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Question: Staining Oak a slight whitish-grey

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Forum topic by kurojung posted 07-09-2020 03:55 PM 338 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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kurojung

7 posts in 52 days


07-09-2020 03:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question staining oak soap

I’ve only ever used danish oil and shellac, because my attempts at staining in the past were a disaster!
Nevertheless I’m wondering if anyone has successfully stained oak a transparent grey-white, similar to this:

https://www.danishdesignstore.com/collections/living-room-occasional-tables/products/space-copenhagen-accent-lounge-table-coffee-tables-mater

It says it uses “sirka Grey stain” which i have not been able to find on google.
I’m not sure if soap would give a similar colour and matt look?

Thanks!

EDIT: So as some people have pointed out, I misunderstood what Sirka Grey is- I was actually looking at the photo of the lightly white/grey wash of the table (not the darker one, which I understand now is Sirka Grey!)


14 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3190 posts in 2608 days


#1 posted 07-09-2020 04:08 PM

If you use white oak it’s very simple look up white washing finishing. It’s not that difficult. If you really want the look of the link you provided then I suggest you but the piece.
One more tip from me to you don’t even think about using red oak to save money. :)
Good Luck

-- Aj

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6326 posts in 3303 days


#2 posted 07-09-2020 04:25 PM

Check the Min Wax “Pickled oak” stain at the box store…it may be what you want. I haven’t looked for this in years, it’s only a guess they still make it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2576 posts in 4253 days


#3 posted 07-09-2020 06:09 PM

So term “sirka” applies to an acid based product (think vinegar) that reacts with the tannin and greys the wood. Usually used with steel wood. Some process using an acid is probably used on the table you cited. Search on the internet for ”Can you stain wood with vinegar?” to get some info on how to do that.

There are numerous grey stains on the market but you may have to go with what is available to you. In any case as is regularlarly advised on this site…Test Test Test Test…before you apply it to your project…That includes testing the top coat on over the stain as that can some times change the coloring.

I think Aj2’s comment about red oak is referring to the fact that red oak difficulty is that it has a lot of tannin and also has an open grain that can make it hard to control the process and affect. Again experiment and test.

Good luck.

-- Les B, Oregon

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

2157 posts in 2993 days


#4 posted 07-09-2020 06:35 PM

Soap won’t work for this look, no. I agree with Les that you should try to use a vinegar stain, and you can control the amount of color by diluting the vinegar solution. I’ve never done it, but you can also separately apply a black tea solution to enhance the tannins, which would lead to a stronger reaction with the vinegar solution and therefore a darker finish.

I can’t really tell from the pictures if they also grain fill with a lighter colored filler, but that’s an option too.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

682 posts in 1429 days


#5 posted 07-09-2020 06:46 PM

Be sure to test if you go with a vinegar/iron solution. I’ve used it to get nearly black on white oak.

I don’t recall ever trying straight vinegar. Could be interesting.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1515 posts in 2762 days


#6 posted 07-09-2020 06:53 PM

Which color from the link you provided are you trying to achieve? Your text mentions “transparent grey-white”. I believe that the “Sirka Grey” from the ad refers to the very dark piece. If you are looking for the very light color, then do not go near the vinegar and steel wool. There was a recent thread from someone who had grey blotches on a piece after stripping it. In a response in that thread I showed what plain water and steel wool could to in a matter of minutes (albeit to cherry). The vinegar / steel wool solution is much stronger and has the potential to turn your oak very dark.

Thread is here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/310076

If you are going for the lighter color then Fred nailed it. Pickled Oak is what you want to reasarch.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2275 posts in 715 days


#7 posted 07-09-2020 07:12 PM

Yeah i’m kind of confused if you want the dark sirka finish, which is basically like “ebonizing” white oak, or the lighter tone. I have used minwax “weathered” finish to get a lighter grey. But I think for that look you may be better off with liming, even something like Liberon liming wax.

