Weathered wood has such an amazing, distinctive appeal. All of those years spent in the elements and the natural course of time make for some great character; not unlike ourselves. Old wood has long been reclaimed for picture frames and the like, but in most cases cannot stand up to the process of creating a wooden ring. Yet, there is a way to turn new wood old, or at least give it the aesthetic characteristics of old wood, and the result is pretty fantastic.
Most, if not all woods, have tannins. It is the substance used to tan leather and gives woods their distinctive brown hues. In true weathered wood, the tannins are slowly leeched out, replaced by minerals in the air, and chemically changed due to ultraviolet rays. We can create the same effect by an old technique of submerging the wood in a bath of water and ferrous sulfate, a mineral commonly used as an iron supplement. The chemical reaction with the tannins in the wood "weather" it while still leaving the wood in perfect condition.
Wood shavings which have been weathered. Different woods react differently to the process. Oak turns a deep gray or near-blue while Black Cherry turns gray. Woods with very little tannin, such as Maple, turn almost silver.
Once the wood has been "weathered" it makes a beautiful ring. Above is a weathered whiskey barrel oak wood with a black cherry liner (inside) in the process of being created. We have several whiskey and bourbon brands available.
The result is a truly unique design. There are traces of the new wood peeking through the gray weathering that looks very distinctive.
In the next week or so I'll introduce a few new ring designs to Rustic and Main featuring weathered woods. As always, I appreciate any feedback you have to share.