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Aqua Regia

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While looking at Melvyn Hiscock's website just now I came across something in the Gallery I'd never heard of on a guitar ...

"This is called aqua regia, where you dampen curly maple with dilute (5%) nitric acid and then heat it with a hair dryer. The acid oxidizes the sugars in the wood, giving it the colour and accentuating the grain. Better living through chemistry!"

Here is the page it's on. Look for the lefty amber flamed LP.

Anyone ever done one of these?

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Real aqua regia is a mixture of 75% concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl) and 25% concentrated nitric acid (HNO3); when mixed it gets super hot, bubbles like hell, and oxidizes anything in its path. It is used to dissolve metals that won't dissolve any other way (like platinum and iridium). The fumes will kill you.

Nitric acid is nasty stuff, even the 5% stuff will eat your skin...looks to me like you could do just as well with yellow & brown aniline dyes.

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