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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Ageing Wood with Cider Vinegar

I'm slowly making a set of telegraph poles for the PLR and particularly want to try and reproduce that rather elusive aged and weathered look. As start I thought I would try and age the wood itself with a suitable potion. A bit of googling turned up a recipe for a home made potion made from vinegar and iron filings. I ended up using organic cider vinegar (nothing but the best for PLR - actually it turns out to be stronger than red wine vinegar which was the only other thing in the kitchen cupboard) and steel wool left to stew for a couple of days. I tried using several dilutions of this on a piece of dowel as shown below:

From left to right dilutions of: 1:4, 1:3, 1:2 and 1:1. I felt the 1:2 looked best so then tried this on a full sized pole and also several other pieces of wood as shown below:

From left to right: treated and untreated dowel poles, thin and thick coffee stirrers and finally Scale 7 group walnut sleepers.

In many respects the dowel poles was the least successful as they still have a decidedly yellow tinge but I think further painting and weathering will tone this down. The coffee stirrers have a really pleasing grey hue which I am sure I will take advantage of sometime - it actually makes me wish I had done all my sleepers like this rather than my usual potion of Jacobean dark oak stain. The most surprising effect was on the walnut sleepers which have become almost as black as ebony.

They all smell slightly of vinegar and must be still acidic, so I'm wondering whether I should try and neutralise this using Bicarbonate of Soda (another kitchen find) or whether this may ruin the effect. Perhaps another test is due.

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