More fun with household chemistry – Potassium Permanganate

Potassium Permanganate is an oxidizer that is used in many ways.  It is used in the maintenance of water distribution equipment.  It has been used as a disinfectant.  And, it has been used to provide “instant aging” for the stage and movie industries.  It is a caustic agent and should be handled with care.  It has a long history as a chemical dye for wood.  It produces a wide range of browns on various species.  Because it is, usually, dissolved in water, it will raise grain.

I dissolved one (1) teaspoon of potassium permanganate crystals in eight (8) ounces of water.  In the following samples, I used a Walnut derived stain (see previous posts) on the right side of the samples.  I used the Potassium Permanganate dye on the left side of the sample.  The lower half of each is covered with three coats of garnet shellac (I use this frequently in the shop), to give some idea of the finish under a reflective top coat.  There has been no attempt to “finish” the top coat.  Certainly, buffing and waxing would change the result.  But my purpose here is to simply provide a reference for the potential of Potassium Permanganate as permanent colorant for various species of domestic wood.

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2 Comments on “More fun with household chemistry – Potassium Permanganate”


  1. Thanks for posting. I haven’t used it yet, but I’ll keep it mind.


  2. Thanks for posting this information. I’ll keep it in mind.


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