I read so much about vinegar and steel wool, and finally caved in and decided to see what all the hubub was about. I used a mason jar with one wad of steel wool and filled it with white vinegar (5% acetic acid).
I put the mason jar cover on and left it in the sink. Thank goodness I did. The next morning I found the jar had leaked. And by leaked, I mean there is a chemical reaction that takes place which pressurizes the jar and results in the liquid seeping out. So there were rust stains in the sink, thankfully not permanent and easily washed off.
I took off the lid for a look. There was a layer of scum on top, looked rusty. I gave the concoction a stir and put the lid back on. This time putting the jar in a bowl on the kitchen window sill and left it for 3 more days. Every day I opened it up and give it a stir, not knowing if that mattered or made a difference. Each day there was scum on top and with the lid on, it always had some pressure but didn’t leak any more. The last full day I left the lid off completely.
Today we tested the stain. The top board is store-bought S4S pine and the bottom board is unsanded balsam fir (think christmas tree!) I harvested behind the workshop a year ago.
Most of the info on this recipe says to pout the liquid into another jar and strain it. I didn’t bother with that. I wanted to see what sort of results I’d get using the scum on top, as well and the clearer liquid below.
A. First test was a small brush of the scum. It went on almost clear.
B. Second test was dipping the paper towel in the scum and rubbing it in the wood.
C. Third test was using paper towel and rubbing the clearer liquid.
D. Fourth test was brushing on the clearer liquid.
Immediate results were minor, as the liquids went on with almost a faint tea stain appearance.
This is the result 10 minutes after application. Click the image for a closer look.
And this is 30 minutes after application: