Over the weekend (and through Thursday!) my mom has been in town. We’ve been doing all sorts of things like painting my kitchen (pictures to come) and walking around a lot and doing a ton of stuff. I had read online about a technique to weather wood with vinegar and steel wool, and the surprising ingredient of tea. It will oxidize the wood and weather it without ruining it. I was eager to try it.
I had some old Heywood-Wakefield step tables that are now sans-step, due to the previous owner’s shenanigans. They had gone from the previous owner to a group of furniture finishers/resellers, and then from there, to me. When I bought them, they were already stripped and ready to be restained. I’m not a huge fan of the orange stain that comes default on that brand of furniture, so I was totally okay with this development.
Here’s the original, unfinished:
I took a salsa jar and added a thing of steel wool and a thing of copper wool, because I wanted the stain more gray/blue than brown, then filled it up with white vinegar. I left it overnight for about 24 or so hours. I brewed a giant bowl mug of black tea and then painted it on liberally. Then, once it dried, I painted on the vinegar mixture. It will just look like vinegar, like nothing happened, but things happened – you have to trust it.
The website says that you will see results immediately, and the oxidization will complete in 30 minutes. We found that the oxidization continued over a few hours, so be patient and slow about this or else you’ll end up with something darker than you were expecting. Luckily dark is what I wanted to go with, so it worked out well for me.
As you can see, it ended up a beautiful gray. It’s really hard to photograph well, but it’s more of a brown-gray, rich and silvery sheeny. I’m really happy with the results.
After it was totally dry, I added a few coats of polyurethane to seal it, and that made the color even darker and richer. The final result is nothing short of gorgeous. This photo makes it look redder than what it is, but it shows off how rich and beautiful it is.
I love it so much. Remember also, the result you get depends on the type of wood you use – I believe my tables were birch, and it ended up the shimmery gray/brown, but your mileage will vary!