- Selection of source material
- Brushing, creating a relief surface
- Removal of texture defects
- Working with an electric tool
- Varnish, stain or paint
- Strengthening the effect of antiquity with patina
Working with wood is a real pleasure, and the wider the arsenal of the joiner’s skills, the more pleasant it is to work with natural materials. Today we will acquaint readers with the basic techniques of wood aging with our own hands, from invoicing to staining and patinating..
Selection of source material
Not every kind of wood can be given a spectacular look by aging. Of course, it all depends on the decorative purpose within the framework of a certain style concept of the interior and, in general, personal preferences. And yet, for semi-antique decor elements, it is customary to choose breeds of high and medium softness with a non-uniform fiber density..
Most conifers are perfect: spruce, pine, yew, larch, fir. From hardwoods, you can safely choose poplar, fruit trees, alder, chestnut, linden and others like them. Not all furniture is made of wood suitable for brushing and aging. In some cases it makes sense to use applied aged decors, and open the main parts with a moderately dark varnish.
If the wood is of a suitable quality, it must be clarified first. Traces of paints and varnishes (paintwork materials) are removed, the upper gray layer is smoothed with sandpaper before the texture appears. Wood flaws give a special color and are not an obstacle, but any stains and greasy dirt must be removed.
Brushing, creating a relief surface
The first part of the aging procedure is surface relief. This is done by picking out soft layers of wood between the hard fibers. The main work is done with metal brushes, steel or brass. The roughness of the brush and the thickness of the pile should be selected commensurate with the hardness of the particular wood species..
For aging, a cross section of the part is selected, where thin hard fibers alternate with wider soft ones. When processing the front parts of furniture, extremely flat areas age, milling and edges must be left intact. All brush movements are carried out strictly along the fibers. When processing wood in the transverse direction, you can leave risks on hard fibers, which do not look quite appropriate.
The brush must be pulled with medium pressure along the entire workpiece, achieving an even effect in all areas. A common mistake is when the main brushing effort falls on the middle part of the part, and the edges remain almost untreated.
It is very important to stop in time: the relief should not be too pronounced, the optimal furrow depth is no more than 2 mm. Of course, the wood is heterogeneous and in some places loose layers can form deeper grooves, but this is even better.
A very high quality result can be achieved by burning wood. This not only accelerates the process of highlighting the texture – when exposed to fire, the tree favorably changes in color.
Removal of texture defects
After brushing, the appearance of the part is still far from perfect. Under natural aging, the surface remains smooth and pleasant to the touch. Tearing out soft fibers, you will inevitably leave a large amount of thin rags, they must be removed before further processing.
This is done using nylon or sesal brushes, the pile of which contains abrasive particles. Initially, the artistic processing of wood was carried out with just such brushes with low rigidity, but brushing with steel bristles significantly speeds up the process.
When processing with a synthetic brush, the wood will become even more textured, “shaggy” and roughness inside the furrows will disappear. To finally smooth out the relief, you can use steel wool or fine abrasive powder, with which the wood is rubbed until a slight shine appears..
Finally, the textured surface must be carefully polished. It is easiest to do this with felt coated with a colorless abrasive paste. It is also possible to use foam-based zero skins. Sometimes, when brushing, the furrows are specially made very deep, in order to then remove a layer of about 2-3 mm by grinding, achieving a flat surface with shallow expressive veins. It is recommended to use angle grinders or rotary grinders for final processing: moving the working part in a circle at high speed will not leave noticeable scratches..
Working with an electric tool
The power tool can be successfully used at all stages of texture processing, from brushing to polishing. However, working with it requires more care: it is very easy to spoil the product without having the skill of preliminary work.
Almost any brushed steel, even synthetic, can behave differently depending on the shape and thickness of the pile. Some brushes literally “bite” into the part themselves, while others require a fairly strong pressure. Better to test the behavior of the tool on scraps of wood to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Let us remind you again: the movement of the pile should be strictly along the fibers, this is especially important in the first stages of rough processing. Brushing with a steel brush is not recommended for angle grinders, for which the direction of rotation is difficult to control. If you don’t want to spend money on a brush sander, use a drill with roller brushes or purchase special attachments for grinders.
Varnish, stain or paint
When the invoicing is finished, the second stage of aging begins – toning. In the simplest version, the surface is simply opened with a colorless varnish several times to protect against decay and eliminate soiling.
A more pronounced effect can be obtained by opening the tree with stain. By matching the depth of tone to the breed you are using, you will add the necessary contrast to the prominent ribs and furrows. To enhance the effect, the stain must be wiped off immediately after application: the soft fibers in the furrows will absorb it more than the hard ones, and therefore will be painted in a darker color.
The opposite effect can be achieved by coating the part with a light-colored opaque acrylic varnish. It is applied thickly with a brush, then wiped with a dry cloth across the fibers, remaining only in deep veins. Hard fibers are dyed dark by tamponing using a dark polyurethane varnish.
If you want to give the wood a real antique look and make it gray, use leftover steel wool. They should be soaked for several hours in a descaling and limestone cleaner containing hydrochloric acid. Such a liquid is applied with a foam swab, then the excess is immediately wiped off, and the product is dried at room temperature.
After toning of any kind, it is imperative to fix the effect and apply several layers of protective varnish. It is better for these purposes to choose a transparent polyurethane-based varnish, which is then quite easy to polish to a shine.
Strengthening the effect of antiquity with patina
Brushed wood can be patinated, such products look very impressive. Pre-textured surface is opened with one or two layers of varnish, uniformly coloring the product. Below we will tell you how to patinate an aged surface, this effect can be emphasized by the same processing of edges and milled parts..
After that, a small amount of glue is applied to the wood with a swab, and the copper foil is smoothed. The excess is removed with fine sandpaper. When the copper strips remain only on the protruding solid fibers, they are wiped with an etchant or lightly doused with a gas burner. Here, too, one should not forget about the need for protective varnishing..
A patina effect can also be achieved with the help of a special varnish with metallized particles. Such a composition is applied in a wide fan, the workpiece must be turned at a slight angle. In this case, the most favorable position of the part is taken into account so that when it is placed in the interior, alternating colored and unpainted stripes are clearly visible.