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Home made stains from vinegar and steel wool?!?

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Not bogus. It is simple chemistry. My thought is that the vinegar's are pretty acidic so what does it do in the long run on the wood. Will it eat it away, will it fade and how much?

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I've used this on wooden model RR structures and it hasn't affected the wood. I do recommend that you test the stains on a scrap of the same wood you want to stain. You can also use India inks in denatured alcohol (found in pharmacies or chemist shops) for stains.

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Some  old muzzleloading firearms were stained with a mixture of nitric acid and iron. I have used it and it gives a very nice color. It affects different hardness of wood differently so the grain really stands out. One caveat  it MUST be neutralized with something like a baking soda slurry or the stain will continue to darken. Also nitric acid is dangerous when the iron is put in it gets hot. I have one pistol I made about 25 years ago and there is no deterioration of the wood although it has darkened over the years. I guess I didn't let the baking soda sit long enough.

 

Mark

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When you neutralized the nitric acid with sodium bicarbonate, the

reaction would have been essentially instantaneous. The result

would have been sodium nitrate ( CO2 and H2O).  If the continued

darkening was due to what you are guessing, it would just mean that

you did not use enough bicarb.  The probability is that you used a

surplus of bicarb and if anything, you stain was slightly basic.

My guess would be that oxygen is involved with the change.

If the iron was a large piece, There would be none of it in the wood

even if what you used was acidic.  Wood is a complex combination

of organic compounds, some of which will oxidize to darker compounds

over time.

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Wire wool !!

 

I would be soooooooooo careful of using anything which had wire wool involved to make sure every last vestige is stripped  / strained out.

 

I know cabinet makers use wire wool  for smoothing and it works very well . 

But I did a deck once with it and though swabbed and cleansed afterwards very thoroughly  - in a few week there was speckles of black all over..

So if you want a dark stain - fine but as I say the smallest speck of iron may leave a bigger black spot on lighter surfaces.

Edited by SpyGlass
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Any iron, nails, old chain links, screws, will rust in the vinegar it doesn't have to be steel wool. I first used a similar set up to age wood.  First paint the wood with brewed tea, that adds tannic acid to the surface.  Then paint it with the rusty vinegar.  The wood turned a nice gray.  I also saw a friend paint walnut with the rusty vinegar, without the tea, and it looked like a fine ebony.  Try it, it's just vinegar.

 

Bob

Edited by Cap'n'Bob
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My question would be why, when you can have any color under the rainbow and have them be safe and stable long term by mixing alcohol-based aniline dyes? Best part is they're not pigment based, the color is molecular, so they don't occlude the underlying wood at all unless you go really dark If Gibson uses these every day to stain $4k Les Pauls in a thousand colors, it should be a good choice for ship modelers. 

 

I'm new to ships but not making things, example of the trust I put in them was a so-called luthier ruined the neck on my 1994 Strat by stripping the truss rod, so I made a replacement neck and had to match the 20 year old yellowed Fender clear.

 

 

post-9338-0-97471100-1485747727_thumb.jpg

 

 

I also think they're very easy to use, best thing is to mix at 50% or 33% intended color so you can control better by putting a few coats on, and you also control color by how long you wait before wiping. With alcohol-based you can do coats about every two minutes since it dries immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you use an acid, such as cooking-grade flavoured vinegar, the coloured compounds will be probably some iron-organic acid complex. If you filter this, there will be no particles. You should end up with a dye. However, big chemical companies can control processes much better and I would also go for commercial dyes. At the amount we need them, the cost will not kill you.

 

Incidentally, the (cast-)iron guns of old were 'browned' by repeatedly wetting them with vinegar. Finally, the rust and iron-organic compounds were solidified by applying lineseed-oil. Kind of in situ oil-paint production.

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Hello Les here. Heres my two cents worth. Sorry Canada doesn't have pennies any more. So one tooney. I used to watch a PBS show called the Furniture Guys. Great stuff and very comedic. They used to make their own wood dyes by soaking chains, and any other piece of metallic junk they could find in water and anything else they could come up with. Interesting as entertainment but a waste of time in my opinion. Go to any good paint store and they will have a great selection of water based stains. Just apply and finish. Controllable and predictable. No alchemy required.

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Hi,

 

I've been using this on the bowls and platters that I turn on a lathe for many years. Wire wool is not essential, any rusty iron will do. I personally use white vinegar. Like Captainbob explained, wiping the surface of the wood with tea (soggy teabags work too!) will make the end result darker as does applying several coats of the iron/ vinegar mix.  I find this process most effective when used on oak because of it's natural tannin content. I believe that the 'ebonising' effect is due to the chemical reaction between the tannin and the acid in the vinegar. Once dry any wood finish can be applied. I like this technique because of the penetration that can be achieved compared with paints etc. that just sit on the surface.

 

Cheers,

 

Graham.

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Some photographic detail ……..

 

Driving past the old work place the other day I decided to drop in to catch up with colleagues and pick up a few more of my own bits and pieces – tools etc.  Sitting at the back of a shelf in a workshop cupboard was a jar of the vinegar/ rusty iron ‘brew’ so I thought I’d produce a test piece to show the effect of the ebonising stain on wood.

 

IMG_5807.jpg.940aa09af386d62cefe9e74f8d88de68.jpg

The vinegar and rusty iron mix ready for use.

 

The oak sample was divided into three, the first left natural, the third area was pre-soaked with cold tea to increase the tannin content, and once this had dried the second and third areas were both coated with the ebonising fluid. Initially nothing seems to be happening but over the next hour or so the effect became more pronounced.

Once the wood had dried half the sample was coated with matt varnish which further enhances the effect.

 

IMG_5808.jpg.780b4fc1324d4bebaed50a772c87762f.jpg

 

 

As oak is not often an ideal wood for modelling purposes, this is what happened when the fluid was applied to a walnut off-cut from my Caldercraft Victory. As walnut has a lower tannin content than oak pre-soaking in tea is beneficial.

 

IMG_5809.jpg.67460c00f973d07173f772ca01da1af0.jpg

 

 

I hope this is of some interest, any task that begins with brewing tea has a lot going for it, almost as good as a cold beer once a task is completed!

 

Cheers,

 

Graham.

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