Rustic Faux-Barnwood Framed Sign

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Project by Hooligan posted 04-12-2015 06:36 PM 1471 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Rustic Faux-Barnwood Framed Sign
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I built this sign for a guy who just stumbled into my shop one day. He asked if I could build him a sign to put above his hot tub. He wanted it to be made of old barn wood, but I told him that all the barn wood I had access to was cupped and pretty fragile and that it wasn’t suited for sign making. I convinced him I could make a faux finished barn wood and he agreed. He wanted the letters to also be burned in after they were cut. I used 3 new 1”x4”x8’ pine for the sign and frame. I stained the wood with tea, which I let sit for 15 minutes (to add tannins) and then followed it with an oxidizer made of steel wool soaked in white vinegar. The steel wool dissolves completely in the vinegar in about 36 hours and I got the best results after about 24 hours of soaking the steel wool. I simply scrubbed the steel wool pad onto the tea stained sign, let it dry until it formed a rusty looking dust, blow it off, and finished it with a couple coats of satin spray poly.

I think it turned out better than I had hoped and he and his wife love it. I really like the Faux finish and will be using it again.

7 comments so far

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1302 posts in 1835 days

#1 posted 04-12-2015 08:20 PM

It’s always great when you experiment and it comes out better than expected.
Looks good.

-- Jeff NJ

View Northwest29's profile


1661 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 04-12-2015 08:23 PM

I think it turned out good and the faux look gives it just the right touch. The frame itself looks great as well. Did you use a ‘pre-conditioner’ for the soft pine first?

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View TimberMagic's profile


114 posts in 1380 days

#3 posted 04-12-2015 09:10 PM

Excellent execution, and superb messaging, even if it was from the customer. I’m all for it!

And now that I am retired, it seems like it really is not that restrictive—every day can be a Friday. :-)

-- Lee

View BCDesign's profile


538 posts in 1624 days

#4 posted 04-12-2015 09:26 PM

That turned out great,i love the finish!

-- "The secret of getting ahead is getting started" Mark Twain

View Hooligan's profile


28 posts in 1694 days

#5 posted 04-12-2015 09:39 PM

Northwest29, no I didn’t use any pre-conditioner first. I just used the tea and oxidizer solution. I wasn’t to concerned about blotches or streaks in this finish since it was supposed to mimic barn wood. Had it been something else I would have.

Thanks for all the nice comments guys. This was my first attempt at an oxidized finish and I love the results.

TimberMagic I thought the wording was inspired also.

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


601 posts in 3109 days

#6 posted 04-13-2015 11:52 PM

Lots of “firsts” there for me reading your finish process.

Gonna favorite it


View Hooligan's profile


28 posts in 1694 days

#7 posted 04-14-2015 02:28 AM

CPLUSWoodworker, Thanks for the favorite. The finish was really simple to apply. I got the finish idea from Pintrest. Good luck using it and I hope you are as happy with the outcome as I have been.

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