Weathering Pine, 2nd Attempt

Several months ago I wrote a blog about weathering pine with little success. Well, I decided to give it another try. My wife had heard of using a mixture of apple cider vinegar and steel wool to coat the wood to give it a grey finish. We heard of using regular vinegar and steel wool, but apparently, the tannins of the apple cider penetrates the fibers of the wood to give it a richer older look.

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I gave the mixture a shot on a piece of southern yellow pine and poplar to see how it would turn out. At first, the wood hardly changed at all.

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However, after twenty-four hours, you can see how the mixture turned the wood dark on both the poplar and southern yellow pine. However, even though the wood did react, my wife was looking for something that looked more grey and less muddy brown.

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I tried applying some ebony paste wax to the wood, but that didn’t turn out well at all. It just made the wood look more muddy.

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I then decided to do something a little different and burn the wood with a propane torch.

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After the wood was burnt, I used a piece of steel wool to remove the charcoal from the surface. This left the board with a texture where the early wood and late wood were at different levels.

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I was impressed by the way the wood looked and felt that I applied clear and ebony paste wax on the sample to see how each half turned out.

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I was so intrigued by this method that I flipped over the board and tried this technique on the whole board and applied the clear and ebony paste wax on each half.

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Even though I didn’t create the look my wife was looking for, I really like how the wood looks after trying this technique, especially with the clear wax top coat. I’ll have to try it out on a completed project sometime. Now only if I could figure out how to make new pine look old without leaving it outside for six months.

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6 Replies to “Weathering Pine, 2nd Attempt”

  1. Reminds me of what we used to do to Redwood to create an antique look. Take 2″ material, use the torch and a wire brush to get aggressive. If you had some friends and a bottle of wine it was also fun to heat up screws, bolts, wires, etc. and burn those into the wood as well. Very popular way to do rustic fireplace mantles and beams in the late 60’s and 70’s. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  2. My neighbor wanted to build a barn door for his study. He had lots of success with the vinegar and steel wool solution. The key was using fine steel wool and not the course stuff. We tried it with white oak and cedar with a 1:1 mixture it made the oak black overnight and the cedar nice and gray. He tried various dilutions and settled on 3:1 water to vinegar with cedar. Maybe your problem is the pine. You might want to try cedar. Good luck.

  3. You can get a different look by first applying tannic acid and then the vinegar mixture. The color will be a more consistent grey black. Then use some #1 medium steel wool and remove some of the color. If you want to change the color use some water based dye to adjust the wood tone closer to your ideal color. Experiment before you start applying this mixture to your project.

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