Age new wood by soaking a piece of steel wool in vinegar overnight and creating an aging solution. Test the solution and adjust the color by adding water, if necessary. The aging effect should begin as soon as the vinegar dries, but the color varies depending on the type of wood.
Crafters working with miniatures developed this technique, but it works well on many types of wood crafts or building projects. By increasing the amounts of vinegar and steel wool, you can create enough material to cover an entire wood deck. The solution also uses nontoxic household products that are readily available.
Because the vinegar is acidic, avoid using it on high-quality furniture or pieces of a sealed display case without coating the wood with a matte acrylic varnish. Under sealed conditions, the acidity causes discoloration of fabrics and similar materials. In open display cases, it does not cause the same problems. The solution is also too acidic for use on heirloom items. The colored vinegar does not penetrate glue, so age the pieces of a project before assembling it.
For projects where vinegar aging is not appropriate, use techniques that involve rubbing a patina into paint or using colored furniture polish. Other aging options include using chalk paints or brown shoe polish to create an aged appearance.