How to Age Wood

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How to Age Wood

Brand new wooden furniture or home fixtures look great, but some people prefer that old and aged wood looks better and more unique. You have two options: you can wait and let the wood age naturally for several years or you can try these tips and techniques.

What You’ll Need:

  • Wood
  • Shoe polish and brush
  • Lye-based oven cleaner
  • Protective mask
  • White vinegar
  • Paintbrush
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Chain
  • Wire brush
  • Blowtorch
  • Petroleum jelly, paste wax or candle wax
  • Latex paint
  • Mineral spirits
  • Blowtorch

Use Shoe Polish

Shoe polish’s dark tint can add a slightly-aged look to your wood. This method works well for relatively small wood projects, such as birdhouses or wooden frames. Coat the entire wood with the brown polish then use a brush to wipe it back and forth the grain, so the tint will settle in the wood. You can repeat this a few times to achieve the desired aged color.

Use Oven Cleaner

If you want to end up with an old and grayish colored wood, you can use an oven cleaner that’s lye-based. Take the wood outside (for better ventilation), then spray it all over with the oven cleaner. Wear a protective mask as you do this. Afterwards, remove the excess cleaner, then coat the wood with white vinegar with a paintbrush. This helps neutralize the oven cleaner.

Work On The Wear And Tear Areas

Corners, seat edges and will often show signs of distress from too much use. Here’s a simple way to give them this look.

  1. Get a paper towel, and use it to rub petroleum jelly, paste wax or candle wax into the areas.
  2. Use latex paint color of your choice to paint the whole wood surface. When it dries, wipe the areas you waxed in a side-to-side motion. The wood grains underneath will show up, giving the piece an aged look.
  3. Finish the project with a coat of mineral spirits.

Put In Some Dents And Blemishes

Old wood will often have scratches and nicks here and there, because it’s been through a lot. To give your wood that weathered and beaten appearance, beat it with a hammer, strong enough to cause dents, but not deform the piece. Rub with fine-grit sandpaper, then hit with a chain. Finally, wipe it with a large wire brush.

Burn The Wood

Many people like their wood to have a darkened and worn look. You can use a blowtorch to achieve this. Just make sure you don’t accidentally set the whole thing on fire.

Why wait for wood to age when you can give it the weathered appearance you’re looking for? Just try these tips and your wood will certainly look fantastic.



  1. gg said,

    on April 28th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Great info, thank you