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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all, this is my first post, and I thank you for the help ahead of time. I am in need of some advice concerning the finishing of the engineered beams that I am installing in the ceiling of my living room. They are quite substantial in size 4"x9"x20' and there are three of them. The look I am going for is a "driftwood" type look with accentuated grains. I have tried some samples on spare dimensional lumber, with no success. I am interested in how to darken the grain, and providing the overall "silverish" look similar to what is below. I have very little experience with wood finishes, so I very much appreciate the help. Thank you

 

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What you have shown in the picture looks like weathered wood that has been bleached to me. I believe if I were trying to match that with new wood I would first stain the wood with an ebony dye stain. Then sandblast the wood and then bleach it. It just may take some tinkering which should be done on scrap wood first. One thing for sure, you should figure out the finish before installing the beam in case some of the work has to be done outdoors.
 

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What you have shown in the picture looks like weathered wood that has been bleached to me. I believe if I were trying to match that with new wood I would first stain the wood with an ebony dye stain. Then sandblast the wood and then bleach it. It just may take some tinkering which should be done on scrap wood first. One thing for sure, you should figure out the finish before installing the beam in case some of the work has to be done outdoors.
So, you make this suggestion without knowing what the beams are made of, or even if the exterior surfaces are woodgrained?






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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am quite sorry for not specifying the type of beams. They are structural engineered laminated beams made by Rosboro. They are essentially dimensional lumber glued together under pressure. They are sanded, but they are not smooth, as seen below....



I have tried a Minwax classic grey stain, whitewashed, combination of both, and I am currently trying to work with the ebony stain. The ebony stain really darken up the grain, leaves the rest look like raw lumber. Thanks again for the help guys, the finish on these beams are killing me, and preventing me from putting them up.
 

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wild grains

Because of the varying grains and the soft and hardness within you will have a difficult time getting an even stain. If that's not an issue, then a wiping stain, a thinned solution of almost black paint wiped on and off within a short time should give you what you are looking for. For a more grey weathered look add some white or start with a dark grey. The only way to know is to make some test samples, all other "advice" is speculation. You are the one on site with the ability to say yea or nea. Sometimes a white undercoat with a dark wiped over top will create a faux weathered look. This looks pretty close: http://craftcrazymom.com/faux-weathered-wood/
 

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The reason I suggested the black dye is the picture in post 1 is very dark black in the soft part of the grain. The dye alone isn't enough. It then needs something to rub some of the wood off. It could be sandblasted or use a flex sander to give it a worn look. Then lastly much of the wood is snow white which I think could be achieved with bleach. The beam is yellow pine. If your lumber company carries it you might get some to practice on. It might be necessary to use pressure treated to get yellow pine. I think with my local lumber company the only yellow pine they have is in the treated and they don't usually sell enough of it that it is dripping wet. For testing purposes Douglas Fir may give you some clues but it will take the back color much more than yellow pine.
 

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I would use a process similar to pickling. For that look with that wood, I would block sand with the grain with 80x. That will create a grain differential. I would use a black oil base paint and reduce about 50%-60% with mineral spirits, and wipe with the grain. When that's dry, Use a rag with a light gray or an off white oil base paint thinned the same amount and highlight the grain.




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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As someone mentioned earlier, I am having a problem getting the stain to penetrate all of the wood. It seems that I brush the stain on and when I wipe off the excess, it only stays on some of the grain, leaving areas of raw pine. I did do a practice section with ebony stain, and certainly accentuated the grain, however I am still left with areas where the stain does not penetrate. I think my next step should be mixing up a white wash to put over the ebony stain. I am using oil base stain, what type of paint do I use to mix up a white/grey wash?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you, I think this is the route I should take. Can I use the ebony oil stain rather than the reduced black paint?




I would use a process similar to pickling. For that look with that wood, I would block sand with the grain with 80x. That will create a grain differential. I would use a black oil base paint and reduce about 50%-60% with mineral spirits, and wipe with the grain. When that's dry, Use a rag with a light gray or an off white oil base paint thinned the same amount and highlight the grain.




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Thank you, I think this is the route I should take. Can I use the ebony oil stain rather than the reduced black paint?
When you've sanded with the 80x, the wood becomes very porous. You could try a sample area with the ebony. It may appear too transparent. If you don't have enough for making samples, pick up a board of SPF (either Spruce, Pine, or Fir).






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As someone mentioned earlier, I am having a problem getting the stain to penetrate all of the wood. It seems that I brush the stain on and when I wipe off the excess, it only stays on some of the grain, leaving areas of raw pine. I did do a practice section with ebony stain, and certainly accentuated the grain, however I am still left with areas where the stain does not penetrate. I think my next step should be mixing up a white wash to put over the ebony stain. I am using oil base stain, what type of paint do I use to mix up a white/grey wash?
Yellow pine resist being stained because of the sap content. This is why I recommended using a dye. It is more similar to ink and will more readily stain the wood than an oil stain. Mohawk finishing products sells the dye in powder form which can be mixed with alcohol or Transtint dye is available in many places.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So, I applied some ebony oil based stain to a spare 2x4, and it certainly brought out the grains, however it did not penetrate all the grains. My hopes were that a white wash would leave the ebony grains accentuated and whiten the grains that the ebony stain did not penetrate. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful and the application of the white was turned the whole piece a darkish grey color, and drown out the grains. What do you guys think my next course of action should be? Someone adviced me to think about bleaching the wood, and suggestions?
 

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If you are unable to get a dye you might try using a black universal tinting color in water, mixed pretty concentrated to get the black. The tint is available at many Sherwin Williams in bottles called Cal-Tint. If they don't have the bottles ask them if they would put some out of their machines in a can for you. It's the pigment they use to make paint. When it has dried and set then try using Clorox bleach on it. Since you have more than one beam I would keep tract how long the bleach set so you would have a better chance to get all the beams the same color.
 
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