|Furniture Buying Guide
- Distressed Furniture
Contrary to what you may think...this is not furniture that's having a bad day.
Also, to my surprise, I discovered that
this is not furniture with a manufacturing defect or that must be sold, at a
discount, because of the dealers (or Manufacturer's) financial problems.
Distressing, is deliberate and adds to the ambiance,
or look and feel, that the piece portrays.
It may appear, to you, as a defect...so it is
important that you know what to look for in a piece of distressed furniture.
Understanding "Distress" (I have to chuckle every time I write it) has a
- It enables you to recognize quality
- It protects you from snide remarks from your inlaws
pertaining to your choice of furniture. Show them this chapter the
next time they point out a "flaw" in your furniture...that should lock
their jaws for a while.
- It protects you from an unscrupulous salesperson
trying to unload junk on you...while trying to convince you that it's
"quality distressed furniture."
Let's take a look at some common "Distressing"
- Fly Specking: Little dots of a dark colored paint
randomly seen through out a finish, it would appear as though a fly landed
and then walked across the piece of furniture before the paint/stain was
- Cow Tailing: A special brush is dipped
in paint/stain and ‘flicked’ down on the furniture to create a heavier
- White Pumice: A piece of pumice is rubbed along the
edges of the furniture leaving behind a white residue.
- Burnishing: The furniture is exposed to fire in order to leave darker burn
marks in the wood, then finished or painted over. I really like this.
- Rasping: To file or scrape with a coarse file having
sharp projections; typically done to the edges of the furniture.
- Worm Holes: This process is done by heating up a nail to
red hot condition, and then hammering the nail into the wood to cause tiny
darkened holes and trails that mimic the patterns made by worms.
- Rubbing (Hand Rubbed): While the finish is drying random
areas are rubbed with a different color or completely taken off to create a
- Crackle Finish: A special finish that ‘cracks’ while
drying. Sometimes this finish is applied directly to the wood so you see the
natural wood color through the cracks or it can also be applied over an
already stained or painted piece so that you see the original color through
Now that you're aware of what "Distressing" is you can
look for it and decide it it's something you want in your furniture.
Just because a piece has been "Distressed" doesn't make
it "Quality" furniture. Make sure you read the chapter on determining