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Ebonising Oak with Van Dyke Crystals.

Ebonising Oak with Van Dyke Crystals.

This is a method by which the Victorian effect of darkened Oak timber may be obtained.

Older Beginner13/10/2011 21:12:53
5 forum posts
I have just looked at this blog on ebonising oak with Van Dyke Crystals and it looks very similar to the use of potash (potassium permangenate) also known as Condy''s Crystals. I was wondering if these were all the same thing.
BillW13/10/2011 23:05:05
711 forum posts
21 photos
I can't help you with your question.
Having used potassium permanganate for other uses, (canine, bacterial and fungal treatments) should you use it be very careful it is a very strong oxygenater (makes other components flammable) and mixed with a certain common acid it become explosive.
It stains purple on your fingers, oak has tannins, what effect it has on this I don't know.
Simon Reeves14/10/2011 12:56:28
622 forum posts
227 photos
Strictly speaking, potash is a generic name for several potassium salts, not just permanganate, but Bill is right in that it can be quite nasty stuff. Even the tiniest crystal seems to stain everything for miles around, especially skin, so you need to wear gloves and take care when using it.
Last year I used a very weak solution as an fungicide in my fish pond, which worked perfectly.
If you want to ebonise oak you can also make a simple fuming chamber and use 880 ammonia. This allows you to fume the wood for whatever time you choose, which in turn controls how dark it gets. There was an article in a recent GWW or woodturning magazine about this I think. This strength ammonia is nasty stuff too, so you also need to take great care.

Edited By Simon Reeves on 14/10/2011 12:57:35

Gareth Fay15/10/2011 17:18:15
14 forum posts
2 photos
FWIW I used steel wool steeped overnight in white vinegar with good results. My first attempt with using water gave a blue colour which dried silver as though it had been outside in the weather. But the vinegar solution gave a nice shiny black. I gather the solution keeps fairly well in an airtight jar

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