Aging Pine

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Forum topic by WadeHolloway posted 08-11-2015 07:51 PM 642 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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85 posts in 1517 days

08-11-2015 07:51 PM

I know pine like cherry will age and to me it looks better after it has aged some. I am in the middle of making a Shaker Style Chest out of Yellow Pine and although I want to put a good finish on it I would like to get to age some first. I know exposure to sun light will help to age it a lot faster but was wondering if there was another way. I really don’t want to try and leave it outside while I am at work to get the sunlight on it. Has anyone ever tried getting some 5200 degree kelvin flood lights, which is supposed to be the temp of natural light, and leaving them pointed at the chest for a few days? Or does anyone have any other ideas about aging wood. Thanks for any help.

11 replies so far

View darinS's profile


676 posts in 2290 days

#1 posted 08-11-2015 09:46 PM


I’m by no means a finishing or aging expert, but I think it is the UV light that makes the change i wood. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the question. If so, I’m sorry.

-- They say many people die because of alcohol. They never realized how many of them are born because of it.

View ric53's profile


144 posts in 942 days

#2 posted 08-11-2015 09:59 PM

Darin you are correct it is the UV rays.

-- Ric, Mazomanie

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1774 days

#3 posted 08-11-2015 10:53 PM

You can get a similar look by giving it a coat or two of amber or garnet shellac. As always experiment on scrap.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

804 posts in 1657 days

#4 posted 08-11-2015 11:53 PM

Time will do it. I made some Shaker end tables years ago and the wood is now beautiful. I do no recall what topcoat I put on them.

-- Jerry

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2420 days

#5 posted 08-12-2015 12:16 AM

Try a mixture of Steel Wool and vinegar. Let the mixture sit couple days till steel wool disolves, then brush it on.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View WadeHolloway's profile


85 posts in 1517 days

#6 posted 08-12-2015 02:32 AM

Thanks for the help guys it is appreciated. If it is UV light that does the aging then the 5200 degree Kelvin light may actually work. I may pick up a couple and set them up and how they do.

View darinS's profile


676 posts in 2290 days

#7 posted 08-13-2015 05:30 PM

Thanks for teaching me something Wade. I’ve always thought of Kelvin as a measure of temperature based on absolute zero as used in physics, chemistry, and other fields. I didn’t realize that photographers and other image projection type people used it as well.

-- They say many people die because of alcohol. They never realized how many of them are born because of it.

View Tim's profile


3032 posts in 1384 days

#8 posted 08-13-2015 05:39 PM

Darin, it’s the same thing. When things like metal get hot they glow, so the color temperature is an idealized scale for the color of the light given off at that temperature.

I’ve heard steel wool and vinegar (making iron acetate) can cause pine to turn green instead of aged. One suggestion was to soak the wood with a strong tea solution first then apply the steel wool iron mixture. The tannins in the tea will help make a better color. I haven’t tried that yet.

I saw another aging pine trick that involved sodium hydroxide to age the wood. It said drain cleaners have sodium hydroxide and it would give a nice brown color. But the only drain cleaner I had also had sodium hypochorite in it and that’s bleach and it didn’t work very well. Wood stayed pretty yellow. Not sure if pure sodium hydroxide would have worked better or not.

I made a new pine sliding top for a very old small pine pencil size box and would like to try to get a closer match to the brownish patina it has so I’m also curious for more options.

View Tim's profile


3032 posts in 1384 days

#9 posted 08-13-2015 05:41 PM

Also, grow lights would have more UV than a daylight temperature bulb. I don’t know anything about UV or grow light bulbs and aging wood though.

View dawsonbob's profile


1841 posts in 1178 days

#10 posted 08-13-2015 05:50 PM

Darin, if I remember from my schooldays, you’re correct in that an (iron) body at zero degrees is given to be absolutely black. As it warms, however, it changes colors depending on the temperature. You’ve heard of red-hot metal, or white hot metal; those are examples of color change due to heat. The color temperature of light (in Kelvins) is compared to the heat of said iron body. In color light measurement, noon sunlight on a clear day in Washington D.C. is given to be 6,000 degrees Kelvin.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View WadeHolloway's profile


85 posts in 1517 days

#11 posted 08-13-2015 07:33 PM

Darin dawsonbob explained it pretty well and I am glad you learned something. :)

Tim on a couple of your ideas, I know if you wipe down the wood with some tea that is adding some tanins to the wood to react to the iron acetate and that reaction will turn the wood black or some shade of purple to black depending on the tannin content, it does not age the pine at all and is actually pretty cool in wood like Popular and Walnut will get real black. I do not know what would be in pine to react to the Sodium Hydroxide or what you would get from it, but I do have a supply of it so I may try it on a piece of scrap and see. Not sure about buying any grow lights, don’t want anyone thinking I am growing some of the illegal substances. :)

The only way I can think of to really age the pine is imitate what really ages it to start with. Just was not sure what light bands actually did the aging. Thought it might be the UV but was not sure. I think I am going to try and pick up a couple of the bulbs this weekend and rig it up where the light will stay in the wood 24 hours a day. Maybe a couple or three days will make a big difference. Since a couple are interested I will try to take some pics to post so everyone will be able to see the difference.

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