Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Faux Reclaimed Wood

When a finisher left this door at the studio, I thought something was wrong with it. Maybe mildew. There is little topcoat and the wood looked like bleached walnut pieced with birch.  Probably was a sink door under a leak.

Surprise, this is an expensive door from the new Restoration Hardware Collection of "Reclaimed Wood." I love how you can now make grody stuff sound expensive.  I am using this next time I do a cabinet job.  "Why that's not a flaw-that's a reclaimed brush hair."  "A scratch? Why that's a highly sought after antiquing method...from France." (Always add from France).  The finisher needs a way to get this door:

to have the same flavor as the Restoration piece.  Our piece is a different wood and is actually much redder and darker. The client doesn't care about an exact match regarding the wood grain but wants the bleached color, distressing, and the white wash.  First I Paso the piece, light sand, and wipe clean.

My first layer is the Birch recipe from the Restain class mixed with Duraseal.  Then I taped off areas and applied the Birch recipe without the Duraseal  everywhere but the center.  This created the plank effect of the bleached wood.  I let this dry 2 hours and then did a light sand with 220 paper.

Next, I got all Basic Instinct on the door.

Thanks Sharon for making that awful movie-whack, whack, whack!

My next step is to over-stain. I selected the Shaker Walnut Opaque Stain and a custom mix of Golden Oak, Rich Brown, and Antique Mahogany.  This is brushed and wiped back.

While the stain is wet, I brushed in some thinned American Walnut and Van Dyke Stains. Then I pulled through with a mottler to create a slight easy wood grain.

For the heavier distressing, I broke out the crowbar.

Thanks Sharon for making that movie about neighbors spying on you with
hidden cameras-whack, whack, whack!

I thinned my American Walnut and Van Dyke Stains with water and flicked it over the surface. As this dried, I softened with a badger brush.

To get the white wash I mixed Pickling White Stain with Master Finishing Wax-this makes for a heavier bodied stain.  I added a little Rich Brown to kill some of the whiteness.  I brushed this one and wiped down with cheesecloth letting it catch in the distressing and corners.

This is a super easy was to get a lime washed effect without using an actual lime wash product which can be tricky to apply.  The wax sets up in 40 minutes.  I mixed some of my Maplewood stain in more Master Finishing Wax and applied it to the door-adding a final brighter brown and sealing at the same time.

And here is our Restoration Reclaimed Walnut Door. It doesn't have the mixed grain of the original but certainly the flavor.  If the client gets too picky.....


  1. PURE GENIUS, as always Rebecca. I'm going to be coming to see you this year for a class, mark my words!

  2. Thanks for posting the results, Rebecca. I was under the same impression when I first saw that door: fusty, musty, dusty, moldy. You're right, it's an art to make something popular and expensive when it looks like it's water-damaged. So now I, too, can make faux mildew. :-)