonia_fuming

 

 

 

Jon-439

Do nudists play strip poker?
Honored Advisor
Posts: 15,023
Registered: ‎01-15-2010
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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

[ Edited ]

David...

I have a PDF on it...

it won't attach but I can email it to you if you PM me an addy...

 

boat building forms often have discussions on it and the methods used...

this would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
if only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick...

Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
Honored Advisor
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Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

I really recommend not using ammonia to bend wood.

 

Ammonia in the concentrations that would be required is quite hazardous - heck household ammonia is hazardous.

 

You would need a good full face respirator (and know how to use it).  You would need full protective gear (which gets quite warm in the summer).  Gloves, boots, and the rest of it.

 

I bend wood quite successfully using steam and glue laminations. 

Community Manager
Posts: 6,359
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

Thanks for the .pdf, Stick.  I read it and all I can say is    UUUUUGggghhhhh.  

 

Regular ammonia in pressure tanks?   Um, NO.   Just no. 

 

Or the alternative, using anhydrous ammonia (WAY dangerous) in soak tanks, with you receiving long durations of exposure to the liquid and the fumes...  No thank you please.

 

Here's a quote about the stuff from http://www.ndhealth.gov/epr/resources/anhydrous.htm

 

What are the immediate health effects of exposure to anhydrous ammonia?

Symptoms include burning of the eyes, nose, and throat after breathing even small amounts. With higher doses, coughing or choking may occur. Exposure to high levels of anhydrous ammonia can cause death from a swollen throat or from chemical burns to the lungs.

 

Eye exposure to concentrated gas or liquid can cause serious corneal burns or blindness.

Generally, the severity of symptoms depends on the degree of exposure.

 

 

So basically some guys in lab coats did this in the '60's in controlled labratory environments, but it's NOT something that you want to try in the DIY world.

 

Walk away.  Just walk away.

 

 

Best,

Matt Seiler
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Honored Advisor
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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

didn't even need to read between the lines to figure out why it's not done much any more  except by the fool hardy...

 

isn't anhydrous ammonia a controled substance now??? permitted purchase only...

this would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
if only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick...

Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
Community Manager
Posts: 6,359
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

I do believe you are correct, sir.

Best,

Matt Seiler
Forum Moderator

Advisor
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎10-25-2009

Re: Bending wood using ammonia

Anhydrous ammonia is "controlled" the same way that certain over the counter medications are controlled.  Farmers buy this stuff in the spring and fall to put on fields that will be used in the next growing season for corn, because the ammonia oxidizes into nitrate which is the form of nitrogen that the corn can use to grow.  They have no problem getting it from the local farm supply store, but if you showed up with your cooler and said "ten pounds of anhydrous, please" you would be escorted to the weekend lock up by the county sheriff until your court date.   I grew up around this stuff and can say with 100% assurance that no one in their right mind would use this to bend wood.  First off, anhydrous ammonia is under high pressure to keep it in liquid form.  Second, when you release the pressure, either by knifing it into the ground or by a leak, it is very, very cold and cold is not condusive to bending wood. Don't know the exact temp, but it's probably a couple hundred degrees below zero, farenheit.  And of course we haven't even discussed the toxicity issue yet.  I know first hand that a very small leak on  a warm humid day coming out of a leaking hose will knock a 10-year old off of his bicycle.  So in summary, like has been said before...No.

Allen O.
"Today's mighty oak is nothing more than yesterday's little nut that held it's ground."
Veteran Advisor
Posts: 718
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Bending wood using ammonia

OK !!!! I can take a hint.... Talked to a Farmer today. I'll stick with steam.

 

Tictock