We have featured articles by extraordinary woodworker, Charles Neil, showing how to create antique finishes. Below is the second part of the article. Before reading the article take a look at Charles’s latest project, a gorgeous coffee table made from “junk wood.” It looks so far from being “junk” and is really a stunning piece of sculpture. We love the “bird’s nest” below the table. (Insert jpeg: sideviewbirdsnest
Charles loves to experiment with finishes, and use his knowledge to play with techniques, wood and coatings. We can all learn from his ideas. Here are some great tips from a great finisher:
This is a piece of 8/4 cherry just to show the technique. Insert 6700 I like to take a power carver or carving chisel and “bark” the edges of slabs and so forth, then give it a light coat of finish and glaze it dark it gives it that “hewn, barky look,” and it’s really nice if you’re into slabs and so forth as you can sort of free form it like you want and get a nice complimentary edge treatment.
This is a piece of tiger maple that I oxidized. Insert 6699 The brown was done with a mixture of vinegar and steel wool let soak for a day or so. The more steel wool and the longer you let it soak the more intense the color will be.Here is a piece of tiger maple I jig-sawed to a “natural form” Insert 6696 and then used the same technique.
The bluish/steel look is done with Ferrous Sulfate, which is an iron supplement you can get at any drug store, just dissolve 5 or 6 tablets in a pint of water and your good to go. In both cases it’s a reaction with the tannins in the wood.
This is a piece of yellow pine that has been wire brushed with the grain then Insert 6703 the green tea and the vinegar solution).However not all woods have sufficient tannins to react, but we can cure that. Boil some green tea bags, (the real stuff) make it really strong, I usually use about 3 or 4 bags to the pint, and apply and let dry before the vinegar or Ferrous sulfate. The tea adds tannins to the wood; I have also heard strong black tea will do the same.
This is the same yellow pine with the tea and Ferrous sulfate, Insert 6704 you will note in both cases how the strength of the tea as well as the solutions effect the color. The nice thing about the techniques here are that they are safe, nonflammable and can be enjoyed and used in the home shop, and work.