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Thread: Create Barnboard finish?

  1. #1
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    Default Create Barnboard finish?

    I've been asked to build a barn(?) structure for the nativity scene at church (open at the front like most manger scenes). This will be about 40" wide, 15" deep, and 15" high. This is to be built to look like barnboard (obviously), but I'm not aware of anyplace around Oakville to get actual barnboard.

    I can either buy rough pine or HD sells some knotty, rough pine if 12" widths.

    I searched back through the archives and found recommendations of soaking nails in vinegar to make a stain. Has anyone tried the Minwax greyish coloured stains on rough lumber to get a barnboard effect? If so, what did you use?

    Thanks. ...Wayne

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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Wayne, the cheapest/easiest/most authentic looking/foolproof method is to buy a jug of pickling vinegar from the grocery store, pour a liter into a mason jar and drop in a batt of 0000 steel wool and leave it for a day or two. Strain the (still clear) liquid through a coffee filter and brush onto the pine. Within minutes the wood will react with the mixture and come out that fantastic grey. Best of all, because you are not dealing with a stain, but an actual chemical reaction in the wood, it is waaaaay easier to apply. No worries about even penetration or brush marks like with a stain (and clean up is way easier as well).

    Ryan
    Last edited by Ryan Shervill; 11-24-2009 at 09:25 PM.
    I dream of a better world, one where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Ive tried to make "old "stain before . I used tremclad black paint and wiped it on as dry as possible and then with a brown stain and black paint mix reapplied. I dont remember which minwax it was maybe something like provincial( I use that alot). I have also used the 12' rough pine from hd if you choose the pieces well you can get some very interesting grain looks, but I dont think your interested in the grain look. I used the black paint under red chestnut on spruce to make a black cherry look. I wasnt afraid to play around. I think the nails in viniger might take too long to produce. Maybe use steel wool instead if thats your route. Start making some now and try it on a piece,Ive never done it before but ive heard of it.
    Ild be interested to get your plans or design drawing. Id like to make one for my folks.

    hope I helped
    Mike
    in Windsor

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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    That sound like what I heard before Ryan. how dark will the viniger get before you appl it. If its not dark is it just the acid doing the staining or does the steel actually contribute. Ive also heard of using amonia somehow. I think I read it in an old finishing book, but the amonia was fumed on the wood instead. does the vinegar need to be rinsed after staining the wood?

    Mike

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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    The vinegar will remain clear...it's the reaction of the suspended iron (from the steel wool) in the solution that does the colouring.....it's kind of neat actually. You brush on the clear liquid and wait a few minutes, then voila! No need to rinse either

    The amonia process I think you are referring to is called "fuming" and was perfected by Stickley. Fuming gives white oak that beautiful toasted red-brown colour mission furniture is famous for, and is actually a slightly different chemical reaction where the tannin in the wood reacts with the amonia fumes. I've done some fuming with commercial ammonia, but it is dangerous, smelly, dangerous, expensive , dangerous, and extremely time consuming.....this vinegar/steel wool thing is rediculously easy though
    I dream of a better world, one where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Ryan -- thanks. That sounds easy. I'll give it a try.

    Mike -- I was given a snapshot of an existing scene to go by. I'll see if they can send me the digital pictures, and I'll post. It's fairly straightforward to build and very attractive.

    ...Wayne

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Wayne!

    The vinegar/iron solution relies on tannins in the wood to get the intensity of colour. As pine doesn't contain much tannin, you should get a light silvery grey colour. This method is one of many to ebonise wood, and while the reaction is pretty good on oak, I have heard of people soaking maple in cold tea to get the tannin content up, and hence the intensity of dark colouration.
    If for some reason it doesn't work, then a highly diluted black dye (or India ink) will give you the desired effect. I'd stay away from pigmented stains as they will give uneven colour coverage on rough wood.

    paul

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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    If you would like some barnboard, I've got some in my garage. Its wood from a barn built in 1864. I live in Milton.

    Send me an e-mail, jasonstahl99@hotmail.com and I'll give you some more details. Sounds like a Charitable build, so I'll provide what I can for free.

