Weathering Wood with Vinegar and Steel Wool

A Shockingly Easy Technique
for Aging Wood

It doesn't sound like this should work, but it does.  There are very few low to no VOC techniques that leave almost no smell, but this is one.  It is easy and low tech, an added bonus.

Weathering wood with two simple ingredients...

I've heard this called Giggle Juice.  I wouldn't call it funny exactly, but it is fascinating.

Pickling vinegar is poured into a sealable container, and the finest grade steel wool you can find is immersed in the vinegar.  Put the lid on for two to three days, then it's ready to use. 

Keep in mind that this will encourage rusting of metals, so use a plastic or glass container.

Smaller pieces of wood can be dipped into the vinegar, or you can paint the liquid on - it doesn't seem to be working for a few minutes, but then you'll see the wood starting to darken.

Weather wood with these two simple ingredients...

Over the next few minutes it will continue to darken, and in time it will be an aged greyish brown.  Although it's a bit darker than I would prefer, it is the same color as aged barn wood after years of weathering, after only a few minutes. 

I've been looking for a way to match up cut ends of barn boards or other weathered and aged wood - this is it.  Blot it on with a rag or sponge so it blends in, and watch the weathering start.

Although darker than the real thing, this is a close second to naturally weathered wood...

Don't want it dark brown?  Here's a way to get it that lovely silvery color of driftwood; mix ten parts 'giggle juice' with one part white paint, adjust if necessary to get the right grey color. 

I painted two of my sheds with this, on the side which gets used as a backdrop for photo shoots.

Weathering siding with steel wool, vinegar and white paintThe Breezeway Studio - I used new 'Giggle Juice' as in not marinated, with about one part acrylic craft paint to five parts Giggle Juice.
Weathering siding with steel wool, vinegar and white paintThe Livery is much redder than the grey silver color I was after - this was using aged Giggle Juice, mixed with one part white acrylic craft paint and six parts Giggle Juice.

There has been a lot of interest in this stuff - not least from hubby! 

He has been doing all the finishing on our house, and using a lot of scrap wood for trim and window and door architraves, and finally, baseboard around the base of the walls. 

This is his latest; for the mudroom.  The wood is planed fir, spruce and larch, mixed.  He used a rag to apply the giggle juice, then sanded it off when it was dry. 

The finish he used to seal it is melted coconut oil.  It came out satiny smooth.

Vinegar and Steel Wool stain on fir and larchVinegar and Steel Wool stain on fir and larch

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