Forcibly Aging Wood

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Introduction: Forcibly Aging Wood

About: Justin Tyler Tate is an artist, designer, animator, teacher, jeweler and maker/hacker who produces with thoughts of culture, science and interactivity.

Do you like the look of old, weathered wood but just don't have the 10 years to wait? Do it quickly with simple household items; don't wait, do it now!

Ingredients:
- Black Tea
- Vinegar
- A brush
- some steel (steel wool, old rusty nails....)


(*the comic above is awful)

Step 1: Mix Yourself a Rusty Nail.

To start with, pour the vinegar into a container over your steel wool or rusty nails (whatever steel you have which will rust).
Allow it to sit for about a day while you do the next step.

Delicious looking, no?

Step 2: Brew Some Black Tea.

Brew some black tea or use some old tea, which you forgot to drink, and then brush it onto your wood.

The tea will darken the wood a bit, giving it a nice golden color, but there is still one step to go. 

Allow it to dry completely.

Step 3: I'll Have My Rusty Nail on the Blocks.

Day 2: Your Rusty Nail has been sitting for a day and the tea has dried on your wood now your ready for the final step.

Take your brush again and brush your Vinegar/steel mixture over the wood. The tannin will react with the vinegar/steel mixture to oxidize the wood turning it grey before your eyes.

Now you can have that old wood look without that pesky old wood waiting. 

If your wood doesn't look as old as you were hoping, repeat the steps.

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    35 Comments

    0
    sing_anyway
    sing_anyway

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I love this idea. I wasn't actually looking for how to do this, I just enjoyed your other ibles and was checking out the rest. I love your sense of humor even in the step titles, thanks for making stuff I wasn't even looking for both fun and interesting!

    0
    lazyoaks
    lazyoaks

    8 years ago on Step 3

    Thanks for this idea, I'll be using this one for sure

    0
    Dr. P
    Dr. P

    8 years ago on Introduction

    No, the comic is excellent! So is the idea. I'm gonna use this...

    0
    Rio Vista Andy

    If you use steelwool you must deoil it by flushing with napth, acetone, paint thinner as all of it has some oils to help in preventing rust.
    Better yet go to an automotive machine shop and they will gladly give you cast steel or iron chips. Or like the artical say's use rust nails. This is an old museum trick to help hide repairs in old farm equipment or other animal drawn vehicles.

    0
    LexiC1
    LexiC1

    6 years ago on Introduction

    does it matter what type of wood? i want to make industrial style shelving but have no idea which is the best timber to choose???

    0
    MrPDGee
    MrPDGee

    Reply 4 months ago

    Iron acetate is produced when you soak (dissolve) iron in vinegar (acetic acid).
    Iron acetate chemically reacts with tannin to produce a dark color which stains the wood. Because the wood has the tannins throughout its cells, the darkening happens inside the wood's cells. This process is called "ebonizing".

    The best woods to use are those that have the most tannins, like cherry and walnut.
    Other woods that have less tannin and won't darken as well are maple, oak, poplar, and pines.

    To make this work on pine you have to first ADD tannins to the pine. That's what the tea is for. The more tannins you have in the tea, and the more they soak into the wood, the darker the wood will become when you treat it with the iron acetate. If the first attempt doesn't get you as dark as you want, just let it dry, treat with tea, let it dry again, and treat with the iron acetate.

    Easy peasy!
    The marvels of chemistry.

    0
    DaleR7
    DaleR7

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Does anyone have any ideas as to what I may be doing wrong? I have tried to age new wood using tea and vinegar with rusty nails and tea with vinegar and steel wool. I have used it on oak, pine and cedar and the ONLY color I get is brown!! How do I get a gray color? I would really appreciate any advice......thanks!

    0
    ReginaW9
    ReginaW9

    Reply 2 years ago

    add tablespoon of hygrogen peroxide to vinegar mixture

    0
    theunartist
    theunartist

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    The longer you soak rusty nails/steel wool the darker the result will be. The vinegar can be used after a day and does not need to change color. Also, you can try omitting the black tea and go straight with the vinegar and rusty nail solution. This is an oxidation process and not a coloring/dye/staining process...

    0
    pete.hohensee
    pete.hohensee

    5 years ago

    You could use a proofreader.

    0
    xxlauraxx
    xxlauraxx

    5 years ago

    Hahaha! Oh man, your graphics are hilarious.

    Also, nice wood aging technique. :)

    0
    SeveI
    SeveI

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Does the kind of vinegar matter?

    Does the steel have to be rusty already?

    We used distilled vinegar and steel wool (both brand new) and 36 hours later the vinegar is still clear. Is that ok? Will it work?

    Gonna try it anyway

    0
    MEMJIM
    MEMJIM

    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is exactly what i needed. I have a project in mind knew i would need this know-how. thank you so much. Ill post my completion & give any/all namely credit. jk

    0
    marc.sustins
    marc.sustins

    6 years ago

    How well do you think would work with this. Top is different wood

    0
    wonderbrett
    wonderbrett

    6 years ago

    Love the header image.

    0
    Al Lamaj
    Al Lamaj

    6 years ago on Introduction

    for a wonderful and easy way to get an aged look on all types of wood, you can use the Eco Safe wood treatment available from Tallearth.com. Not only provides an Eco friendly wood protection but also changes all types of wood, with one treatment, to give a graceful silvery grey patina finish to the wood. Pace of the change to the wood varies from hours to a few days depending on the type of wood. Hope that this is useful for some of your readers.