How to Recondition Barnwood

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Old weathered barn wood has a patina that can only be created through time. Provided it is kept dry, it will harden over time so that some old wood is stronger than when it was freshly cut. Weather and sun do take a toll, and one thing that needs to be done to restore the wood for use in furniture and decorative projects is to restore the wood's natural oils.

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff brush
  • Miter saw
  • Nail bar
  • Pliers
  • Odorless mineral spirits
  • Soft cloths
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Furniture wax
  • Brush dust and cobwebs from the wood and inspect it for rot. Cut off any rotted sections with a miter saw to prevent it from spreading, attracting pests or growing mildew and mold. Use locking pliers and a nail bar to remove old nails, staples and screws to prevent damage to your power tools when cutting and boring.

  • Wipe the surface of the wood with a rag dampened in odorless mineral spirits to remove ground-in dust and oil. Keep the rag wet and allow the spirits to soak in to open the grain.

  • Sand the surface of the wood. If you want to restore the original color of the grain, be aware, this graying is part of the patina that many salvage wood users like. Use a random orbit sander and start with 100-grit sandpaper. Sand both faces and all square edges. Make a second pass with 150-grit sandpaper.

  • Apply boiled linseed oil to the wood with a paintbrush. Apply it heavily with overlapping strokes to ensure proper coverage. Wet the entire surface, then allow it to soak in for 30 minutes. Apply additional coats until the oil is no longer soaking in quickly. Allow the wood to dry.

  • Apply two coats of furniture wax to projects built with the barn wood for a shine that allows the true color and grain of the furniture to show through. Apply the wax with a rag, allow it to dry for an hour between coats, then buff the hazed surface with a soft cloth to a high shine.

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References

  • Building With Salvaged Lumber; Elizabeth Williams; Robert Leonard Williams; 1983
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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