Home Made Stain From Steel Wool and Vinegar

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Project by Bricofleur posted 08-12-2012 02:38 PM 4188 views 13 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here I want to share the dirt cheap home-made stain I used on the two country kitchen credenzas I just finished. You get the home made stain made by soaking a steel wood pad in white vinager and a bit of balsamic vinager (to get it darker) for three weeks. On this particular project I added one coat of sanding sealer and three coats of wipe-on diluted water base polyurethane (50/50). I added few close-up pictures so you can have a better idea of the finish. Gently rub your screen to feel the finish! (just kidding!)

At this price, no need to tell you that I instantly became a fan of this dirt cheap and simple finishing technique.

You can watch the whole construction process from this page of my blog.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

13 comments so far

View MasterSergeant's profile


1324 posts in 1776 days

#1 posted 08-12-2012 05:00 PM

Great looking finish, i’ll give a try! Thanks for the idea!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View Dusty56's profile


11781 posts in 2776 days

#2 posted 08-12-2012 06:26 PM

”Gently rub your screen to feel the finish! (just kidding!)” LMAO : )
The color is perfect for the pieces…..hey , wait a minute , these aren’t MDF ! LOL

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1563 days

#3 posted 08-12-2012 06:33 PM

Be careful what wood you use this recipe on, if you use it on oak it will turn black, as well as any other wood with high ligning content. It is in fact one half of the recipe for ebonizing wood. Any catecol mixed with a solution of vinegar and iron will turn the wood black as night. It is a two step process.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Bricofleur's profile


1296 posts in 2281 days

#4 posted 08-12-2012 07:54 PM

@JGM0658: Thank you for your input. I knew it could be used to ebonize wood but didn’t know what wood. The usual rule is more than ever important here, always make tests on scraps of the same species.

@Dusty56: I’m sorry to disappoint you! No MDF here! :-)



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Tdazzo's profile


56 posts in 1937 days

#5 posted 08-12-2012 08:35 PM

That’s very pretty. I’ve also heard of that trick for ebonizing oak but hadn’t heard of it used to finish other woods in this manner. Is that a pine you used?

-- "If you can't do something smart, do something right." -- Sheppard Book

View Bricofleur's profile


1296 posts in 2281 days

#6 posted 08-12-2012 10:05 PM

@Tdazzo: Thank you. Yes, it is pine.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Navyblue's profile


14 posts in 1256 days

#7 posted 08-12-2012 10:36 PM

Wow! You really brought a beautiful look to a plain Jane wood. I really like that idea. Always looking to save money but sometimes the project reflects that but your recipe turned out looking very nice.

View Roger's profile


17850 posts in 1892 days

#8 posted 08-12-2012 11:30 PM

Very good tip Serge. Nice lookin glue-up on those tops also. Really gr8 finish.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Dustmite97's profile


431 posts in 2308 days

#9 posted 08-13-2012 03:52 AM

Very good idea. It sure does look nice.

View Bricofleur's profile


1296 posts in 2281 days

#10 posted 08-13-2012 01:37 PM

Thanks for your comments. I hope you like this stain enough to give it a try because it really works. Pine is a pain to stain because the finish tends to get blotchy, but not with this particular stain. It raises the grain, but not as much as water based stain. A light sanding is required.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View chrisstef's profile


13583 posts in 2094 days

#11 posted 08-13-2012 01:39 PM

I dig it Serge … im finding my way into more and mroe home made finishes and tools as well. Keepin it simple.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View PoppaDick's profile


3 posts in 1200 days

#12 posted 08-13-2012 02:13 PM

Thanks for the tip, Serge! And, thanks to JMG0658 for the chemistry lesson! I’ve never been happy with efforts to get a good black finish on oak with commercial stains. I’m gonna make up a project just to try this! Or, maybe I’ll do the facings on the cabinets I’m restoring for my workshop with ebonized oak.

-- "If you ain't happy, change yer mind!"

View mafe's profile


10541 posts in 2177 days

#13 posted 09-20-2012 07:10 PM

great ide.
We love cheap and simple stuff here!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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