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.