Making a brand new piece look a hundred years old

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Forum topic by 404 - Not Found posted 09-17-2010 10:07 PM 1202 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2963 days

09-17-2010 10:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question rustic

It seems that rustic charm is having a resurgence in popularity. I have a project starting shortly which is a ‘baker’s table’, – wide plank top and 4 inch legs in red deal. Anybody have any tips on how to add a 100 years of wear and tear to this project? Do I go at it with a roll of coins (or similar) in a football sock like Charles Bronson in Deathwish, or is there a more subtle way to go? This piece will be stained a mid-dark brown and probably finished with a dead matt lacquer. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

8 replies so far

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2920 days

#1 posted 09-17-2010 11:12 PM

There was a great article in Fine Woodworking awhile ago regarding “aging” a Windsor chair with Mike Dunbar, perhaps someone can remember the issue. My issues are in the shop, computer in my home office (or I’d get nothing done).

It involved painting the chair a few colors as was done during different periods of “fashion”, sanding or stripping heavy wear points, then finally using a torch to burn off another layer (I can’t remember the exact details, but the photos and description are very good).

Sounds like a lot of work, but it did make his chair look like it came from that time period.
I will try to find the article and post it if nobody else remembers it.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2977 days

#2 posted 09-17-2010 11:37 PM

Norm did a show like that where the guy built the chair and his wife did the finishing. It sounds like the same method so that its done on the ends of arms and seats to look like natural wear over the years. It starts with a base coat and you take steel wool and rub the ends of the arms and seat and any where else there would be natural wear and repeat the process. That will give you the aged patina your trying to recreate. The other method you described is called distressing where you would use something to put indentions in the wood. Thats as much as I can remember at the moment, but it gives you an idea how its done will have to see if I can find more info.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2977 days

#3 posted 09-17-2010 11:45 PM

Here’s the site to the couple who did this were part of Norm’s show that does this. I’m sure they would be glad to answer your questions better.
Hope this helps.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2963 days

#4 posted 09-18-2010 01:33 PM

Thanks for your replies, those chairs look fantastic, just the effect I’m looking for. I’m going to do a few dry runs on some offcuts before I go at the table itself. From what I can gather the golden rules are:
Don’t over do it
Distress the parts that would take a knock in real life
know when to stop

thanks again

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 09-18-2010 02:46 PM

Some people beat on the finished project with chains-like swing set chains to put the bumps in without chewing up the wood too bad. I have done a wee bit of roughing up the paint. The shabby chic thing is to paint the project with several coats of paint of differing colors. Let dry completely between coats. Then take a belt sander to it. The wear points on furniture are of course edges more than the middle. You can go to you tube and find clips of that shabby chic woman beating the heck out of her projects to ‘age them’. I don’t know that woman’s name? sorry can’t remember- BTW I can only hope that “rustic charm is rising in popularity.” LOL

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4212 days

#6 posted 09-18-2010 03:41 PM

My niece has 3-year-old twin boys. She might lend them to you for a week or so. Just put them in the same room with the table and tell them not to touch it. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jonnyfurniture's profile


59 posts in 2821 days

#7 posted 09-19-2010 04:16 AM

For the top: Distress and finish sand. Stain and apply your sanding coats. (Buy some sanding sealer if you are useing poly or varnishes.) Sand with 220 or those sanding sponges made for finishing. They save so much time and last very long. Then apply a darker stain or glaze and wipe most all of it off leaving only some in the distress marks. Top coat. Sometimes colored paste wax is good for an extra touch.

For the painted parts: Paint with a milkpaint product. Sand the entire piece with 150. You can sand through some of the areas that you want to show wear. Take some 0000steel wool and mineral spirits and rub all the surfaces put some elbow grease into the parts that get wear. Rinse it down with mineral spirits. Spray it with low luster lacquer or just apply paste wax and buff.

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3138 days

#8 posted 09-20-2010 09:23 PM

Hire the fine upstanding gentlemen who just ruined my trim while repainting it. Their idea of surface prep was to place the nozzle of a pressure washer an inch from the surface. Sure it removed some of the original paint, but also removed quite a bit of the wood.

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