October 23, 2012

Oxidize my wood baby!

So yesterday we showed you the building process of our table. That part went really quick we picked up all the parts and pieces in the morning and by time I got home from work Mr.B already had it put together.
I also mentioned that we loosely followed this tutorial for oxidizing wood. I only say ‘loosely’ because I searched online a lot and found that everyone got mixed results from doing the same things. (Get ready for over 50 pictures – this was the longer part of the process!)

That night after Mr.B finished the table I got to work getting our brew together.
When we were at Lowe’s getting the rest of the supplies we picked up the steel wool. The tutorial we found specifically said the 0000 kind – so that’s what we got.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
I took one chunk out and then tore it up into pieces because it said that would make it do its work faster. I really tore mine in to pieces because we were so excited we couldn't wait to get it finished. I use vinegar for everything so we already had a huge jug of that – so I just filled the jars to the top and put the lids on.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
So the first night after we came down to check on it – there had been some seepage. I guess I put a little too much vinegar and the lids were on a little too tight. So through the night some seeped out from the pressure in the jar. Then the next night I got it in my head I should flip them upside down so the steel wool was submerged. I woke up the next morning and almost all of the solution had leaked out onto Mr.B’s work bench. Good news – it turned it gray, bad news – my solution was soaked up by the towel!

Next time I get a bright idea I’ll definitely re-think it. I just put more vinegar in each jar and figured I’d cross my fingers and hope that it would still work. I was going to be using it the next day. Here’s how the solution was looking after 3 days – plus newly added vinegar. I think it was fine because the steel wool already was breaking down and sitting on the bottom.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Next up was making my batch of tea. The tannin's in the tea help cause the reaction. We had white wood so I knew we were definitely going to need one or two coats of tea so that we would get the color we wanted.

I used 9 tea bags total – 6 of them were regular Lipton’s tea and the other 3 were black tea from Wegman's  I boiled the water and then put my tea bags in there for 10-15 minutes.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
After I squeezed them out this is what I was left with – very dark tea. That is exactly what I wanted I wanted to make sure that the tea was super strong so that it would work well with the vinegar solution.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The tea is important because of the tannin's as I mentioned. White wood doesn't naturally have a lot of tannin's in it- the bottom piece of this board I wiped the vinegar solution that was all over my towel. Yes, the color did change but it only made it deeper – it didn't give it the aged look.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
I took a brand new kitchen sponge and rinsed it out really good. (I don’t know what’s on them to keep them soft when they’re new.) I just dipped it in my tea – squeezed it out a little and rubbed it on. You can obviously see where the tea was applied and where it wasn't.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The ends really absorbed it for obvious reasons. It is easy to forget the ends and the parts of the X so I made sure I had a pattern and so that I didn't forget any parts.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Here’s how it looked after 1 coat of tea. I let it dry for awhile and then I went back and did a second coat.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Here’s how it looked after the 2nd coat. It’s wet so it looks darker – I did 2 coats because I figured the more tea the better. It couldn't hurt to put too much. Looking at these pictures I see a few spots I didn't apply 2 coats too and those are the spots I had trouble with when I used the vinegar – it all makes sense now!

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
I made sure to really focus on the top and the shelves because those surfaces were larger so any uneven-ness would be most noticeable there. I also tried to squeeze a little tea out of the sponge and get it in all the cracks.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Here’s how it looked the next morning. It gives it a cloudy, soft touch kind of look. The knots definitely looked different – Mr.B said he thought it brought them out.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
I kind of thought that it made the knots looked more soft – there was definitely an almost hazy look to it. It didn't feel dirty or hazy though.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
In this picture it does look like the knots are richer, darker looking.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
I did a test piece because I was a little nervous with how it was going to come out. The left side was one coat of the vinegar after 5 minutes – and the right side was 2 coats. After we did the test piece we were no less nervous and we thought we’d definitely need 2 coats.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Here is the first coat right after I put it on. I definitely had a sigh of relief when I saw it turn right away. The board I tested I put 2 coats of tea on but they didn't have as much drying/sitting time.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The ends turned dark immediately. I think because they soaked up so much tea there were no problems where they were concerned. I used the same sponge I wiped the tea on with. I figured the tea on the sponge would only help my application. I just dipped the sponge in the jar and squeezed it out a little. I also had gloves on when I did this - I have sensitive skin and even though its vinegar some sort of chemical reaction happened so you never know.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
I also made sure to try to squeeze some of the solution out onto the top so that it would get into the cracks. The board on the left is right after I put it on and the board on the right had sat for probably 5 minutes. (Honestly, how you can even focus on the table when that cute little face is looking at you?)

