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How to Age Wood – 6 Ways to Weather Wood!

5 ways to speed up the aging process of wood.

How to Age Wood Quickly

How to Age Wood Quickly

When fresh-cut lumber is left out in the sun and rain it will eventually develop a beautiful silver patina. If you want to speed up that process, here are 5 how to weather wood ways to do it faster (plus 1 way to cheat to make wood look old and gray!) using either ordinary pine or cedar lumber. Two of the stains are homemade and 4 are products you can buy online or at a paint or home store.

Make a Test BoardFamily Handyman

Make a Test Board

Different species of wood will "age" differently, so make a test board for how to weather wood using the type of wood you'll be staining. Shown are pine (bottom) and cedar (top). Make sure the wood is clean and dry before you begin. Rough-sawn cedar has a smooth and a rough side. The rough side is shown here. If the final project will be sanded for a smooth finish, make sure to sand the test board the same as the project board.

Natural is beautiful, but it takes a long time!

Natural is beautiful, but it takes a long time!

Pine timber aged outdoors in sun, rain and snow for 8 years. We'll show you how weather wood to achieve a strikingly similar look with just steel wool and vinegar and steel wool and vinegar stain. Want to restore your aged wood floors? Learn how to restore your beautiful wood floors here.

Iron vinegar on cedar - cheap, easy and fast!

Iron vinegar on cedar - cheap, easy and fast!

Here's how to age wood and make it look old and gray. Iron vinegar on fresh cedar lumber:
  1. Soak some steel wool in white vinegar for a few hours or a few days - the longer it steeps, the darker the aged effect will be. Fill the jar with the steel wool and vinegar, the measurements don't have to be precise.
  2. Use 0000 steel wool (shown here) so it breaks down even faster in the vinegar. Use a brush to wipe on the iron vinegar. Let dry.
Experiment with how long the steel wool is left in the vinegar. If you want an even darker finish, brush on a black tea wash before applying the iron vinegar (see slide for iron vinegar on pine).

Before and after: cedar and iron vinegar

Before and after: cedar and iron vinegar

Here's what weathered wood stain looks after the process. Before: New cedar lumber. After: New cedar stained with iron vinegar after 30 minutes.

Use tea plus Iron vinegar on pine

Use tea plus Iron vinegar on pine

Iron vinegar by itself doesn't have much of an effect on pine. Use a black tea wash first to get a grayer and darker effect:
  • Boil water and add 2 black tea bags for each cup of water. Let steep for 5 minutes.
  • Brush the tea onto the board. Let dry.
  • Now apply the iron vinegar and let it dry. You're done!

Before and after: pine and iron vinegar

Before and after: pine and iron vinegar

Before: New pine lumber. After: New pine stained with tea and iron vinegar. With your newly aged pine, learn how to build a pine garden hutch here.

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Semi-Transparent Stain

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Semi-Transparent Stain

Lots of manufacturers make gray stain without using a steel wool and vinegar stain. We used Benjamin Moore Arborcoat. It's made for exterior use and it is stinky until it dries, but it gives a beautiful silvery sheen to both cedar and pine. The results are fast and predictable (unlike iron vinegar) which is a real plus if you don't like surprises.
  • Brush the stain onto board.
  • Let dry.
Get Benjamin Moore Arborcoat on Amazon.

Before and after: pine and Arborcoat

Before and after: pine and Arborcoat

Before: New pine lumber. After: Benjamin Moore Arborcoat stain applied to pine. Want to update your pine floors with this tip? Learn how to install pine floors here.

Pioneer Wood

Pioneer Wood

Pioneer Wood works quickly when learning how to weather wood on cedar, but pine still needs to sit outside in the weather after application, so it's unpredictable how much time it will save you. This is pine that was aged for two days, so if you want it darker, leave it outside longer.
  • Dissolve powder in water. Let sit 5 min.
  • If you're using cedar, that's all you need to do. If you're using pine, it will need to sit outside to mature the patina.
Get Pioneer Wood on Amazon.

Before and after: Pioneer Wood on cedar

Before and after: Pioneer Wood on cedar

Before: How to weather wood new cedar lumber. After: Cedar with Pioneer Wood stain. Use this freshly aged cedar wood to create a cedar potting bench. Learn how to build this cedar potting bench here.

Before and after: Pioneer Wood on pine

Before and after: Pioneer Wood on pine

Before: How to weather wood on new pine lumber. After: Pine after application of Pioneer Wood - aged outdoors for two days.

Minwax Weathered Oak

Minwax Weathered Oak

Minwax Weathered Oak darkens the patina on pine slightly, but on cedar, it gives a soft gray overall tone with gold in the grain. You might have to apply it more than once to achieve the look you want. Results for this how to weather wood project can look very different than what is shown on the label, so be doubly sure to test it first.
  1. Brush the stain onto board.
  2. Let dry.
Get Minwax Weathered Oak on Amazon.

Before and after: cedar and Minwax Weathered Oak

Before and after: cedar and Minwax Weathered Oak

Before: New cedar lumber. After: Cedar lumber with Minwax Weathered Oak stain. With your newly weathered wood learn how to make a classic cedar and copper trellis design here.

How to cheat to get that aged wood lookFamily Handyman

How to cheat to get that aged wood look

If you love the look of barnboard walls, use Tempaper, a removable wallpaper that sticks to any smooth, painted or primed surface. It peels off easily and it won't damage drywall or leave messy glue behind. Watch the installation video at tempaperdesigns.com. Plus, check out the pros and cons of removable wallpaper. Get this Tempaper Design on Amazon.