Distressed Furniture Guide – General Distressing Information

Distressing furniture is the art of adding the look of age to a furniture piece. Distressing is an expensive and artistic process that is usually hand-done by craftsmen using different tools to purposely dent, scratch, stain, chip, and/or rub the furniture finish. Distressing may or may not include: crackle, natural wood, rasping, wormholes, pin holes, rub-through finishing, cat tails, fly specs, chain dents/dings, knot exaggerations, gouges, chisel lifts, worn corners, hand-planing, and/or round/square pegs. It requires more work to distress a piece of furniture than it does to leave it undistressed. One of the biggest perks of distressing is that it will make normal wear and tear in your furniture’s future less noticeable. In other words, if you scratch your table surface, it will be much more prominent if it is the only scratch on the table.With a little prior distressing, the accidental future scratch is more likely to blend in and look natural. Distressing brings antiqued life to new furniture. Note that all types of distressing are in random patterns and locations. This means that the distressing will not match from one piece to the next, since it is meant to look like an antique and is normally hand-done.Distressing is an extra step in the finish process, a bonus of sorts, and should not be confused for low quality or damage.

Here are a few examples of distressing:

Example of distressed furniture.

Distressing levels vary. Note the image on the left has very light distressing, whereas the image on the right is heavily distressed. “No Distressing” is rare. Usually there is at least a very light distress put on the finish.

Here are some tools used to create the distressed look:

More examples of types of distressing:

*The finishes, distressing, and furniture shown may or may not represent the specific finish of your selected product.

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