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
After one coat it was looking pretty good. I stepped back and was so pleased it was turning out exactly how we wanted it too! Most of the cracks changed color but some stayed the white, but I was fine with that. If this wood aged outside naturally it wouldn't be perfect.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The one end had a little knot in it so it didn't really change color – but it was kind of cool because it added character to the table.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
After seeing those other pictures of after my tea application I think I neglected to get this spot twice – because it put a fight in oxidizing. I just had to apply more tea and then apply more solution a couple of times. I was getting kind of bummed because I thought it was going to ruin the whole look.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
I think this was part of neglect also – you can bottom part of the X the top board stayed pretty light and the right leg on the inside did also.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Mr.B came home and saw it and was thrilled. We liked the color but decided that a second light coat probably wouldn't hurt and we needed those other boards to even out. So I took my same sponge and dipped it in tea and just focused on all those spots –and then while the tea was soaking in I did a light coat over the whole thing.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The second coat darkened it up a little bit and evened it out. I was able to remedy my few spots that wouldn't turn and we were thrilled will how it was looking.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
This is the board that I couldn’t get to oxidize – and after I let the first coat dry for a little while and then put some more tea and solution it worked fine.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Initially when I saw the problem I was dipping the sponge in tea and then immediately putting more solution and it did turn gray a little bit but it was still lighter. I think the key was walking away let it dry – apply straight tea and then let it soak in and apply more solution.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
You can see in this picture how it darkened it up and made the color more even.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
This is how it looked in the morning – don’t pay attention to the back right corner – Mr.B started paste waxing it before I got some pictures.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
We had good even coverage – a soft gray – it makes the wood look like it would literally be soft to touch.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
You can see here that the ends ending up evening out much better – woohoo!

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Here’s looking at it from the opposite direction – the inside of the right leg was the one of the pieces that wasn't oxidizing.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
We did one coat of the paste wax – we applied it with some old t-shirt rags. We made sure to really rub it in.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
We did another coat – and then took a clean rag and “buffed” the whole thing. I think the buffing part was the most important step because it really shined it up and gave it a hard coat. ( Max was there for moral support – and to pick up everything off the floor he could find.)

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The top looked awesome after we had it all buffed. It was so shiny and beautimous looking.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
We made sure to get the tops, bottoms, fronts and backs of all the parts and pieces on the X. We spent the most time on the shelf and the top because those would be the two spots that got the most wear and tear.

I never used paste wax before this weekend – but it is my new favorite thing EVER. It is so awesome – it is definitely more work than poly but the finish that it gives a piece is so awesome. You run your hand over it and its smooth and soft.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The piece de resistance was the hardware that went on each corner. They didn't have them in black at Lowe’s so Mr.B spray painted them with RustOleum’s hammered in black. He also got some nails and spray painted them black too – he did 3 coats because he knew when he hammered them into place it might chip a little so he wanted thicker coverage.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The metal on the side really adds to the rustic, beat up, barn wood feel of the piece. We are even contemplating adding a few more of the brackets to the undersides so it looks like there holding the top part up. I’ll let ya know if we decide to do that.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
Ohh yeahh – sweet yeahh!

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
We couldn't wait to bring it upstairs. We bought the baskets at Lowe’s – they’re Allen & Roth they were on clearance and they aren't on their website anymore. We had one of those baskets in our mudroom because they are meant to be used in their storage towers – Mr.B tried it out underneath the other night and they fit perfectly.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table
The rest of the pictures are self explanatory. I put my runner that I talked about purchasing here on the table and it looks perfect.

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table

The Freckled Redhead - X Coffee Table

That’s all she wrote! We are so happy with it and we can’t wait to make side tables to match to go on each side of the couch. Don’t worry – we already have a plan for what were going to do with the freebie tables I talked about here and here.

You might have noticed some other changes in the living room – I’ll be back later in the week to talk about those. Also, stay tuned for the side tables – we’re also going to make a matching side table for Mr.B’s recliner so we’ll let you know how that goes.

What do you think – would you try oxidizing wood?
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