Aging balsa wood
Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:24 AM
Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:17 AM
Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:30 AM
I pre-cut the wood with my mini chop saw, and I try to do no more than 2 in the same length; to add to the randomness/scrap wood vibe, I'll make uneven or angled end cuts as well. Notches and grooves are easily done with a file or Dremel, and I drill out my own knot holes. My weathering solution is 50% isopropyl alcohol with a splash of India ink, a recipe I picked up from my railroading buddies. I soak the wood in the solution for no more than 30 minutes, and lay it out to dry on paper towels on a plastic tray or plate that I don't care about(because it can and will stain). Let it air dry overnight, or until the pieces feel totally dry to the touch, and you're good to go. I'll randomly dry sand one or two planks to make them seem older or more worn than the others, and I add the knothole details & nails with my 005 Micron artists' pen. You can use heads from straight pins, but they're too large to represent nails in scale...they look much more like carriage bolts IMO.
A quick tip for keeping weathering solution around, as the isopropyl has a nasty habit of evaporating: An old pickle or jelly jar. I have a dollar store Tupperware-like container that I use for the soaking, but the stuff goes right back into the jar when I'm done with it.
Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:47 AM
Edited by VW Dave, 01 May 2012 - 02:48 AM.
Posted 01 May 2012 - 04:34 AM
Another way to "age" the wood: First, make your cuts and chips and splits like Dave described, to make the wood pieces look old and beat up, then simply paint the wood strips with watered-down black (or brown or gray or a mix, depending on the look you want) acrylic craft paint (the kind that come in those 2 ounce plastic squeeze bottles with the flip-top cap)... then just wipe off the excess with a paper towel. You can get different effects by varying the time you leave the paint on the wood before wiping, by mixing more (or less) water with the paint, etc. And no messing with isopropyl alcohol... all you need is good old H20. Practice on a scrap piece of the same wood you'll use for the finished product to see how different colors, different paint-water ratios and different wiping times look.
Another alternative: wood stain. Comes in water-based or solvent-based. Same technique as with the acrylic paint.
Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:10 AM
Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:26 AM
Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:52 AM
Posted 01 May 2012 - 04:24 PM
Another tip I heard about and tried for staining is a little offbeat....OK, a lot: soy sauce. Lots of us have packets in a kitchen drawer left over from countless take-out dinners, so it's essentially free. The smell of the sauce was my main concern when I tried it, but it goes away during the drying process.
On a larger piece, like a loading dock platform I did on my buddy's layout, I also like to sneak in one relatively clean board among the others.....looks like one had been replaced recently, and it adds a lot to the 'story' of the piece.
Posted 01 May 2012 - 04:43 PM
Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:13 PM