The piece is gorgeous, however the underside and both ends looked like new wood, not the beautiful grey on the top and sides.
So we turned to google to ascertain how to age the wood to match the barnwood colour. The recommended solution was to steep steel wool in a container of vinegar overnight or up to 24 hours, strain, mix with water, then spray or brush the solution onto the wood. The only risk was that the wood could turn dark brown rather than grey. Ours did.
But there was a solution for that too; by simply adding a mixture of baking soda and water to the treated area, the shade of brown would fade to some degree. After a bit of testing and a little bit of time, we were tickled pink - er, tickled grey - to discover it had worked. We now have a piece of wood with the aged look of barnwood on all sides.
Of course there are a number of variables with both of these solutions; how long to soak the steel wool, how much to soak, how much vinegar to use, does it need to be watered down, how much baking soda to mix with how much water, and so on. But with a little bit of time and patience, we
got exactly what we wanted, and without the use of store-bought dyes or chemicals.
Our new mantle is now in place; next up: hearth and stone.
The pictures below show:
Left - The nice part of the barn board, showing browns and blue-greys.
Middle - The underside of a testing piece. The dark part at the bottom and middle were both brushed with the vinegar solution, the bottom one with more water and less vinegar. The light brown part at the top was prior to any solution being added.
Right - The final piece - notice how much closer the colour is to the colour in the first photo.