Introduction: Steel Wool and Vinegar Wood Aging/Ebonizing/Weathering (A Controlled Experiment)
I have read a lot about using Steel Wool and Vinegar to age/weather new wood. I guess the acidic solution reacts with the Tannins in the wood to create a chemical reaction to weather and essentially stain the wood with somewhat of an acid wash. I decided to do a test of various commonly found woods to see what type of coloration and saturation I could come up with.
BY THE WAY, I DID THIS ALL AT THE TECHSHOP!!!!!
I Started with a test board with a bunch of different woods.
From Left to Right, BEFORE ANY VINEGAR WASHING....
CABINET PLYWOOD (BIRCH)
2x2 DOUGLAS FIR STUD
You can see that there are two rows of test area that has been treated with Black Tea. Many woods have high tannin concentration, but there are some like PINE that are low. Adding a tea mixture provides some tannin to aid in the reaction. This will give us an idea of what type of depth of color we can achieve.
Step 1: Different Vinegar Mixes
I decided to test just two Vinegar choices, Balsamic Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar. White Vinegar is also a choice, but knowing that I want a darker stain for the furniture that I will be using this on, I went with what I had heard would make a darker tint.
I chose Mason Jars from Target that were 16 oz each. I am sure that I could go much bigger, but this was the trial. I will adjust mixture if necessary.
The first Jar you see is Apple Cider Mix, with ONE WHOLE steel wool (0000), ripped into pieces to try and speed up the process of degradation.
The Second mix is Balsamic Vinegar with ONE WHOLE steel wool (0000), ((I also did a jar with half of a steel wool, to see if that would make a difference).
The third Jar, (Bigger one) is bleach, with various woods soaking inside. My plan is to wire brush them to remove the softer fibers that have been weakened by the bleach. Then I can treat them with the wash and see how the grain looks.
You can see my tea mixture here also, and the pouring of the Vinegar.
Step 2: After a Couple Days.....
Here is what everything looks like after a couple days. This was actually a really fun experiment. Weathered and old looking in a matter of days!!!