"Flame Tempered" Wood

Discussion in 'The Gun Builder's Bench' started by arcticap, Mar 3, 2006.

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  1. Mar 3, 2006 #1

    arcticap

    arcticap

    arcticap

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    Can anyone provide information about the process and benefit of "flame tempered" Ash?
    I've seen Ash baseball bats that were stamped "flame tempered" which seemed to imply that the strength & durability of the wood had been increased.
    So, I'm trying to determine if a 1 year old piece of Ash in the form of a stock blank could also possibly benefit from this process.
    Exactly when & how would someone go about performing this process, if at all?
     
  2. Mar 3, 2006 #2

    Brasilikilt

    Brasilikilt

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    Flame tempering is when you take a chunk of wood and hold it over a fire and char the outside layer of wood. I would think that flame tempering would dry the wood out too fast and cause it to crack or be brittle. The heat is supposed to harden the wood even more, but ash is already pretty hard, so I don't know if it's entirely neccesary

    What I have done is take a propane torch, heat the surface of the wood really dang hot, not burning, but turning a little dark brown in spots, smear the wood's surface with linseed or similar oil.....candle wax should work if there is nothing else, but be careful, if you get it too hot in spots your oil will start to flame! I just take the heat off anf smother it with my oily rag.
    The heat opens up the pores of the wood, and the oil gets sucked right up into them keeping the wood from drying out too fast.
    Hope this helps
     
  3. Mar 3, 2006 #3

    guncobbler

    guncobbler

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    In my not quite ill spent youth I studied wood micro structure and the engineering applications of wood. The two common methods for strengthening wood were impregnating with epoxy resins to fill the wood cell air chambers (see last par below) or that in conjunction with compression to collapse and seal the air chambers (United States Patent 5343913). Heating wood in flames will dry it some making it harder but only to the extent that it stays dry. Heating wood too much will degrade the lignin which is the resin/glue that holds the cellulose in place. Degrade the lignin and you have a limp stick.

    Maybe the bat manufacturers are thinking that flaming the wood strengthens it but I can't imagine that it increases it much more than 5%. The following is something I found under: "Maple vs. Ash: The Wood Bat Debate"

    "Flame Tempering was the technique using an open flame to harden the outer wood surface after lathing and help "seal" the dark wood pores so the bat would take the clear coat lacquer better and be "stronger". --- Open to opinion here... a test: check to see if the ash bat has "pin-holes" in the lacquer coating along the dark grain -- no flame tempering/lesser quality wood/workmanship."

    Found the following on a musical instrument makers web site. This may be the best thing to do to a completed stock.

    "It is a product by Minwax called Wood Hardener. I believe it is basically SuperGlue type resin suspended in a highly volatile solution of acetone. Sort of like having SuperGlue the consistency of water. In this state the plastic resin can easily penetrate deeply into the wood fibers and harden them, and leaves no thick residue behind."

    Hope this helps your quest - GC
     
  4. Mar 3, 2006 #4

    J.D.

    J.D.

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    I'm not sure flame tempering is what you want to do to a gunstock. I'm also not sure how good ash would work for a gunstock. Maybe Mike Brooks will chime in on this.

    Moreover, flame tempering does not char the wood. The wood does darken somewhat, but not dark enough to look charred.

    Antique stocks were not flame tempered, and many 200 + year old stocks are still in good shape.
    Those stocks that aren't in decent shape have been subjected to a lot of abuse and neglect over the years.

    A good stock finish and a little care is all that is needed to protect the your stock for the next 200 years.

    J.D.
     
  5. Mar 3, 2006 #5

    bioprof

    bioprof

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    Please excuse me for chiming in, but I know that bamboo rod makers have used ammonia to color and temper bamboo. I don't know if it would work on wood, but it makes a nice rich brown color. Granger bamboo flyrods were treated with ammonia and are considered some of the best production rods made in the U.S.
     
  6. Mar 3, 2006 #6

    tnlonghunter

    tnlonghunter

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    Also remember what baseball bats are used for. I hope you're not planning on hitting things with your gun stock. Having said that, I've seen a few guns stocked in ash and they were really cool. It makes an interesting looking stock.
     
  7. Mar 3, 2006 #7

    Guest

    At the rate the Emerald Ash Borer is decimating our Ash trees, It's gonna be aluminum baseball bats soon. Also curly ash make fine longrifle stocks. Dick, at Pecatonica has some blanks still available when I ordered mine, but said supply is getting short, and he's not sure when he'll see more. Bill
     

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