Turning Archive 2005

American Chestnut Bowl fuming before & after pics *PIC*

Craig Daymon
>Here is a rehash of my American Chestnut fuming experience, cut and pasted from previous posts with the addition of before and after photos. The bowl is about 9.25" in diameter by 3.5" deep and was turned on a JET Mini (non-variable speed).

I finished turning the American Chestnut bowl. I did some reading on the American Chestnut and as the blight of the tree in the U.S. was key to the downfall of the leather tanning industry in the U.S., I thought fuming the bowl was an appropriate finish technique for the project as both relate to its high tannin content.

The bowl is sitting in a styrofoam container along with 2 small cups of household ammonia. It will be in there for about 14 hours before coming out to air for about another 12 hours and getting the first coat of finish. It is upside-down on top of some packing foam and weighted down. The weight is sitting on top of a piece of MDF wit 4 toothpicks in it to minimize surfacce contact. Hopefully, this will result in a fumed outside and an non-fumed inside (and rim). Dark outside, light inside.

Heat will speed the fuming process, but I think the best way to achieve this would be to bring a light into an cooler through the drain hole and rubber cork around the wire. I have a 40 gallon cooler that I have considered rigging with such a set up but the results I have gotten have been sufficient to produce the desired effect.

The bowl is out of the cooler now and, unfortunately, the inverting of the bowl did not produce the desired effect. The whole bowl is fumed a chocolate brown, MAYBE a LITTLE darker inside than out, but not much. This could be for several reasons, 1) Not enough weight to produce a tight seal against the foam, 2) Not using an appropriate material to achieve the seal, 3) Unseen cracks allowing the fumes to penetrate into the bowl (there are 2 knots in the bowl that might have through cracks). Too bad, it would have been an excellent effect.

One side note, the chestnut reacted very quickly to the woodburning tool when signing, so my usually sloppy signature is especially so on this piece.

Here are the before and after pictures, with one coat of Waterlox applied after the fuming.


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