These are the tools I use when distressing a piece of furniture. Yes, you could also find these in any well stocked dungeon. The board with the screws is used to simulate worm damaged wood. The hooked pick is used for added simulated cracks in the wood. The rope has a string of nuts and is used to randomly beat the furniture, adding random, clumped dents, the small pick is used for scoring or punching in small holes and the chain has some bolts, washers and nuts and is also used to beat on the furniture. That is about it. I do use a wood chisel from time to time to scrape our gouges or shave off the edge.
One safety item about the chain with nuts and bolts. It is a good idea to either tighten the nut all the way down or use a double nut like I have done here. You put two nuts on and then, using two wrenches, you turn them against either other, in opposite directions, forcing them to tighten together. This (mostly) prevents the nut from working itself loose and flying off. And, yes, I have had that happen with funny and dramatic effect.
I built this shelf 15 years ago or so and it ended up stored on a shelf in my garage. It was originally built un-distressed, however I feel the distressing gives it a bit more character. So, give your 13 year old son and his spend the weekend buddies the right tools and you get a distressed shelf. To get it this way, I first lightly sanded the original polyurethane coat with 220 grit, then we distressed it, then we painted on a Van Dyke Brown glaze, letting that sit about 5-7 minutes, then wiping off, being careful to leave it in the indentations. A few days later it was time to clear coat with Deft. First coat, then lightly use 0000 (4 ought) steel wool to knock off raised areas, then another coat. Very fast and simple as Deft dries quickly. Next it will hang in my bathroom, ready for all the crap on the back of the toilet.
This is a close up of the worm wood look achieved by using a nasty looking tool made from a one foot length of wood with 3 Sheetrock screws driven through it. Use screws vs. nails as nails leave a square hole from the point (or at least cut the point off).
This has been a fun project, taking about 6-8 hours to build so far and next will be the doors. They will be mortise and tenon or butt joint with cleat with punched tin inserts.
The Materials Used
It is built in a Shaker style using low cost white pine for the body and top and cedar fence pickets for the back, all obtained from Lowes Home Improvement (though you can find this type of wood anywhere). Take your time, look for good, straight boards with interesting patterns. As I am doing Primitive and Shaker style furniture and want it to look a little old and distressed, I use wood that may have blemishes, knots, dents, etc.
I started with a rough sketch. Originally there was a shelf here, but I wanted something more. It stands about 32.5″ tall, 40″ wide across the top and 14″ deep across the top. It is built primarily from 1×12 (sides, bottom shelf and inside shelf), 1×6 (front stiles), 1×2 (braces across top, front and back), and 1×8 (two pieces butt-edge joined to form top). Continue reading