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blacken aluminum and weathering wood

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Posted · Report post

Hey guys,

First, I need solutions to these problems that don't involve a specialty product made for the job. My modeling budget is about as close to zero as it can get, so I need solutions that come from typical household items, if at all possible. Really cheap and available about anywhere may also work in a pinch.

Problem 1 - I need a way to weather wood. I'd prefer that the effect was more subtle than extreme.

Problem 2 - I'm looking for a way to blacken aluminum without having to paint it or anodize it...some type of chemical reaction that darkens it rather than lightens.

Thanks in advance :)

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Posted · Report post

2) To the best of my knowledge, there is simply no easy chemical interaction that will blacken aluminum. Immersion in lye or oven cleaner (sodium hydroxide) will sometimes leave a blackish smut on aluminum, but it's not even or attractive. It can also produce a hazardous gas. There are several products like

Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black

used by gunsmiths that will do the trick.

1) Many many years ago I built model railroads on occasion, and I found that depending on the type of wood, model paints thinned and applied as washes by brush, and even watercolors, could produce very realistic weathering of wooden structures. Experiment.

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Posted · Report post

I achieved some fairly realistic weathering of wood by taking waterbased black paint and diluting with 91% alcohol and the soaking the pieces in it. It gives a good gray tone like wood left unprotected outside.

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Posted · Report post

No ideas on the blackened aluminum, but I can help on the wood weathering.

A model RR scenery guru I know clued me in to a 'stupid easy' method: waterbased India ink thinned with isopropyl alcohol. A brief soak in the solution, followed by drying on paper towels overnight(or half the day if it's sunny) yields a nice gray 'neglected' finish:

DSCN1192_edited-vi.jpg

bedfloor-vi.jpg

I added some knots and nails with a Pigma 005 artists' pen, and drilled out a few bigger knotholes. I use a rectangular Tupperware container for the soaking, and an old pickle jar to store it for reuse(and prevent loss by evaporation).

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Posted · Report post

Thanks, guys. These are all great looking examples (Chuck Doan...Diorama God...good grief lol).

I'm going to try out the alky/india ink deal tonight. I'm really after a more subtle effect on this particular piece, so hopefully I can find a sweet spot with duration, etc.

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Posted · Report post

I've never tried any homemade solutions for making wood look aged... I have used stuff called Weatherall that I picked up at a hobby shop which gives wood an aged look... just dip it in the bottle and it works great. Not expensive stuff either.

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