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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