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Distressed Wood Finish
Distressed wood finish is a finishing process that emulates the look of antique furniture. It shows two or more layers of wood finish (in different colors) with the outer layer slightly worn away. This creates a unique look of a piece with history that has been finished and refinished previously.
Distressing has become an art form, and a way to decorate furniture and other items in a popular and stylish way. It is usually meant to give an item an old and rustic, one-of-a-kind look.
When you distress a piece of wood, you are deliberately making it look older. This might mean that you destroy or manipulate the current finishing on the object, in order to make it look less than perfect. This can be done with many materials and techniques from with sandpaper, to paint stripper. Distressed finishes can reveal anything from peeks at full wood grain to mostly pigmented wood texture to thick or crackled paint or shellac.
Other techniques include hammering wood in order to make it softer, or give a dimpled appearance. It can even be bleached, stained, or pickled. Another technique includes watering down regular paint, so that it appears to be faded and thinner than it would new. This allows other layers of paint, or the wood itself, to show through the paint layer. Another distressing technique calls for the pain or varnish to be layered on using sponges, which will create an uneven pattern. When an area is painted, the corners and edges are often painted lighter, or sanded down, so that the item appears to be worn.
Antiquing is a very specific type of distressing for wood furniture meant to make a piece look older than it is, but not necessarily worn out or refurbished. Parts of the finish are oftensoftened or removed to make the entire thing piece look like it has been worn over the years. The artisan often applies historically accurate paint colors, and puts on an antique-like faux finish. Crackle varnishes may be used to simulate aging shellacs and paints. Sometimes, in order to complete the antiquing method of distressing, the artisan applies accents details that were only found in that particular time period, like certain styles knobs on dresser drawers, or other details Sometimes, glazes are used to blend colors into the crevices as if they had sunk in over time. A truly effective antiquing process can take a long time and a great deal of work to get the details just right.
Distressing can also add the effects of mother nature into a piece of furniture. For instance, distressing often includes putting in fake woodworm holes.
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