How to Weather a Piece of Cedar Wood

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Cedar is a wonderful wood prized for its durability in exterior applications. When used outdoors it weathers to a gray to silver tone and has a rough texture. You can achieve this look simply by letting the elements do their job, but if you want to weather cedar faster, here's a trick I learned while in school studying furniture making.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jar with lid
  • Steel wool pad
  • White vinegar
  • Stir stick
  • Wire brush
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Foam brush
  • Cotton rag
  • Dust broom or shop vacuum

Making the Solution

  • Pour enough white vinegar in to the glass jar to fill it halfway.

  • Pull the steel wool apart in to small pieces and drop them into the vinegar.

  • Stir the solution with the stir stick, then put the lid on the jar loosely and let it sit overnight.

Preparing the Cedar

  • Scrub the cedar with the wire brush vigorously and on all sides. This removes the softer wood to achieve the weathered texture.

  • Sand the edges of the cedar lightly with the 220-grit sandpaper. Sand just enough to gently round over each edge.

  • Remove all the dust from the board's surfaces using a vacuum or dust broom.

Applying the Finish

  • Dip the foam brush in to the vinegar and steel wool solution, making sure to let it soak into the foam brush.

  • Brush the solution on to the cedar in long, even strokes. Dip the foam brush back in to the solution often.

  • Wipe of the excess solution with the cotton rag. If the color isn't even, apply more solution.

  • Lay the cedar out to dry for at least one hour before using it in your project.

Tips & Warnings

  • To achieve a darker tone, apply several coats of the solution, allowing for an hour of drying time between each coat.

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