How to Age Wood Fast

by Chan Vu, Aug 25 2014

Ever find yourself scrambling to put together a rustic wooden sign and realizing you don't have enough time to age the wood by eh... a few years?  The secret to aging or "weathering" wood is a matter of basic chemistry. To do this, you will need some commonly used household items. This includes rusty nails or steel wool and white vinegar. Here is the magic. Vinegar is an acid. It reacts when combined with the rusty nails or steel wool which contains iron. The iron oxidizes in the vinegar leaving behind rust which results in a natural aging stain. Genius right?

But first, to understand how wood works you have to look at the type of wood you want to use. Most wood at your local hardware or lumber store are treated with chemicals that can withstand the elements (i.e. rain, sun, wind, heat, etc..) This is why it takes so long for wood to age. Waiting for that rustic barn wood stain to appear can take years. The best type of wood to age is raw balsa or basswood. If you can't find it, just go for the raw, natural or untreated wood. 
Once you find the right wood to age then you are ready to speed up the weathering process.
You will need:
4-6 rusty nails or steel wool (not stainless steel)
1/2 cup of white vinegar
old sauce jar
rubber band
cling wrap
pencil or pen
paper bowl
1. Pour vinegar into glass jar. Drop the nails or steel wool into the jar.
2. Use cling wrap and rubber band to seal the top. Use the pencil or pen to poke a hole 1 cm wide. *
3. Clean wood from residue. Wood must also be completely dry.
4. After 2 days, remove the cling wrap. Pour the oxidized vinegar into the paper bowl.
5. Use a paint brush to paint the oxidized vinegar onto the wood. Let dry completely before painting another coat. The more coat you paint, the darker the wood becomes.
*Safety tips:
*Let's do this in an open and well ventilated space like outside. 
*Don't seal off the jar of vinegar when the reaction is happening. It's a chemical reaction so closing the jar may cause combustion. That is why a pencil size hole is needed to let gasses escape. Besides, it needs the oxygen in order to oxidize.
*Wear gloves to protect your hands. After all, we are ladies.

aging wood cat-home home wood

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