View kurojung's profile

kurojung

7 posts in 52 days


#8 posted 07-10-2020 09:58 AM



If you use white oak it’s very simple look up white washing finishing. It’s not that difficult. If you really want the look of the link you provided then I suggest you but the piece.
One more tip from me to you don’t even think about using red oak to save money. :)
Good Luck

- Aj2

thanks i didn’t know it was called white washing- definitely got it mixed up with sirka grey.
i rarely see red oak where I am, but I’ll heed your advice!

View kurojung's profile

kurojung

7 posts in 52 days


#9 posted 07-10-2020 09:59 AM

hey thanks, I’ll check out if they have it where I am :-)


Check the Min Wax “Pickled oak” stain at the box store…it may be what you want. I haven t looked for this in years, it s only a guess they still make it.

- Fred Hargis


View kurojung's profile

kurojung

7 posts in 52 days


#10 posted 07-10-2020 10:02 AM

Fascinating, I’m learning so much here. (I realise i mixed up. whitewashing and sirka grey now, but it’s good to know this is a technique used to darken the wood.

Will defintely do a few tests for sure! Thanks


So term “sirka” applies to an acid based product (think vinegar) that reacts with the tannin and greys the wood. Usually used with steel wood. Some process using an acid is probably used on the table you cited. Search on the internet for ”Can you stain wood with vinegar?” to get some info on how to do that. There are numerous grey stains on the market but you may have to go with what is available to you. In any case as is regularlarly advised on this site…Test Test Test Test…before you apply it to your project…That includes testing the top coat on over the stain as that can some times change the coloring.

I think Aj2 s comment about red oak is referring to the fact that red oak difficulty is that it has a lot of tannin and also has an open grain that can make it hard to control the process and affect. Again experiment and test.

Good luck.

- LesB


View kurojung's profile

kurojung

7 posts in 52 days


#11 posted 07-10-2020 10:05 AM

Hey thanks, I had actually mixed up the sirka grey thinking it was the lighter washed out finish (the second image).
But still good to know about this vinegar technique, I might try it for a different piece. When you say filling the grain with a lighter colour you mean using the stuff from the tube? I’ve only ever used the actual sawdust from the original wood so just wanted to check. thanks!


Soap won t work for this look, no. I agree with Les that you should try to use a vinegar stain, and you can control the amount of color by diluting the vinegar solution. I ve never done it, but you can also separately apply a black tea solution to enhance the tannins, which would lead to a stronger reaction with the vinegar solution and therefore a darker finish.

I can t really tell from the pictures if they also grain fill with a lighter colored filler, but that s an option too.

- shampeon


View kurojung's profile

kurojung

7 posts in 52 days


#12 posted 07-10-2020 10:07 AM

Yes indeed I got the two mixed up! I was looking at the lighter finish.
Anyhow, I’m quite intersted to learn about the darker technique now, so will check out the thread. :-) all the best


Which color from the link you provided are you trying to achieve? Your text mentions “transparent grey-white”. I believe that the “Sirka Grey” from the ad refers to the very dark piece. If you are looking for the very light color, then do not go near the vinegar and steel wool. There was a recent thread from someone who had grey blotches on a piece after stripping it. In a response in that thread I showed what plain water and steel wool could to in a matter of minutes (albeit to cherry). The vinegar / steel wool solution is much stronger and has the potential to turn your oak very dark.

Thread is here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/310076

If you are going for the lighter color then Fred nailed it. Pickled Oak is what you want to reasarch.

- Kazooman


View kurojung's profile

kurojung

7 posts in 52 days


#13 posted 07-10-2020 10:34 AM

Yea, i got confused! was indeed looking at the lighter finish. Liming looks interesting, going to check it out.

Thanks everyone for being so helpful.


Yeah i’m kind of confused if you want the dark sirka finish, which is basically like “ebonizing” white oak, or the lighter tone. I have used minwax “weathered” finish to get a lighter grey. But I think for that look you may be better off with liming, even something like Liberon liming wax.

- SMP


View nickbatz's profile

nickbatz

532 posts in 890 days


#14 posted 07-10-2020 05:50 PM

This may be what you’re after. I’m using it on one of the custom composer’s desks I make, and it works very well on oak:

https://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/varathane/weathered-wood-accelerator/

I believe it actually oxidizes the wood.

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