Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Big Adventure in Wood Oxidation!

We have been SUPER busy lately!  Getting the kids back in school, building and filling our orders, and just trying to catch our breath a little before this summer is over.  Sad to see it go, but definitely looking forward to some cooler temperatures here on the Gulf Coast!!  We just finished up on what is probably one of my FAVORITE pieces EVER....I say that ALL the time, though, but this time I mean it!! LOL

People often ask me what I do in our business.....I think they assume that I only do the "computer" stuff, like keep up the Facebook, take and process the orders, write the blog posts.  BUT....that is VERY far from the truth!! It takes BOTH of us to keep up with this!!! 

I can't tell you the last time I had on a pair of heels or full-blown makeup.  I know some of you are SHOCKED at the thought, but I am telling you I thought I would miss it terribly, but truth is I HAVEN'T not one teeny, tiny bit!!

Believe it or not, Miss Priss Pot uses the power tools, sands, stains, and paints her little heart out right beside Kenny every day that goes by.  This is a team effort, and we are partners 100% in all we do!!  I no longer "glisten" as we say in the south, I SWEAT, and I sweat BUCKETS!!!!  And, I can promise you I do not need a gym membership because we are steadily lifting furniture, moving boards, walking, and working HARD daily.  My gym membership money goes to LOWE'S!!! :)

I absolutely love and adore this piece we just finished.  I have been dying to try the wood oxidation process on something, and this little beauty was my perfect opportunity!!!!  Let me tell you, I was SCARED to death at first, and even during the process, but it all worked out in the end!  Take a look at how stunning this piece is!!

LOVE it!!!!  The x pieces we build are my absolute FAVES, I do believe.  I love them the most simply because they will go with any style décor.  Lord knows how much I change my mind on what style I like at any given moment, so these pieces can easily change with my mood!

I absolutely LOVE weathered wood. To me, weathered wood has a patina that NOTHING can match. is HARD sometimes to find weathered wood, especially in the size you need at the time. I'm just impatient, and what I want, I want NOW. So, thank goodness there's a way to "quickly" oxidize wood using steel wool and vinegar... AND no splinters are involved!!!!
This process is so simple, and I encourage any of you who have been wanting to give it a whirl to do so!  I will tell you this up front, however, it does require PATIENCE, so be prepared!!

To begin with, you just need two ingredients and a jar!  Sooooo simple.  I had the vinegar left over from Easter, and I got the steel wool at Lowe's over in the paint department. LOVE Lowe's because they are always so helpful!  They even asked me was I doing wood oxidation!  You have to love a place that is "up" on all the latest techniques and is prepared to help!!

I then got out a pickle jar and put one hunk of steel wool (which I tore up into good size chunks first to make it oxidize faster), dropped it into the glass jar and then filled the jar with vinegar about 3/4 full. I let the solution steep for a few days, shaking the jar occasionally.  Be sure to tell everyone in your family what it is because the mixture eventually begin to look a LOT like a batch of sun tea!!!  I think most people wouldn't drink it once they opened the jar, but you never know!

 As the steel wool dissolves, the solution will occasionally bubble when you shake the jar.  The solution will look "rusty" after a few days like mine.  This batch is a bit darker because I had been "cooking it up" for a little while.....

Captain Kenny worked his magic on the boards, and he brought them to me one by one.  Why do we do this???  Because we are DETAIL people, and when we build our pieces, we build them just like we want them in our home.  This means we finish every side, every nook, and every cranny to create a handcrafted piece that will be a legacy piece. 

While he was making the cuts and routing/sanding the boards, I brewed a STRONG batch of black tea (about six or seven bags and a cup or so of water) and let it cool.  Believe it or not, I do A LOT of research on this business adventure of ours, and I have learned enough about wood from so many wonderful bloggers out there to where I think I could probably add forestry or something like it to my resume LOL!!  From what I have learned, each type of wood has a different level of "tannin" in it, and that level of tannin reacts with stains, oxidation processes, etc. to give each type of wood a different patina. So......some woods require a little extra tannin to get the desired shade, and this can only be provided with a pre-wash mix of black tea.
That's my black tea there in the Folgers can!  I gave each and every board a good wash with the strong black tea and let it dry. After that, I went to work with the vinegar and steel wool concoction, just painting each and every part of the boards with the mixture.  After about five minutes, the wood looked like this:

I knew then I was going to LOVE this piece and this process!!!!  After the boards dried, Captain Kenny worked a little more magic and created this fabulous x console.  I then sanded it down completely one final time to create a more even finish.  This was my first time doing wood oxidation, and I did have drips.  I will admit, I am NOT perfect, but we want our pieces to be perfect, even if we aren't.  Soooo...we both decided that it needed a little sanding, and that fixed everything PERFECTLY and even gave the piece a better finish than what we originally expected!
This is probably my favorite piece we have ever created!  Love, love, love, love wood oxidation and the look it gives.  This piece has the weathered look of driftwood without the mess, splinters, or rough texture.  This process truly creates a high-end Pottery Barn look that I love but can't afford!  It's worth the time and the effort, ya'll, so if you like this look, give it a try!  I am sure glad I did!!!

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