There are a lot of tutorials about how to distress wood. Basically they involve beating it with anything you can find laying about. I have never really been happy with any of them. I’m going to sound like a total snob here and say that the only way to get a truly, madly, deeply weathered wood look is to get actual weathered wood.
Buuuuuut, there are times when it just helps to make something look like it has a little more history than its recent trip to and from Home Depot, so it helps to know how to give it a bit of that faux backstory. Case in point:
How to distress wood for a worn look
I didn’t want to go all barn wood on this new top for a cabinet I’m currently working on. Just give it a little of the used look. The problem I have with most methods is that they just look too methodical. Then I saw this video featuring Clint of Harp Design Co. (of Fixer Upper fame) utilizing a great, simple method:
Whenever you can dance, do, right?
The best thing is that this is yet another way I can involve the kids. They already love helping me distress wood, and this has become their new favorite method.
I’ll spare you a video of me breaking it down with them. What is great about this highly sophisticated method is that it is easily random.
Here is the after of the cabinet top. It’s not beat up, just worn to look like it has been around for a while.
But wait, there’s more! Have you ever wanted to simulate the look of rough sawn wood? (Also known as skip planing.)
How to faux skip plane wood
Eh, it’s not perfect, but it’s not too shabby, either. This is the same cabinet top I showed you before.
One method is to bend a blade on your table saw and send it through. I’m not so fond of this method, personally, since I don’t like switching back and forth between good and bad blades.
Here’s how to do it even easier. Are you ready?
Use your sawzall, and lightly run it over the surface you want skip planed. Here’s a complete inadequate demonstration, and the world reveal of my three year old as videographer.
I know, it’s not the greatest look, but he’s only a little over three feet tall.
There is nothing at all sophisticated about this method. Experiment with how much pressure to put on the blade and run it a couple directions to create different looks. You can also run it on the top of the board, though in larger pieces I find it most useful just to do the sides.
My favorite way to do this is to use an old board like scrap from a dismantled fence and run the sawzall over it. The wood is already weathered, and the faux skip planing looks like it was always there.
There you have it, two of the world’s simplest methods for distressing wood. And fun ones, too! Let me know if you try either of these and how they work for you!