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Painting then distressing

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The wife wants what she wants.

I'm building a farmhouse kitchen table.  A cherry top and white painted (turned) legs and aprons.  Tonight my wife hit me with how she wants a distressed paint, partially sanded through.  Whatever.  I'm less than enthused with this project, but I just have to live with the fact that the table top will hopefully have some hint of craftsmanship and the crappy trendy base was all her idea.

I've done the distressed paint thing before, a couple years ago we refinished a bunch of reclaimed window frames.  We painted them one color, let it dry and painted with a contrasting color on top.  A light sanding, just enough to go through the top paint color, then some clear on top and done.  We rattle canned them. 

Should I rattle can this table base?  Brush them?  Burn them?  I don't have an HVLP powerful enough for paint.

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Brush. Once distressed it doesn't matter if you see any brush strokes. 

I feel your pain. I dislike the thought of distressing anything.

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Distressing isn't so bad, if the parts are painted anyway. I'd probably spray (rattle can), so the film would be thinner to sand through. I have found that wet-sanding with 600 grit paper give a more natural "worn-through" look, if you are careful to only do it in areas expected to get wear in normal use.

I can't stand the type of distressing that looks like it was beaten with a chain and left outside for years. That's just abuse.

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5 hours ago, treeslayer said:

sounds like my wife, she wanted a bakers table distressed for in our kitchen, i waited her out and 3 months later i made one out of walnut and cherry.

A wife wants what a wife wants, and there's just no avoiding it. That's why there's so much red oak furniture in my house!

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Oh there's no way I'd do the chain/key/rock gouge thing.  In fact the sanding through that I will do will be very minimal, just enough to say I did it.

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The guys on Woodtalk show talked about distressing and they had some good points I'd look up those episodes i know they were fairly recently. One of the big things is be conscious of distressing areas that will see wear like corners and edges but stay away from distressing the middle or places that don't typically see wear.

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Truth be told, when I posted this last night I was exhausted and distracted.  I certainly should have titled this better if nothing else.  I'm not too worried about the actual distressing, some sandpaper and ten minutes and done.  I refuse to do any gouging or denting. 

I think my biggest question was whether or not spray paint would be acceptable.  It seems wrong to use spray paint, this is a boring build but I'm still dropping quite a bit of cash in material.  But, in the end, I think I can get good results with spray, and painting the turned legs by brush seems like it would take forever. 

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wtnighlander beat me to it. Milk paint is pretty spiffy for this kind of thing. Also lets you experiment with a new kind of paint if you have never used it before so the project is not a total loss.

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