Hey Friends! Today I am so very happy to have Tim contribute his first post ever! Two things you need to know about Tim before you get started reading:
1. He loves details and you will be able to tell in his writing.
2. He is very funny and sarcastic. Sometimes sarcasm is hard to pick up in the written word, so just know if anything sounds pompous, cocky, or just plain wrong- it's probably his wonderful sense of humor kicking in! :)
I am excited to be making my posting debut. Kara has been "encouraging" me to try a few posts and if you follow Kara Paslay Designs on Facebook you would already know that Kara will be taking on some new responsibilities. Kara was offered and accepted the Display Coordinator position at ANTHROPOLIGIE! Needless to say you will be seeing a little more of me around these parts. Now, on to the stain.
It all started when I was checking out this piece by Samuel Moyer.
The grey color immediately caught my eye. I have never seen a stain that color. It almost looks like marble or soapstone. I noticed in the description he says he used a iron and vinegar pigment. This was one of the few times I regretted erasing almost everything I learned from my Chemistry degree, but never fear Google is here. With a little research I tracked down some concoctions and started experimenting.
Here are my supplies: A Glass Jar, Distilled White Vinegar, and a steel scrubber.
I placed the Vinegar and steel in the jar and waited for 24 hours.
Almost immediately you could see something was happening.
I didn't see any color change, so I left it in for almost 48 hours, but still didn't see anything noticeably different. I thought for sure my scrubber wasn't actually steel, so I removed the scrubbers and set the jar aside.
I had started this exploration during Snowmageddon and the scrubber was the only thing I could find within walking distance of the house, but after the snow had melted I got some Steel Wool.
While I was out there was an interesting development in the first jar. What had been pretty much clear was now...
So the second time around I followed directions exactly and removed the steel wool right at 24 hours. Just as before the solution was mostly clear, but with a little time I ended up with these. The steel wool was in the smaller jar.
I couldn't wait to try it out. Since I only work with the finest materials in my furniture business I only had a piece of pine laying around.
(Note: the stain will go on clear and start to darken within a few minutes and continue darkening for about 15 minutes or so).
You can see there wasn't any noticeable difference between the two, but neither one looked anything like the inspiration piece. To me this is was just another confirmation that I was not made to be a chemist, so I gave up and moved on to the next project.
But as fortune would have it, Kara got into one of her, "I need to finish this project and I don't care what has to happen, it is getting done TODAY!" moods and this was the only "stain" on hand. That project was yesterday's flat file.
The color looks totally different than it did on the pine. So we started testing more. Here it is on white ash.
Here it is on some oak.
In person, that lightest area is a very light gray. It is getting pretty close to looking like the original photo. Mr. Moyer's piece was constructed from maple so I have a sneaky suspicion that when I finally get around to trying it on some maple we will be very pleased with our efforts.
You should always test any stain on a sample piece, but with this one it is absolutely essential.
Well there it is, a homemade, cheap, eco-friendly?, beautiful stain. After doing some more thinking, any piece of steel should work for your solution. Kara and I can't wait to try using some old nails and steel scraps that we have. Give it a shot and send us the pictures. We weren't crazy about this stain on the pine, but on the oak and the ash- we love it! What do you guys think?