How to Age Wood with Vinegar, Soda or Stain – Tested Methods

Wood is a beautiful natural product that you can give different treatments. You can paint, stain, oil, or leave it blank. Untreated wood outside will gray under the influence of UV light. If you want the age wood, make it age faster, or if you have furniture inside that you want to age, you can do that with various products, including vinegar or soda.

Wood Aging: Wood can become gray with steel wool dissolved in vinegar. Baking soda also causes the wood to age. And there are transparent gray stains that also have a gray appearance.

Above is a brief explanation of how you can make wood age (faster), whether the wood is used indoors or outdoors. However, there is more to it, and I will discuss that in this article. I also give a few handy tips and tricks. So if you want to age wood with vinegar or soda, read on quickly. Aging with stain is also presented at the very end of this article. 

Aging wood with Vinegar

The wood can, of course, only age with untreated bare wood. 

Sand the wood first, if it has been stained or painted once, to remove it.

Whether you are aging wood for indoor or outdoor use does not matter. If you use it indoors, you no longer need to treat it. However, the aged wood still has an open structure, so if you put a glass with water on the wood, you can get circles you can’t get rid of. If you do not want this, you can treat the wood with a transparent lacquer after it has aged.

Of course, this also applies to the outside, aged wood has an open structure, and the weather conditions have free rein. You can also treat the wood outside with a transparent stain. The wood is, therefore, nicely aged and well protected.

What are you going to do to age it? First, make the mixture, and this goes like this:

  1. Take a large clean jar that you can seal.
  2. Pull the steel wool apart and loosen it.
  3. Put enough steel wool in the pot and fill the pot with white vinegar.
  4. Now you can start after a few hours, but the aging will be very slow. It is better to leave the pot for at least a week so that the steel wool dissolves well.
  5. Now you can filter the mixture and transfer it to another jar, which is unnecessary.

The application is slightly different because you have a mixture and don’t know how it will turn out. Perhaps the mixture is too dark or too light. And you may want to sand and smooth the wood first. That’s entirely up to you.

So take a sample piece of wood or a part of the object that is not directly visible, such as the underside of the table top. Apply the vinegar to the wood and let it dry for 10 minutes. Then look at the discoloration.

  • If it is too dark, you can dilute the mixture with vinegar. 
  • If it is too light, you can choose to apply several layers or add more steel wool to the vinegar. 
  • If you add more steel wool, you will have to wait a few more days.

Apply the mixture with a wide brush. Be careful because it is an aqueous solution that drips quickly and stains. So always put foil down before you get started.

How to age wood with Baking Soda

Soda is also a product that can age wood, and I mean Baking Soda.

Before you get started, you will first have to make the mixture. As with steel wool and vinegar, you do not have to leave this mixture for a week. After making it, you can process it right away. 

What do you need and how do you apply it?

  1. Make a mixture of Baking Soda and tap water in the ratio of 1:1. For example, mix 150 grams of soda with 150 milliliters of water and mix well. You should now have a liquid paste that you can apply with a brush. If it is too runny, add more baking soda. If the mixture of the baking soda is too thick, add more water. This is a matter of feeling!
  2. Apply the mixture in a thick layer to the wood and treat the entire surface at once.
  3. Apply the mixture in the grain’s direction, and paint with the grain.
  4. Place the object in the sun so it can dry well and quickly. Wait at least 5-6 hours before continuing.
  5. Now remove the excess powder with a stiff brush. Take everything off and clean the wood.
  6. Now take a tea towel and rub the entire object clean and smooth.

The object will be greyed out if all is well!

For safety, you can try the mixture in a place of the object that is not directly in view. This way, you know that it works well before you treat the entire object with it.

Again, the wood is greyed out but not protected. A glass of water can cause circles you can’t get out of. If you want to prevent this, you can treat it with a transparent lacquer. This way, the wood is also protected.

Aging Wood With Stain

Nowadays, there are also stains on the market that are transparent in color. Transparent means that the wood grain remains visible, and these stains are also available in grey. You can also age wood with this.

If you are going to stain, you must make the proper preparations to get good coverage and adhesion. The choice of stain also determines the result. 

What are you going to do?

  • Protect the environment well. Apply plastic to the floor where you will stain, as you will not be able to get it out of the tile. It is also best to protect clothing; once stain is in clothing, you (almost) cannot get it out.
  • Clean the wood and remove all grease and grime from the wood.
  • Always degrease the wood before starting anything else. Grease and substances in the wood can cause problems with the adhesion of the stain. Now let the wood dry.
  • It all depends on the desired result., but it is wise to sand the wood so that it becomes smooth, and the sanding will improve the adhesion of the paint. Use a fine grit, 240-300.
  • Then dust the object with a soft brush.
  • Apply the stain using the correct rollers or flat brushes. Use fur rollers (for stain) for the long pieces and flat brushes for small corners. Use a paint tray to put the stain in so you can easily roll your brush. Always read the instructions on the can.
  • If your object has a groove, start with that and ensure the stain is well in this groove.
  • Roll or brush the stain with the grain, and finish it in one go. So don’t stop half way.
  • Leave the stain to dry for 24 hours between any coats of stain. The more layers you apply with stain, the deeper the stain color becomes. 
  • You can also sand parts of the object bare. Then apply another coat of stain. This way, you get dark and light spots, and the wood seems stressed, which contributes to the old look.

Read also: How to stain wood with Oil 

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