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Aged and checked finish3/22/16
I recently came across a piece of furniture where I love the finish. It looks very old and I wonder how this finish is achieved.
Very fine checks throughout the whole piece. Very soft outer layer of the surface. When cutting a piece off its shows to be new wood (maybe pine).
My first thought was it was achieved with chemicals which I dont have much experience with. After testing with Potassium, Sodium etc I understand it does not give the checking.
As mentioned earlier the surface is very soft. Almost like it has started to rot. Im not a big fan of the very soft surface but think it might be necessary to get this very fine checking throughout the whole piece.
Im think of wrapping the wood with soaked cloth. Then freeze dry or use extreme heat to make the checking but dont see this give the same type of surface.
Anyone who can lead me in the right direction?
Those are checks in the wood, not the finish. Sometimes you can't match Mother Nature.
Yes, its in the wood but its made in a factory on newly cut wood. The shop selling this had a complete dining range with this surface.
On one of the pictures I have attached here you will see it seems some substance has penetrated from the surface.
My guess would be some type of acid that it would be soaked in which would break down and soften the surface. I know in the veneer industry they soak the logs in some kind of solution to tenderize them before cutting.
Sodium hydroxide (lye). Breaks down the lignum.
You could also start with improperly dried wood. With the rustic look going today, wood that would be scraped as kiln defects could be used. That laminated piece shows deep defects, not just a surface treatment.
I hate when people don't know and are guessing. So that's what I'm going to do. It just could be some high heat. That would dry the wood and cause it to shrink forming the cracks. When your wife is not home, turn the oven on to the lowest setting and put some wood in for a while. I don't think you will need to season it.