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Thread: Osage Orange/learned something new

  1. #1

    Osage Orange/learned something new

    As far as the piece, it's nothing special, I was just experimenting with rustic design with some osage orange I had lying around. The bench is 35"long, 19" high, and about a foot wide. What I want to share is how I aged the finish. I've read lately about people using lye to age cherry, so I tried some Red Devil Drain Cleaner (lye) disolved in water on a piece of scrap. It turned to the full aged color almost instantly. So I went ahead and treated the bench. It is a bit blotchy, probably should have spent more time with it, but it goes with the rustic look. The wood still has that great chatoyance. Osage Orange has always been a bit problematic for me. When it's new it has the bright yellow color but gradually darkens and finally turns a nice cinamon color, but the in between color isn't very attractive IMHO. When I have given the bowls away (haven't sold any yet), I always feel obliged to explain that the color won't last, and I think this puts some people off. Well, now I don't have to deal with that problem. I like the aged color, my brother has some deer antlers mounted on a chunk of Osage Orange that has been hanging on the wall for years, and it is that nice red color as well. I also tried it on some scrap white oak and mesquite, and they both turned a nice deep aged color. I also tired it on desert Ironwood, and it turned jet black! I plan on trying that as an ebony substitute in the future. So far I have put one coat of tung oil over the bench and it seems to be curing fine. Wish I had some more bowl blanks, I would try it on a turned bowl. This may be old news to some of you, but I was delighted with the discovery. Barry
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Osage rustic1.jpg   Osage rustic2.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    405
    Barry,

    Glad you shared the info. I'll definitely add it to my arsenal. I've never seen (or at least wasn't aware that I'd seen) any Osage Orange that has matured in color. Really a great final color. And to obtain that without the long wait is certainly a check mark in the plus column in my book. What was the ratio of lye to water? How did you apply the mixture to the wood and did you have to flood the wood? Also, did you have to neutralize the lye when the color you were after appeared?

    Thanks again,
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,830
    Great appearance on that OO. I like the rustic style of both bench and finish you achieved. Considering how long OO lasts, someone is sure to dig it up someday and declare it is a find from the 17th century.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Cedar Park, TX
    Posts
    320
    Great looking bench, and I do like that color, even the "blotching" you mentioned, does add to the interest. Yeah, more details on the mix of the lye.
    Jerry

    http://www.sawdustersplace.com

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

  5. #5
    I wasn't very scientific about the lye mixture. But I read from somewhere on the web a recomendation of 1 oz lye to a quart of water. My mix was about a tablespoon in a pint of water. I applied it with a rag. Wipe on evenly. I wouldn't recommend flooding, any where the solution stands or drips, it's darker and hard to even out. I also read that you can neutralize with a water-vinegar solution. Like everything, the best way is to test on scrap. I will do that next time to see if it helps even the finish.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Cedar Park, TX
    Posts
    320
    I went so far as to pick up some of that drain cleaner a while back to darken some cherry, but chickened out. Think I'll maybe mess around with some on some mesquite scraps I've got to see how it looks.
    Jerry

    http://www.sawdustersplace.com

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet

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