I needed a way to weather wood to match my weathered styrene. I have been a user of styrene since the Alan Armitage articles in the late 1950's. . I developed this idea with styrene in the 1970's. I was trying to build early Pennsylvania logging structures. Unfortunately I have no examples of my earlier work.
Now I am mixing styrene and wood and this makes a match. This technique eliminates the color in the wood while retaining the wood's grain patterns. Styrene can be roughed and scratched to duplicate those grain patterns.
(Click Images to Enlarge)
I am trying to make model wood look like these examples.
Modeling in larger scales requires the of use wood more. It is more readily available in the larger sizes I need than styrene. I cut it on a Dremel saw and full-sized table saw. My initial ventures into wood involved staining the wood with an India Ink/alcohol solution. It did not look like weathered and bleached wood. I tried a wash of acrylic and restaining the wood with the I/A solution. It just looked grey. It did not have the underlying white of weathered wood.
I wanted a method that allowed all the materials to have the same appearance. Mixing different normally stained woods causes a mixed appearance. My method uses the grain and texture but controls the color of the wood. The white paint is basically being stained.
Weathering Wood Using I/A and White Acrylic
Paint the wood with a thinned mixture of white acrylic. It should be about the consistancy of heavy cream. The paint should make the wood white but not fill in the grain. It works with tube and craft paints. Let the paint thoroughly dry. If it is not dry the paint will leach into the stain and it will be essentially grey paint.
Mix waterproof India Ink with Isopropyl Rubbing alcohol until it produces this stain on a paper towel. Apply the stain until the wood is the right color
Weathering Wood After Assembly
I was building this bridge for my layout and was using wood originally stained with an I/A wash.
I applied a coat of Kilz2 Acrylic primer to the finished bridge. The old finish was completely covered.
I stained the bridge with a wash of Black Rit Liquid Dye straight from the bottle. Put a small amount of the dye on the surface and add water to make a wash. Spread the dye around to make a mottled effect. Add more water to lighten and more dye to darken. The finish will dry lighter. The Kilz primer works better with this than an India Ink/alcohol stain.
My other stage coach bridge done the same way.
There is also Zap Latex primer. It is cheaper and has a smoother, more plastic finish. It stains best with an India Ink/Alcohol mixture.
This is pine from a 1x4. I cut my boards with a table saw. Boards 1,2 and 5 have the rough saw surface. Boards 3 and 4 have the original planed surface.
Zap Latex Primer and Kilz2 Latex Primer
Kilz2 Latex has a rougher, flatter finish and takes the Rit Liquid dye and Dye-na-flow better.
Originally I used Rit dyes but found Dye-na-flow fabric paint worked better. Dye-na-flow is "black". That sounds strange but most "blacks" are blue and purple.
In the smaller scales I find that styrene represents wood better than wood. The "grain" is more controllable and it has no color. More effects can be applied because of the blank palette of styrene.
Above is styrene as weathered wood. At left is a HO Atlas Trackside Shanty. The styrene has been weathered to represent aging wood.
Styrene makes excellent rough weathered wood.
Styrene Combined with Wood
Our styrene and wood combo, the outside panels are sheet styrene and the timbers are wood. Painted with flat Kilz2 primer and stained with Dye-na-flow fabric paint.
Staining white primer will also work on plaster castings. A modified HO Woodland Scenics timber portal.
Flatcar Decks on Plastic Cars
A Bachmann On30 plastic flatcar painted with flat white acrylic craft paint and stained with black Dye-na-flow fabric paint.
Scribed basswood primed white and mottled with Black Rit Dye. Note the grain problem in scribed wood sheeting.
Darryl Huffman's use of our Technique
Darryl Huffman displayed a model using the Kilz and rit dye on the Yahoo weathering forum:
À : firstname.lastname@example.org
Objet : [weathering] New picture in FILES : Re: Harold's Rit Dye staining
I have been playing with Harold's Rit Dye method of getting the look of old
silver grey wood. My cabin using this method is about half way completed so
I decided to upload a picture of it into the FILES section.
12020 Old Seward Highway
Anchorage, Alaska 99515
Learning about DCC? New DVD now available:
Below is his cabin (Click Images to Enlarge)
The time honored India Ink/Alcohol solution above and the staining of white primer on the right. The tunnel portal is wood timbers and styrene sheet primered with Kilz2 acrylic primer and stained with Dye-na-flow fabric paint.
Styrene and wood weathered with India Ink/Alcohol over white acrylic paint. The styrene was textured to match the swizzle sticks using coarse sandpaper.
An HO flatcar deck weathered with the same technique.
Swizzle sticks and dowels, all match when primed white gesso and stained with Dyn-a-flow after assembly.