How To Age and Patina Wood

Weathered Truck Bed

Although you can create similar effects with pre-mixed paints and stains, new wood can be aged in minutes with a simple easy-to-use solution of household materials that can be painted on.

This technique with vinegar and iron oxide is easy and effective to age, gray or “weather” new wood for use as pickup truck bed wood, bed side-gates or simply to match older finished and weathered projects. 

The technique is variable depending on the type of wood being used, but with this simple vinegar/iron oxide (rust) solution you can color wood to a weathered silver color or darker.

Making Vinegar-Based Wood Aging Solution

To age new wood to a natural silvery gray to gray-brown or black patina, let a small piece of steel wool (or a few non-galvanized nails) sit overnight in ordinary white vinegar.

Then dilute the vinegar solution 1 to 1 with water — If you used 1/2 cup of vinegar, add 1/2 cup of water.

The nails or steel wool will have rusted. Test the result by brushing the solution on a piece of scrap wood the same as you will be using, to determine if the aged finish is the correct color.

On most woods, you will begin to see the aging effect as soon as the solution is dry. If not, or for darker solutions, leave the solution to sit longer, or add a bit more vinegar, and test it again. 

Age wood with vinegar - iron oxide solution

Brush the solution on a test piece or in a low visibility area before you treat the final wood. The solution may need to be stronger or weaker to match age effects on certain woods.

Adjusting the Aging Solution Color

Solutions that are strong produce a very dark coloration. They may need more water added to dilute them before you test again. When the solution produces the desired effect, brush it over fresh wood to create an instant grayed patina once the solution is dry.

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