8 Ways to Create a Distressed Finish April 08 2015, 0 Comments

At Patagonia Legacy, we offer three distress levels on our furniture.  We create what is referred to as museum distress, which involves physically distressing the wood.  It is a painstaking process used to create a natural looking distress that matches the wear a piece of furniture would endure over decades.  Over time, wood is bound to gather dents, holes, cracks and other marks.  You can recreate the look yourself by distressing the wood with various everyday items. 

If you would like to create something similar to our museum distress on your own woodworking project here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Hammer a nail driving it slightly into the wood, pull it out, and repeat. You can also try different size nails or space the nail holes very close to one another.
  • Hit the furniture with a hammer. The claw of the hammer can also be used to make interesting marks.
  • Scratch the surface with a steel bristled brush. 
  • Throw a chain on the wood to create elliptical dents. Try to keep your movements random and vary how hard you strike the wood.
  • Use a meat tenderizer to create marks, the marks can be softened by putting a rag between the wood and tenderizer. 
  • Scrape the surface with sandpaper, a rasp or a file to create worn areas.
  • Fill a small canvas bag with rocks and strike the wood repeatedly to create random patterns.
  • Heat small bits of metal like nails, bolts, and screws in an oven to get them very hot. Then pour them onto the wood surface creating dark areas.

If physically distressing the wood does not give you the look you are after keep in mind that there are several ways to create a distressed finish with paint.

How heavy do you prefer the distress on your solid wood pieces?