    Jay

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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Shervill View Post
    The vinegar will remain clear...it's the reaction of the suspended iron (from the steel wool) in the solution that does the colouring.....it's kind of neat actually. You brush on the clear liquid and wait a few minutes, then voila! No need to rinse either

    The amonia process I think you are referring to is called "fuming" and was perfected by Stickley. Fuming gives white oak that beautiful toasted red-brown colour mission furniture is famous for, and is actually a slightly different chemical reaction where the tannin in the wood reacts with the amonia fumes. I've done some fuming with commercial ammonia, but it is dangerous, smelly, dangerous, expensive , dangerous, and extremely time consuming.....this vinegar/steel wool thing is rediculously easy though
    Ryan,

    This idea certainly sounds neat and Iím going to give it a try. My wife would like a few bird house built for around the yard but she wants them to look old / natural worn looking, if your portion works that should fit the bill.

    What sort of wood would you recommend for a standard outside bird house that will react to the vinegar potion and turn them old looking?

    Thank You

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    I'd use rough sawn pine or hemlock....they both adopt the grey tone, and are inexpensive

    Ryan
    I dream of a better world, one where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Great - Thank You for the tip

    Jamie

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    just what you thought :^')

    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamieh View Post
    Great - Thank You for the tip

    Jamie
    I've never tried this on softwoods, but used the iron oxide (iron in acid) treatment on Red and White Oak, Black Cherry and Black Walnut, also used the Ammonia, though I had only the household Ammonia, the Amonia gave me a more brown color and the hassle with a airproof tent and propping the pieces up so the gas could get to all sides made that not my favorite way of doing it.
    With the steelwool in the vinegar, wash the steelwool first as most are oiled to prevent rusting, when you place the steelwool in the acid (vinegar) if you look closely, you will see small bubbles apering as the iron breaks down and is suspended in the acid, takes overnight at normal temps to get the acid saturated.
    The penetration is pretty shallow on sidegrain, deeper on endgrain, so you shouldn't have to do much sanding after the cure or you cut right through the thin layer of dark wood.
    If you can get to soak the wood longer your penetration get deeper, but not by much.
    Here's a picture of treated Red Oak

    Oh and yes it depends entirely on the amount of tanning in the wood to how dark you can make it, you can buy dry tanning powder used in tanning leather to make a solution to add extra tanning or tanning to woods that don't have any tanning naturally, even strong thee can be used to add some tanning.
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    Last edited by Leo Van Der Loo; 11-28-2009 at 02:32 AM.

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

  13. #13

    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    you can duplicate the rough sawn texture by simply dragging boards backwards over a bandsaw. Gives it the pitsawn look, looks like you got lots of suggestions for colours.

    Eric in Rider Nation (generally known as Calgary)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dese View Post
    If you would like some barnboard, I've got some in my garage. Its wood from a barn built in 1864. I live in Milton.

    Send me an e-mail, jasonstahl99@hotmail.com and I'll give you some more details. Sounds like a Charitable build, so I'll provide what I can for free.

    Jay
    Jay:

    Thanks for the offer. I'm having problems getting at this project (2 others ahead of it), so there's a good chance they won't get it until next Christmas. I'm going to try the vinegar/steel wool potion, and if it works, I think I have enough wood around to do the project when the time comes.

    ...Wayne

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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_custom View Post
    Ild be interested to get your plans or design drawing. Id like to make one for my folks. Mike in Windsor
    Mike:

    I haven't got to the point of make up any plans, but here's a picture of what I plan on building. Mine will have about a 4' base, and the barn will be about 28" wide, about 13" deep roof, 10" deep walls, and tall enough for 10" people.

    ...Wayne
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Create Barnboard finish?

    Here's one I built several years ago, I didn't bother with the staining. Just rough cut some oak into strips and "broke" them to rough length for the aged effect.
    I also hot melt glued stones on the bottom for a foundation.
    Approx. the size you're planning.
    Oh ya...The 3/4" X 3/4" beams are all M&T.
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    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
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