Making the new look old

Old 02-05-01, 04:11 AM
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I have bought new unfinished oak cabinets to install in my kitchen, but I really want to make them look old. I thought that I would beat on them a little, sand them a lot and then stain them. Should I apply a sealer first? I saw that was suggested to the lady who was doing the birch cabinets. And I was wondering how to get that look that aged pieces have, where some parts are darker. Could I use a lighter stain, then use a dark stain in those areas (like the edges of the door frame?) Any suggestions you can offer would be much appreciated. I am also wondering what would be the best finish coat--maybe a wax? My goal is to give them character--to make them look smooth and aged. Many thanks!
Old 02-09-01, 03:55 PM
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Getting a varied color scheme can be done with a single stain. I'm assuming the cabinets are solid oak and not veneered. If they're veneered, this approach will work, but care must be taken not to sand through the veneer.

Sanding is usually done to smooth a surface. You're always cautioned to sand uniformly - here's the exception. If you sand the piece completely with 120-150 grit paper, you'll get it nice and smooth and the stain will take uniformly. If, however, you go back and sand some spots (such as door edges, depressions, etc.) with 80 grit, those areas will absorb more stain. If this doesn't give you as much contrast as you like, you can apply a coat of finish/sealer and use artists oil colors todarken the areas you choose. Let them dry thoroughly, then finish fniishing, so to speak.

Another difference between new and old is the wear on the edges of furniture. Sharp (new) corners should be 'eased', either with a block plane, or sandpaper.

If you do decide to beat on them, try to avoid anything recognizable, such as a hammer. Use a chain, or a meat tenderizer (the metal kind with stubby points in it) - whatever comes to mind.

Keep in mind the top and front of any piece recieve more wear than the sides -do your 'aging' accordingly.

A wouldn't seal it before staining - birch can stain in a blotchy pattern if not properly prepared - oak rarely presents this problem.

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