Make Your Own Barn Wood

It’s easy to do, looks au­then­tic and saves you a for­tune!

The Family Handyman - - CONTENTS - By Jeff Gor­ton

It’s in­ex­pen­sive, easy to do and bet­ter than the real thing!

Whether you’re cre­at­ing a rus­tic in­te­rior or adding aged wood ac­cents to a mod­ern dec­o­rat­ing scheme, barn wood is a pop­u­lar choice. And the good news is you don’t have to pick through piles of splin­tery old lum­ber or pay ex­or­bi­tant prices for the look of barn wood. You can eas­ily trans­form in­ex­pen­sive pine boards into rus­tic boards that are al­most in­dis­tin­guish­able from the real thing. In this story we’ll give you a recipe for do­ing just that. The 8-ft. 1x6 boards we used for cre­at­ing our au­then­tic-look­ing “aged barn wood” cost about $4 each.

1. GRIND THE EDGES AND ENDS

With the grinder spin­ning in the di­rec­tion shown here, make ran­dom gouges on the edges of the board. While you’re at it, round over the sharp fac­tory edges.

Then grind the ends of the boards to look weath­ered as shown here.

2. ERODE THE SUR­FACE

Re­move some of the soft wood from be­tween the growth rings (darker wood grain) by run­ning the cup brush along the board. Fol­low the grain pat­tern. The growth rings are harder and will re­main, while the brush will wear away the softer wood be­tween them.

3. MAKE RE­AL­IS­TIC WORMHOLES

Punch groups of “wormholes” in a ran­dom pat­tern with the awl. Elon­gate some of the holes by tip­ping the awl down af­ter punch­ing. Space groups of holes 6 to 12 in. apart.

4. ADD DENTS

You can make dents with al­most any blunt tool, me­tal pipe, or even a chain. A ham­mer claw is handy and works well. Group dents in ran­dom pat­terns along the board.

5. CARVE OUT SPLITS

Carve out the soft wood along the grain to sim­u­late a crack. Make fake cracks on the ends of boards, or along the edges. You can also sim­ply en­large an ex­ist­ing crack.

6. MAKE SAW BLADE MARKS

Sweep the grinder across the board in a se­ries of arcs to cre­ate the look of old, “rough-sawn” lum­ber. Add this pat­tern to a few of your boards for va­ri­ety.

7. START WITH A BASE COAT

Roll on the first coat of stain. Cover the board en­tirely. Then wipe off the ex­cess with a cot­ton rag. Let this coat dry about five min­utes be­fore mov­ing on to the next layer of stain.

8. DAB ON DARK STAIN

Dip a wadded cot­ton rag into the dark stain and ap­ply it to the board in ran­dom patches. Spread out the patches with the rag to cre­ate an un­even layer of dark stain.

9. FIN­ISH WITH GRAY STAIN

With a sep­a­rate cot­ton rag, wipe on a coat of gray stain. This coat can be more con­sis­tent than the dark coat. Wipe off ex­cess stain with a dry cot­ton rag un­til you achieve the aged look you de­sire. If you want the ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion of a clear fin­ish over the stain, let the stain dry overnight be­fore brush­ing on a coat or two of flat polyurethane.

Util­ity Knife

Fin­ish Nail

Cup Brush

Awl

Knot Cup Brush

MEET THE EX­PERT Jeff Gor­ton is a car­pen­ter and an ed­i­tor, as well as our in-house forgery ex­pert.

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