Give the wood some wear


Wood­work­ers typ­i­cally se­lect the best­look­ing boards they can find for projects. But when cre­at­ing a dis­tressed look, lessthan-per­fect boards may be de­sir­able. Knots, chipped edges, end checks, and wild grain can add char­ac­ter. Just make sure the im­per­fec­tions don’t pose a haz­ard to those han­dling the com­pleted project. Fil­ing and sand­ing them smooth sim­u­lates years of wear while re­mov­ing the po­ten­tial for snags and splin­ters. Then, try th­ese meth­ods for cre­at­ing boards that look as if they’ve sur­vived a rough ex­is­tence.

Chipped edge Chipped edge Sim­u­late worm tracks, in­sect holes, and scratches with screws and nails of var­i­ous sizes driven through a piece of scrap. Drag the points along the board in short, ran­dom direc­tions, and press them down here and there.

Feed di­rec­tion Re-cre­ate the sawmill marks of rough-cut lum­ber by drag­ging a board back­ward across a run­ning band­saw blade. A 2- to 3-tooth-per-inch blade gives good re­sults.

Add dents and gouges by rolling var­i­ous pieces of hard­ware and rocks be­tween two boards. Strike the work­piece ran­domly with a ham­mer, a length of chain, or other lum­ber. Lightly sand the dingedup sur­face so the edges of the new dents look worn smooth.

Cre­ate the tex­ture of weather-beaten wood by us­ing a wire wheel in a drill. It strips away more of the soft ear­ly­wood and less of the harder late­wood, leav­ing ridges, and rais­ing a fuzz of wood fibers. A hand­held wire brush cre­ates ar­eas of less-pro­nounced wear.

Dents and scratches col­lect more pig­ment from the stain, sim­u­lat­ing the look of dirt and grime trapped in th­ese ar­eas.

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