Saturday, May 7, 2011

Everything New is Old Again

The restoration of an early 2oth century chew toy. (Part Two)

In order to have the repairs I've made, to the gnawed and chewed wood, blend in with the older materials I now need to beat up my careful craftsmanship.

A bit unnerving...
one might even say distressing!

The tools are quite simple.
  •     A distressing tool
A file handle with a section of twisted wire, onto which I have threaded keys, washers, bent nails and nuts.  The more diverse the collection of objects on the distressing tool the more likely the pattern of dents will appear to be the result of time and use.
  •     My favorite rock. 
 It has a rough and a smooth side and works best on the bottoms of new leg repairs and flat surfaces. In this instance I used it to round over the top of the new stretcher to mimic the wear caused by feet resting on the edge. You could do this with a rasp - but the random surface of the rock leaves a more convincing surface.
  •     A faux worm hole tool
Made with sharpened nails of different diameters driven through a shop made handle.  The faux worm holes are only appropriate if the piece already shows signs of a previous infestation. Usually if the piece is walnut or cherry the damage is primarily to the lighter colored sap wood.

The secret is to make the distressing as random as possible. Looking at the original sections will often give you a clue as to how much and where your "age marks" should be added.

Often I'll leave the piece laying out and give it a whack when ever I walk by. If you spend too much time thinking about it - it will look contrived.

"Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural. "
-Ralph Waldo Emerson 

The Finished Product