View Full Version : HELP Distressing large quantity of wood for making tables

23rd September 2019, 09:28 PM
Hi ladies and gents,

I run a small part time wedding hire company and make most of the furniture myself at home.

We have a demand for some rustic farmhousw trestle tables, i will need atleast 10-15 of them at 2.6 metres long.
After lots of searching ive finally found a reasonably priced supplier of reclaimed oregon boards at 180mm x 25mm giving that nice wide chunky look.

The construction is a no brainer they are just trestles however, whilt oregon gives me the light weight i need, and nicer grain than traditional pine, its not a very rustic look.
Ive seen some great footage of distrwssing timber boards by hitting them with an angle grinder and then switching to a wire brush attachment and finally sanding lightly and blowtorching... my issue is...i have ALOT of wood to distress, any suggestions less labour intensive or larger scale alternatives?

Here is a link to the video that uses these techniques for a reference.
YouTube (https://youtu.be/Y22x4K1hh3c)

24th September 2019, 02:00 AM

Sometimes these trends are pretty funny. A table that is uneven with ridges/edges meaning easy to knock things over and harder to clean...

24th September 2019, 06:38 AM
A bit of an ‘investment ‘ however. Festool make their larger planer with various heads, one is for this look. Or I’ve seen a carbatec thicknesser that you could fit custom blades in, surely it could be made similar to festool design?
You’re still gonna need to belt it with a hammer and wire brush etc. wire wheel in a drill, but it might get the bulk of it done?

Looks fun too :)
YouTube (https://youtu.be/g4XM64oTnFs)

24th September 2019, 08:48 AM
Hi Gav,

To look rustic, does it really need to be distressed? To my eye, anything made with rough sawn or skip planed timber (basically anything that's not smooth planed will look the part. Not forgetting that that's exactly what old rustic furniture was actually made of.

Kind regards,

24th September 2019, 09:02 AM
I would guess a standard cheap water blaster held close might do enough of a job distressing the surface of oregon for a rustic look. It might even be suitable to use AFTER the trestle table are built.

24th September 2019, 09:28 AM
What a horrbible abuse of wood. Seriously, anyone who loves wood will be crying in pain when watching this video. The result of this work is of matching quality. One can clearly see the traces of the machine working against the grain. That sucks and it doesn't even remotely look antique. What you actually need is a "Schrupphobel", probably a jack plane like this one: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Schrupphobel.JPG
Planes like this habe been used in the past to get the timber to size before actually planing it. Just use it to make the surface a bit uneven (following the grain) and finish with the blow torch.
Another option would be an electric brush, e.g. this one: https://www.kirchner24.de/images/produkte/i10/1000112-53fcafbf4e8b5.jpg
It allows to brush along the grain. This makes the wood look like it has been washed out over time.

Each time I see someone torturing wood with an angle grinder, I'm close to a heart attack.

24th September 2019, 12:01 PM
Hire a cement mixer truck and mix the boards together with some large bolts, rocks and short lengths of chain. Prepare you self for a few losses.

24th September 2019, 12:18 PM
being Scottish, I did my apprenticeship in a small Scottish town, we worked on many old historic buildings, one I remember was Robert burns the poet ‘s birth place ‘Burns cottage’ we restored the place, traditional thatched roof etc., one time I was trimming an old sash window, so I took my timer outside and kicked the crap out it around the yard for 10 minutes architects loved it !😂👍🏻

24th September 2019, 12:56 PM
Andy J,
Mate you sound like you have a very complicated relationship with wood, but i do appreciate the suggestions.
I just literally watched a video of the brush sander before i read your reply.
Either that or blowtorching the wood then pressure washing it i think is the way to go (second option seems faster but more setup).
As for the rest of you, i just want to say this is my first time using this forum and i am so appreciative of your help, its so hard to find good advice in Australia, those with experience tend to play their cards close to their chest.
Will definately post some photos of my progress.

24th September 2019, 02:06 PM
If you treat it with the blowtorch first, it will be a lot less work to brush it. That way you could save the machine and just do it manually. I wouldn't use a pressure cleaner for that.

24th September 2019, 08:32 PM
Hand planing the boards is the best way . A roughing plane with a radius to the cutting edge gives the real look.
Sand blasting can look good . The Cement mixer would work as well .

After you get the surfaces sorted get some of this for a safe good looking aged brown look . Its good at aging Pine . Pretty sure itl do a good job on Oregon

Potasium prmanganate | eBay (https://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=Potasium+prmanganate&_sacat=0)

Read a bit about it here.

potassium permanganate for ageing timber - Google Search (https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&sxsrf=ACYBGNSByP2-DR2nxML_2_g0mED77NIJQw%3A1569316546577&ei=wt6JXe3yIt3Zz7sP7tSRwA0&q=potassium+permanganate+for+ageing+timber&oq=potassium+permanganate+for+ageing+timber&gs_l=psy-ab.3...8305.15148..15834...0.2..0.349.4178.0j1j16j1....2..0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i67i70i251j0i67j0j0i228j0i22i30j0i22i10i30j33i160j33i22i29i30.Z45dErtL6xE&ved=0ahUKEwjt27Haj-nkAhXd7HMBHW5qBNgQ4dUDCAo&uact=5)

25th September 2019, 02:09 PM
For more info on burnt timber effects, the Japanese call it Shou Sugi Ban.

If you use dye, wire brush and a blowtorch, it can be fairly dramatic.

Id imagine if there is a lot to do, you could use one of those LPG bottle mounted weed killing blowtorches.

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