Weathering raw pine

CEFreemanMay 31, 2012

Hi all!

I mentioned in my 1st post here that I'm using my fence for the ceiling of my back porch. It's standard flat board fencing from Lowe's, untreated pine. It's a wonderful gray with greenish colors from moss, etc.

Anyway, I don't have quite enough.

I've seen on HGTV to gray cedar, you spray it with baking soda and water.

I saw something in the middle of the night, where you take a steel wool pad and soak it in white vinegar until it dissolves into this orange, rusty liquid. Whatever board they wiped it onto grayed (rather than oranged) beautifully.

I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with these methods, or something that weathers pine?


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CEFreeman, if you are still around, I am so sorry none of us have welcomed you or responded to your questions. Our board has been pretty much DEAD lately, so much else going on in all our lives and not much painting time.

I sure don't know the anwers to your questions. Best I can offer is to suggest doing a Google search or checking on Youtube videos--it seems like everything is on there!

You have lots of projects going on, have fun with it and take pride in knowing you did it yourself. ;o)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:06AM
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I am. Thank you for the welcome. I'm far from new here, so I know how it goes.

Unlike many, before I post a question I search the boards, then other forums to which I belong, then the Internet. I draw the line on videos. Just not interested in the time they take.

That said, I've located about 3 articles that talk about aging pine.
So... here you go:
For wood with tannins (pine, cedar, etc.)

1 part water
1 part drain cleaner (liquid plumber, drano, etc.)
Use a squirt bottle because brushes splash.
This will gray.

In stages towards ebonizing wood:
soak steel wool in white vinegar until the wool pretty much dissolves. It should then be strained to get the metal particles out.
Put it in a squirt bottle or use a sponge brush to apply to dry wood. Each coat will become progressively darker, from a nice light gray to dark, almost black gray.

To create tannins in wood:
Brew an extremely strong, disgusting batch of black tea. Squirt onto dry wood and let dry. Apply several coats.
From here, one suggests applying the two recipes while the last tea coat is still wet, another says let it dry first.

I've done neither, yet. I did get a palate of 125 fence boards for $1 each. What we thought was 6' pine is actually 6' cedar. (WOW!) I've got them out against the fence drying. I'll probably start with the baking soda recommended for cedar.

Thanks for your time,

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:17AM
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The porch ceiling sounds fabulous! You always come up with the most creative and interesting ideas. I can't wait to (some day) see pictures of the house.

I had been wondering how to oxidize wood myself. I have a very old folding table that was missing a piece of the apron. I had a new piece cut, but the wood was new, so I never finished the table because I could never figure out how to make the new piece match.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 2:06PM
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I've actually learned quite a bit since I haven't been able to get any concrete answers.

Depending upon the wood...

Tannin-rich wood such as cedar and pine weather well, quickly, and in different colors by spraying on one of these, or treating the wood with different layers of any of these:
1) baking soda & water,
2) steel wool dissolved in white vinegar. (strain thru coffee filter & be careful it's corrosive.)
3) 1 part Draino (liquid drain cleaner) and 3 parts water. Again, be careful.

Other woods don't react so quickly and time seems to be the answer.

Then, I read and tried this:
1) Make thick, heavy, steeped black tea. Many tea bags, and let them sit overnight. (At least I did because I went to bed.)
2) Boil it down until it's really as thick and disgusting as you can get it.
3) Paint it onto the wood in question. Dry, you can rough it up a bit to get it to soak in more, and paint it a few more times. The more you paint, the more you're putting tannins into the wood!
3) Then spray it with the toxic mess of your choice.

Then, of course, there's always the Kelly Moore 15 gray stain, and tons of stain on top of that. I haven't tried this yet, but I've liked the pictures online.

The thing I haven't figure out is how to stain maple without it blotching. I've made 16' of butcher block counter top and am frozen because I don't want to screw it up. I also don't care for lighter woods, so I'm not just sealing it. Yet. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 2:31PM
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Elraes Miller

Hi CF...the vinegar/steel wool has been a standard for years of my painting and aging. It does matter how long the mixture sits, will become stronger as time goes by. But you can add water to dilute down. You can also use steel anything (old nails) to create this solution. They usually say steel wool because it breaks down faster.

This solution will age any wood. But each type of wood will age differently. Also the age of the wood. As will the strength of mixture and how long it has sat around. Use it all at once for a project. Going back you may not know if it is the same mixture. Steel wool breaks down very quickly. Know the size and number of steel wool added to what amount of vinegar. And the vinegar does not have to be white, regular works too. Try a scrap and play.

The aging lasts forever. You can also paint over it and rough up, then add some of the mixture again. It really does allow a lot of options for inside and out.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:00AM
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