Make Your Own Barn Wood
It’s easy to do, looks authentic and saves you a fortune!
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.
Knot Cup Brush
MEET THE EXPERT Jeff Gorton is a carpenter and an editor, as well as our in-house forgery expert.