How to age wood ? And what is the best wood?

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Forum topic by aussiejim posted 03-11-2009 03:06 AM 14015 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2787 days

03-11-2009 03:06 AM

Hi there,
Im new on this. Really need the help of some experts. I am trying to create a few things.. I need to find out how to age a small (20cm x 20cm) piece of wood. Also the darker the better. I need to age it to look 100’s of years old and are also wondering what would be the best type of wood for this?
It needs to have lots of character and imperfections. I will replicate the process once known

Preferably it would need to be a hard wood also.

Any ideas? Thanks a mil

-- Regards, Jim

17 replies so far

View Primitiques's profile


24 posts in 2839 days

#1 posted 03-11-2009 03:19 AM

use milk-paint and briwax

View cedarforests's profile


8 posts in 2806 days

#2 posted 03-11-2009 04:14 AM

seems i saw an article(fww) that described burning the wood or scorching it followed by a wire brush scrubing?This i belive was in imitation of a japanese method that buried the wood in burlap bags obviously there was a bit more detail in the article.maybe someone could expand ..

-- when a tree falls in the forest.......Quebec ,Canada

View aussiejim's profile


7 posts in 2787 days

#3 posted 03-11-2009 04:26 AM

I dont know how to add pictures in (sorry), but I want the wood to look ancient and enchanted, with the wood grain texture and knots etc.. Also want it to be dark, and hard wood…

Bit of a tricky one, im then going to try and inlay it into leather!

p.s thanks for your responses so far

-- Regards, Jim

View woodsawdustmaker's profile


37 posts in 3047 days

#4 posted 03-12-2009 08:35 PM

One method is to pour a mixture of strong tea on the wood and rub it in with steel wool.

-- Max - Birmingham, AL

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 2949 days

#5 posted 03-12-2009 11:55 PM

I have done the same as “woodsawdustmaker” but have used coffee, (normaly on purpose). : )

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

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3550 days

#6 posted 03-13-2009 12:42 AM


I use a solution of Potassium Dichromate to age wood. It works particularly on some of our local species of wood including white oak, box elder and pine. I live in Kentucky, USA. It doesn’t just dye the wood, it reacts with the natural chemicals in wood to simulate aging.

This stuff is toxic and regulated here in the States. I don’t know if it is available in Oz.

Here is my State-side source:

Garrett Wade

-- 温故知新

View aussiejim's profile


7 posts in 2787 days

#7 posted 03-15-2009 06:10 AM

Hey guys,
THanks so much for all the great posts! I will be referring back to this post again for a while! I really appreciate your help! Need to start experimenting again!
Cheers lads

-- Regards, Jim

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3411 days

#8 posted 03-15-2009 06:16 AM

I got my Potassium Dichromate from a guy on ebay for about $10 a pound. It will last a looong time.

It doesn’t work real great on light woods like maple. It turns in into a grayish, greenish, real bad looking color.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3190 days

#9 posted 03-15-2009 03:17 PM

Sandblasting can produce some interesting aged character to the grain. Layers of aniline dye will help with the color.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View gizmodyne's profile


1768 posts in 3513 days

#10 posted 03-15-2009 03:40 PM

Have you thought about going to a salvage yard and just buying an old piece of douglas fir or railroad tie or something?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3583 days

#11 posted 03-24-2009 03:43 PM

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3823 days

#12 posted 03-24-2009 04:30 PM

That’s an interesting product Debbie. I was going to state. Get some very Knotty wood like a piece of branch pine where the knots are about a few inches apart and come in from all angles. If you are trying in inlay it in leather. I assume that it’s not a table top size piece.

Then do your treatment with wire brush and some strong tea or coffee. I think that Potassium Dichromate works on tannic acid and the tea provides that.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View dogbart's profile


1 post in 2773 days

#13 posted 03-24-2009 04:46 PM

The easiest solution is to go to a junk antique shop and look for old table leaves or other pieces you can salvage. Auctions and used furniture stores are also options. I restore and refinish furniture as a profession so when doing repiar work I use old wood and I have a goodly supply that I keep adding to. Old dressers that are broken can be purchased cheaply and the tops and sides are usually good enough for salvage, table tops with missing bases are usually inexpensive. check to make sure the peices you wish to salvage are fairly flat.
If you want solid harwood make sure the peices are not veneered.

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3176 days

#14 posted 03-26-2009 03:49 AM

backing soda mixed with water will turn some boards darker. Take a 1/2 hour or so.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View aussiejim's profile


7 posts in 2787 days

#15 posted 04-01-2009 02:01 AM

Everyone, thank you soo much! Now all I need to do is get some materials and start experimenting! The pieces of wood that i need to age are only going to be small but yeah I gotta get it right!! I cant seem to find a supplier of Potassium Dichromate here in Australia.. does it have any other names?
Wish you all lived over here in sydney! haha

-- Regards, Jim

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