The purpose of this posting is to share a method of distressing/aging galvanized metal. At the end I will share some projects that have included galvanized metal, but this post is more about the aging process, not the projects.
Safety is primary concern. I am a retired chemist and comfortable with chemicals yet don’t want to downplay the importance of protecting yourself from hazards material. My method uses muriatic acid, also know as hydrochloric acid. It is highly corrosive. - hazardous to the eyes, skin, and lungs. and needs to be handled with the utmost caution and requires personal protection equipment- long sleeves, long pants, gloves, safety glasses/goggles, and really good ventilation. It is used to clean and etch concrete and to lower the pH of swimming pools and is sold in most hardware stores. You must read and adhere to the handling instructions. If after reading this post, you are not comfortable with working with any or all of these chemicals then don’t attempt it. I would certainly have you consider achieving a similar look by over spraying with black and gray paint.
I usually do this type of work in warmer weather- outdoors with good ventilation. Circumstances required me to work on a coffee table with legs made from 1/2” galvanized pipe during our cold Michigan winter. I decided I would try to make this tutorial at the same time.
I like the looks of galvanized metal., but I really prefer it to have an aged look. Note that galvanized metal is steel with a zinc coating- do not confuse it with a aluminum. This process will not work with aluminum.
I am going to walk you through the steps with 1) a piece of galvanized flashing, also called flat stock, leftover from an earlier project; and 2) some 1/2” galvanized pipe that form the legs of a coffee table. Please note that when using pipe you can spend an inordinate amount of time:
1) standing in the aisle of a big box store determining the fittings, pipes, and nipples required;
2) removing the stickers from the pipe and fittings.