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My experiment with Iron Acetate & Tannins

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  • My experiment with Iron Acetate & Tannins

    First of all, I'll set my experiment.
    I've been using iron acetate as a background for my carvings, kind of a warm brown to me, which I feels set the carving up. It works by turning the tannic acid in the wood dark. I bought some "Mixed Tannins (powder extract) from ChemCenter on Amazon. I've heard that it is used in ebonizing wood.

    To do the experiment I mixed 1/4 teas. of the powder extract with 4ml of warm water. as a starting point. I used the wood I carve on the most, basswood, The pictures I've included start with the plain basswood on top of picture one, then with it painted with just the iron acetate. In the preceding pictures, each block has another 4ml added to the previous solution of powder extract.

    To me, the shading went from black to a weather Barnwood gray and would have gone even lighter gray if I hadn't tired of making a mess.

    Any questions, don't heitate.

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    This gallery has 3 photos.
    . . .JoeB

  • #2
    As you know, JP, I love experiments. Particularly when the researcher really has little idea of the results. Well done. We all get to see fairly what added tannins can do. I really like the barn-wood grey. I can imagine all sorts of really cool picture frames done up with your soup.

    Tannins: Very strong tea is a good source. Lay it on and let it dry.
    Find a hobby brewing wine and beer supply store. Tannin is a common fruit wine essential additive.
    Buy as you did from Amazon.

    Ebonizing is a little bit different as it uses ammonia bleach for the pigment reactions. What they are, I'm not sure. A french carver acquaintance, "copeau," was a magician with the stuff. He used to hang out here but life got in the way with a growing young family to distract him.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Brian-"ammonia bleach", Not sure what you referring to, I know onetime at home at the meatpacking plant, when we were cleaning up for the day, and it was wild game processing season, so we always sanitized extra. So one night I mixed up a solution for Clorox & ammonia. Man the fumes from **** near knocked us all down. dumped down the drain and wash everything with hot water.

      "Ammonia is also an excellent cleaner. ... Mixing bleach and ammonia will create a chlorine gas that is incredibly dangerous, particularly in tight spaces like bathrooms. Although it's not mustard gas like many believe, the fumes are still deadly. It's vital to keep bleach and ammonia separate in application and storage."

      So I'm a little confused as to what you're mentioning, but you have peaked my curiosity.
      . . .JoeB


      • #4
        Old fashioned ammonia. Used to test stuff like lichen mosses for wool dying colors.
        It really blackens the wood. Chlorine bleach is a totally different chemical.

        True, mixing the two, the reaction releases the straight chlorine gas. Very toxic and used in small amounts in most water purification systems.

        Get a big black garbage bag and a soup plate. Go outdoors and put the soup dish in the bottom of the bag. Add all your carvings. Now put maybe 1/2 cup of ammonia in the dish and close the bag overnight. Make darn certain that you are upwind when you open the bag.

        I have a big mask with NH3 ammonia cartridges in it but I still want to be away from the opening bag.
        Brian T


        • #5
          Will be trying
          . . .JoeB


          • #6
            Thanks for sharing your process Joe. It is always good to have another option in the toolbox. I have use the vinegar and steelwool stain a lot. I like it but you have to test it on the wood. The result can very a great deal with the different woods. With basswood it is gives a dark gray to black color.
            We live in the land of the free because of the brave!



            • #7
              Thanks Joe, and a chemical process is not something I thought of doing...but an option to explore. Of course I wonder about fading and stability...your thoughts?

              Thanks for the feedback Brian, and just raises my interest even more.

              Living among knives and fire.



              • #8
                Randy, Thank you, what I'm getting is the light brown color, maybe I didn't leave the steel and vinegar together long enough, but I like the brown color, probably will not get it the next time. I also read that you need to wash the steel wool to remove the oil that is on it.

                Bill, so far no fading, maybe the Feed-N-Wax????

                Brian, I'm ordering some "Household Ammonia Solution, 500mL - The Curated Chemical Collection" today will try it on some scape blocks of basswood,
                . . .JoeB


                • #9
                  I can buy ammonia and Chlorox chlorine bleach and gallon jugs of vinegar in our village hardware store.
                  Brian T