I have distressed pine by hitting it with a thick linked (Clean) chain and then painting it. You can also sand edges and other marks into the paint to make it look worn. Use a very fine sandpaper. (03/13/2006)
I paint the first coat either black, burgundy or brown. The second coat is white. I then sand it using a hand sander until the under color comes out. I sand the surfaces and the edges. Then I wipe it down with a damp cloth to get all the dust off. Then I stain it leaving the stain on heavier in some areas and lighter in others.
Distress it with several different items and a hammer, such as hitting a nail on it's side, hitting a washer, chain, hammer marks, bang it with items most normal furniture gets banged with like a pot or a pan, tearing a little spot of grain off, etc. Another way is to use a crackling finish which you can buy at a paint store or home improvement store. you put on a base coat, then an over finish that, when it dries, it cracks and crazes, giving it an old look. (03/14/2006)
You could rub it with a heavy steel wool to make small grooves and ruff up the finish. (03/14/2006)
I have to laugh when I hear about "distressed furniture". When my kids were little, they took care of it for free! Now there's an idea, borrow a few kids from the neighborhood! Good luck. (03/14/2006)
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