I recently built a plumbers pipe bench and decided I wanted a grayish stain, something that looked weathered. A friend told me to try a vinegar and steel wool mixture to make my own stain. After doing some research I found three different recipes so I decided to give all three a try to see which color I liked best that worked with the piece of Douglas Fir wood I had for my bench top. So I was off to experiment with this home made stain on a scrap piece of wood.
* Tea (optional)
First: I ripped up a piece of steel wool and put it in a glass jar then I filled the jar with white vinegar, I let this sit for 24 hours, shaking it occasionally.
Second: I brewed some coffee and drank a cup 🙂 put the left over brewed coffee that I didn’t drink in a container and let it cool, drinking a cup is totally optional! I boiled some water and put it in a cup with a tea bag and let that cool.
Third: I used a scrap piece of the same wood as I was using on top of my bench, I painted one stripe with coffee and a second stripe with tea.
Fourth: After the coffee and tea had dried I used my oxidize “stain” and painted three stripes, one on top of the coffee, one on top of the tea and one by itself. The reason coffee and tea are suggested when using this oxidize wood stain is because some wood species do not have enough tannins in them, the coffee and tea help with that!
Here you can see the wood changing color
My favorite color was the Tea at 5 minutes. So after sanding the wood for my bench with 320 grit, I brushed some cold tea on let that dry (took about an hour) then stained with the vinegar and steel wool oxidization mix, that took about an hour to dry then I sanded again with 220 grit until I got the desired color.
I think the color came out a little dark I may sand it a little more but here is the end result!
If you want to try this yourself you can buy everything you need in the link below!