Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Aging Wood with Baking Soda

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Did you know you could use

baking soda to change the color of wood?

Well, you can.

(scrubbing sound)

(blowing sound)

Pretty.

(jazzy music)

In woodworking, we use stain to enhance the natural

beauty of wood, and sometimes to make wood look

like something that it's not.

The stuff we typically use are coloring agents

that deposit color on top of the wood fibers,

or allow it to absorb into the wood fibers.

There's another class of stains that you might not

be familiar with, and those are chemical stains,

whereby putting this material onto the wood,

you actually get a chemical reaction that

creates the color.

That's exactly what baking soda does.

Let me show you how it works, and we'll do some test boards.

I've got a cup of warm water here, and you could use

distilled water if you want to be really picky about it.

I'm going to add some baking soda, about a tablespoon.

The quantities are probably highly variable.

You can experiment a little bit

and see what works best for you.

I've got some maple, some cherry and some mahogany.

Let's see how it affects the wood.

I'm just going to essentially paint it onto the surface

with a foam brush.

After about 10 minutes, you can see,

we don't have much color change on the maple,

decent color change on the cherry,

and quite a color change on the mahogany.

Let's apply some oil based finish, and that will

actually give us a better perspective on where

this will go, after finish is applied.

Of course, I'm applying finish on the area that has not

had the baking soda treatment too,

just so we can see what that would look like.

You can see, there's quite a variation in how much

color change took place.

The maple doesn't have very much at all,

maybe a little darker, but not much to it.

The cherry, a medium amount of change here.

We've got a nice aged cherry look,

kind of fast forwards what nature would do on its own.

The mahogany definitely got darker, right?

A little bit of a deeper red,

I even see a little bit of a purple hue in there, which I don't know

if that's a good thing, but it is what it is.

Why are these different?

Because the reaction taking place here,

is between the baking soda and molecules

in the wood known as tannins.

Some woods have more tannins than others.

Maple is very light on tannins.

Cherry is known to have a decent amount and mahogany as well.

Depending on the wood, you may get a different color reaction.

That leads into the reason why, you might be wondering,

why doesn't everybody use this if you get such great color effects from it?

Well, you don't have as much control over the color.

It really depends on your concentration of the solution,

as well as the tannin content in the wood itself.

Here's a good example. Both of these boards are cherry,

and they were both hit on this side with the same

concentration of baking soda.

Look how much darker this one is.

That is a really beautiful, handsome color.

If I were expecting this result, all across a project,

that maybe used wood from both of these boards,

I might be incredibly disappointed to find out

that things don't match up as well as they should.

You can see just with a clear coat,

the woods, in their raw state, are actually pretty close.

Control and consistency is always going to

be an issue with chemical stains.

If you buy all of your material at the same time,

and from the same lot, you do stack the cards

in your favor, that you should have at least somewhat consistent

results from one board to the next, hopefully.

With all that natural variability, why would anybody

want to use a chemical stain in the first place?

For me, there are two reasons that make it worth it.

Number one, is that the color is pretty much permanent.

A lot of dyes and pigments, over time,

will start to fade and they just won't look good

a couple of years from now.

The more light exposure that they get,

the more fading you'll start to see.

This kind of just looks the same, forever.

The other thing, has to do with the natural aging

process of certain woods.

So like this cherry piece here, just has a natural

finish on it, a little bit of Danish oil,

but check out how beautiful that color is.

I'd have trouble replicating that with dyes and stains.

It just looks gorgeous, and all this takes is time.

A chemical stain, most times, will be sort of like

hitting the fast forward button and going right from raw wood.

to something that looks somewhat in the family,

using a natural reaction in the wood.

Just a quick safety note.

While baking soda is pretty harmless,

if you get into the world of chemical stains,

you'll no doubt here about things like

potassium dichromate, sodium hydroxide, ammonia.

These are things that are a little more dangerous,

and you need to do your research and understand

what precautions you need to take to take

those chemicals safe to use.

As an example, potassium dichromate happens to be

a carcinogen. I've got enough of those in my life.

I think I'd rather use dye before I use something like that.

Educate yourself and make sure you know how

to use these chemicals safely.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go put

this baking soda back into the kitchen,

where I never took the baking soda from.

(whistling music)

The Description of Aging Wood with Baking Soda