Help/Advice needed - Reproducing a distressed/rough finish

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Forum topic by ryno101 posted 12-15-2009 07:49 PM 1152 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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388 posts in 3903 days

12-15-2009 07:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip walnut finishing distressed distressing rustic

My brother in law has a beautiful Walnut French-Country style dining room table, and he’s asked me to build him a coffee table, end table and entertainment center to match. I’m very excited about this, and have gone through a few design options, I’ve got the building part of it pretty well figured out. However…

The top of the dining room table is 1 1/8” thick walnut, and it’s got a particular distressed look that I’d like to see if I can re-create. The rough edges and whatnot shouldn’t be too difficult, but I don’t know how to best approach the look. Here’s a couple of pics that show this:

As you can see, it’s got some cross-hatch striations, and a scalloped look that’s pretty distinctive. Also note the fact that the high spots are lighter in color. It feels relatively smooth to the touch, there’s not much height difference that can be discerned by touch, the distressed look is accentuated by the color difference.

My question is this:
How would you tackle this if it were your project? I’m interested in not only how you’d mechanically create the look, but also how you’d apply stain, what finish you’d use, etc.

Any advice would be welcome, and thanks for your help!

-- Ryno

4 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3887 days

#1 posted 12-15-2009 08:23 PM

if you’ll look at the last pic, there’s a distinct repetitive pattern over the top – looks like it was pounded by an ovalish shaped object that created the indents.

after you have the surface indented as such, and you apply the stain/finish, and sand it – because of the indentation, the high spots will get sanded out more than the low spots which will create the highlights in color.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View trimmer's profile


90 posts in 3679 days

#2 posted 12-16-2009 12:19 AM

Looks to me like the wood , was resalvaged from flooring, and they used the old rubber diamond mats for safe footing.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3524 days

#3 posted 12-16-2009 01:17 AM

I think PurpLev is on to something in his post. I would certainly give that a try.
Also, the cross-hatch kinda of looks like maybe it is stain. You can dry brush over the original stain with a slightly darker stain. Dip your brush in it, wipe most off on a rag, and with a lite touch, brush across at an angle.
The picture is hard to really tell though—-Just another idea.

Good Luck


View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4132 days

#4 posted 12-16-2009 01:34 AM

looks like it was done with a specialty planer. Festool makes a hand held planer with specialty knives that when criss crossed….............looks almost identical to that

you can do the same thing with a hand plane. Skew the knife and plane on 45 degrees to the top, then skew the knife the opposite way and plane perpendicular to the first one. When thats done, lightly plain parralel with the grain and it should leave those marks, as per your picture

Good Luck

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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