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Cleaning Weathered Wood

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Forum topic by MarkTheDark posted 12-16-2008 08:59 PM 6168 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MarkTheDark

10 posts in 2187 days


12-16-2008 08:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cleaning bleach not sanding

I am about to use the staves from an oak barrel (white oak) to make a table, but the staves are weathered. I’d like to lighten or clean before I put a stain and finish on, but I don’t want to sand away the character of the rust stains from the rings.

Can anyone recommend a cleaning process that will take away the gray appearance? Could a bleach bath be used?

-- Mark - "Wood - it's my schtik."


7 replies so far

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Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2248 days


#1 posted 12-16-2008 09:18 PM

Deck cleaner works well but you most likely will loss most of the rust or spread it.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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Toolz

1003 posts in 2464 days


#2 posted 12-16-2008 10:36 PM

You might want to try “wood bleach” i.e. oxalic acid crystals available from a pharmacy. Dissolve the crystals in water. Test on scrap first. Wear rubber or nitrile gloves.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

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RichardB

70 posts in 2210 days


#3 posted 12-17-2008 04:25 AM

> You might want to try “wood bleach” i.e. oxalic acid crystals available from a pharmacy. Dissolve the crystals > in water. Test on scrap first. Wear rubber or nitrile gloves.

Oxalic Acid crystals are also sold at Rocklers, if there’s one nearby.

If you have the whole barrel, use some of the end boards to test things. I think I’d just try hot water and some mild soap to get dirt off; maybe use a soft scrub brush. You could use the bathtub; there’s usually a back brush nearby. hehehehe

Face it, weathered Oak is black. If you want it to look like an old barrel, it’s gonna be dark. If you want nice clean oak with rust stains, cut some duplicates , get a piece of wrought iron or the old barrel bands, polish ‘em up with steel wool, wet them, and lay them across. You’ll have rust stains in no time! ;-)

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MarkTheDark

10 posts in 2187 days


#4 posted 12-17-2008 06:02 AM

Yes, the dark look is what I want. Perhaps it will start to “pop” once I get a stain on it. Here’s a link to what I’d like the final look to be.

http://www.buying-bar-stools.com/bistro-tables/bistro-table.html

Thanks to everyone for their input.

-- Mark - "Wood - it's my schtik."

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1191 posts in 2280 days


#5 posted 12-23-2008 02:30 AM

I’ve had luck with sanding with 180-220. This cleans up the surface, but doesn’t sand away the barrel hoop character marks because it’s stained into the wood pores. I actually have to work hard to sand away the rings.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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MarkTheDark

10 posts in 2187 days


#6 posted 12-23-2008 08:04 AM

Capt. Skully,

I’m going to give that a try as well. I have 3 barrels worth of staves to experiment with. For time, I took the simple and safe route and just washed and scrubbed with a light detergent and water. After the stain it looks good and rustic.

-- Mark - "Wood - it's my schtik."

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matter

210 posts in 2491 days


#7 posted 01-04-2009 04:13 PM

TSP & a soft brush

I have done hundreds of feet of barnwood like this and it comes out great.

-- The only easy wood project is a fire

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