The Detroit Post
Thursday, 28 October, 2021

How Do You Weather Wood

Earl Hamilton
• Sunday, 10 January, 2021
• 8 min read

There are actually a number of ways to age your furnishings fast, but bear this in mind before you get started: Different wood gets different results, even when subjected to the same process. Here, we outline a few physical and chemical methods for aging wood, whether a new 2×4 lumber structure or a store-bought piece of furniture, but you ’ll still want to improvise a little until your results match your vision.

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Bang the wood up with blunt objects like hammers and crowbars, paying particular attention to any perfect edges. Strap on safety glasses and sling a bag of nails or screws against the boards to create a random pocking texture.

Drag a coarse wire brush or some steel wool up and down in the direction of the grain to leave striations. Tap an awl or 1/16-inch drill a bit with a hammer into the wood to mimic the look of insect damage from worms and termites.

Tear up one #0000-grade steel wool pad and stick it in a mason jar, along with 1-1/2 cups white vinegar. The darkness and color of the stain will vary depending on how much steel wool you use (more means more surface reaction) and how long it’s left to sit in the vinegar.

Set up sawhorses if you ’re weathering just a board or two of wood ; use drop cloths if you ’ll be working on a piece of furniture. Mix equal parts water and baking soda in any available plastic container, enough to apply it thickly over your wood.

If you want to either intensify the reaction or speed it up, spray the wood with white vinegar soon after applying the baking soda and water mixture. When reclaimed wood is cut, sanded or reshaped, the new surfaces lose the original patina.

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Faux worm or termite holes can be created by randomly driving an awl or 1/16” drill a bit into the face of the wood. To add an ashy or gray hue (to mimic sun fading), fill a spray bottle halfway with white vinegar.

Let the bottle sit in a warm sunny area for at least 3 to 4 hours and then spray its contents onto the wood and allow drying. Age, species, surface cut and sap content of wood will affect the process, so experiment with the amount of steel wool in the bottle, the amount of time the solution soaks and the number of coats applied.

Always do a test piece first and stop applying solution when the wood achieves a color that is slightly lighter than the desired hue; the aging process will continue for a short while after drying. Black tea will add tannins to the open grains and react further with the steel wool and vinegar solution.

When different portions of a piece of wood are exposed to different conditions or materials, variations in patina and color occur. This buildup of natural oils and dirt makes its way into the grain of the wood and causes joints, nicks and scratches to stand out even more.

Then specifically work a dark paste wax into the nicks, gouges or holes to darken them. | Family Handyman Skip to main content Different species of wood will “age” differently, so make a test board for how to weather wood using the type of woodyou'll be staining.

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We'll show you how weather wood to achieve a strikingly similar look with just steel wool and vinegar and steel wool and vinegar stain. Learn how to restore your beautiful wood floors here.

Use 0000 steel wool (shown here) so it breaks down even faster in the vinegar. Experiment with how long the steel wool is left in the vinegar.

If you want an even darker finish, brush on a black tea wash before applying the iron vinegar (see slide for iron vinegar on pine). Use a black tea wash first to get a grayer and darker effect: Boil water and add 2 black tea bags for each cup of water.

It's made for exterior use and it is stinky until it dries, but it gives a beautiful silvery sheen to both cedar and pine. The results are fast and predictable (unlike iron vinegar) which is a real plus if you don't like surprises.

Pioneer Wood works quickly when learning how to weather wood on cedar, but pine still needs to sit outside in the weather after application, so it's unpredictable how much time it will save you. This is pine that was aged for two days, so if you want it darker, leave it outside longer.

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Results for this how to weather wood project can look very different from what is shown on the label, so be doubly sure to test it first. If you want to age, gray or weather new wood to create a quick shabby chic finish or to match older finished and weathered projects, including furniture, decks, and fences, this easy technique with vinegar and iron oxide are easy and effective.

This information was designed for modelers and miniaturists, but the technique works just as well on full-size fences, furniture, or shabby chic building projects. To age new wood to a natural silvery gray, to grey-brown or black patina (depending on the wood), let a small piece of steel wool (or a few non-galvanized nails) sit overnight in ordinary white vinegar, then dilute the vinegar solution 1 to 1 with water.

Test the result by brushing the solution on a piece of scrap wood the same as you will be using, to determine if the aged finish is the correct color. Many other aging effects for wood finishes involve rubbing patinas into the paint, or layering paint to produce an aged effect with an overlay of colored furniture wax (you can use dark brown shoe polish).

You can easily make your own chalk or lime wash style paints for custom colors to give you the same effect. Balsa and basswood will turn gray or dark brown (depending on the solution strength).

Depending on your application you could also try buffering sprays to neutralize the pH of the vinegar wood stain if you do not want to seal the finish. This weathered wood finish is easy to create in just a few simple steps using inexpensive craft paints.

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I have had lots of requests for a tutorial for this great weathered wood finish ever since I shared the antique sofa I refinished several weeks ago. The sofa had beautiful lines but the old wood finish was incredibly dated and needed an update.

I considered sanding off the old finish and retaining it for about five seconds but I knew that would be a massive undertaking. Instead, I decided it would be the perfect piece to do a faux wood finish using paint.

Creating this weathered wood finish is quick, easy, and very inexpensive. I had plenty of paint in my three little bottles to do my entire couch frame as well as this candlestick and several other projects.

The paint should cover most of the old finish but it is fine if the color looks uneven or there are a few bare spots. Real weathered wood is not uniform; it has lots of texture and different shades.

Simply get a very small amount of paint on your paintbrush and then wipe most of it off on your painter’s palette or a paper towel. If your paint goes on a little thicker than you wanted, you can use a clean rag or scrap of old t-shirt to gently rub off some excess.

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It doesn’t need to be perfect and since each piece of wood is different, there is no right or wrong way for it to look. But if you aren’t satisfied with how your piece looks after the third coat, it is very easy to simply add more paint.

I love how the candlestick and sofa look slightly different even though I used the exact same colors. When you layer paint this way, you are pretty much guaranteed to never get the exact same results every time just like with real weathered wood.

Paints in the colors tan, dark brown, and light gray Painter’s palette or paper plate Clean rag Matte sealer if painting furniture Give your piece a quick cleaning to remove any dust and grease.

Use a clean rag or scrap of old t-shirt to gently rub off some excess paint. For the third coat, mix equal parts of your gray and tan paint together.

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