Why do I hate distressed furniture

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This is plaguing me. My wife and I were walking to a restaurant the other night and we saw this dining room set in a shop window. Looked pretty beat up and I said "Look how dinged up that is" and she explains it's purposely done to the furniture.
I've seen this done on various shows, and since my mother-in-law does it to her furniture, I naturally think it's a bad idea. Something about taking newer furnature, then not having the patience to wait all the years to have a 'real' antique. Am I way off on this? Why does it really bother me?
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"Todd the wood junkie" wrote in message

Brought to you by the same folks who paint/buy a "Velvet Elvis".
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It's frustrating to a woodworker who takes the time to pick out the best looking wood, making sure it's straight and taking the time to plane it, sand it and make it as smooth as possible only to have someone come along with a hammer and beat it up. If you want distressed wood, drive around looking for an old barn that looks like it's about to fall down and ask the owner if you could have the wood.
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I feel the same way but a project I did severl years ago required this. I spent almost a month building a custom vanity, tower and laundrey shoot from bush pine, planing and sanding for a long time. Once the unti was white washed once I beat it with a screen door chain and used it to roughen the edges. I then stained the piece and repeated several times. When it was all done it turned out to be one of the nicest "Fitting" pieces I've ever made.
The reason for the "antiqued" vanity was a remodel of a 150+ year old home. The owner wanted something that had modern ergonomics and storage but had a very old look and design (A lot of molding, raised panels etc.)

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I dont like the distressed look either not to mention the extra hard work to create it. But then again I do like buying pre washed jeans not wanting to wait for them to get old looking. Different strokes for different folks. It would be boring if we all drove black cars.
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I am not a big fan of heavily distressed furniture. however, distressed is not a discrete/boolean/yes or no thing.
IMO super-crisp straight sharp edges of some contemporary styles look equally unappealing to me. I happen to like some subtle forms of distressing.
Most furniture designs incorporate "knocked down" edges and corners to some degree. This is probably the least intrusive of distressing techniques. Have you ever noticed that many factory finishes include a bit of dark or black speckle? Did it ever occur to you that this is actually simulated fly dung? Finishing schedules which darker areas in the recesses are another form of simulated aging.... arguably distressing.
One of the benefits of distressing is that the inevitable dings will blend in better.
My point is that not all distressing is bad and even the over-the-top stuff has it's place in a *some* decorating schemes.
Antique value aside, if I wanted to have a beat-up looking piece...an original work with that much superficial damage is likely to be structurally compromised as well.... at least a reproduction can be built with rock solid joinery.

Not really; it's a style. Everybody regards at least one as really unappealing
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Different styles for different people. I personally dislike it. I put it along side that Mexican furniture that is stained with used motor oil and has rusty worn out hinges and knobs.
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Depends on the project. I posted a project on abpw of a door that I distressed by scraping, dinging, oil, and wax. I thought it looked appropriate for the situation.
Tom Plamann

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wrote:

Had a job to match the new cabinets to the existing; a butler's pantry from the 20's, with a pale yellow paint overlaying a white lead primer.
It was a very interesting exercise to replicate the wear marks around the pulls and those along the bottoms of the doors.
There were existing rub aways that went from yellow to white to bare wood in a particular way and they were fussy to reproduce on the new items.
I found that introducing the appropriate character marks into the finish and getting the rub away parts just right was a very exacting exercise.
The jelly glass knobs were damned difficult to find too and I sweated them for a bit before finding a perfect match at an architectural salvage shop, for $15.00 a piece.
The hinges and catches were still in production and only needed to be tumbled a bit before fitting in.
I've never distressed a a stand alone piece intentionally but I've found that distressing to match existing is a fine piece of finishing work.
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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wrote:

Yeah, but you are a craftsman with an eye for detail and a keen eye for design. Your pieces fit. Distressing for the sake of distressing is, well, distressing.

+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Todd the wood junkie wrote:

visited many years ago. There was a marvelous staircase whose rails had been distressed by a previous owner. Now these rails may have been 100 or more years old and had been worn and smoothed by countless customers. Is there any reason that some diddley-dip would attack this with whips and chains?     grump for today,     jo4hn
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IMHO, it's just a matter of personal taste. In *some* settings I like a well done piece of distressed furniture. Part of the fun is creating the piece. You start with clean shiny wood and end up with something that looks well used.
What I do not like is where someone will go to a furniture store and buy a premade piece and then distress it. I believe it has to be part of the design. There's a pix of a wine cellar door posted on ABPW that shows a beautiful effect.
Another effect I like - I made a small, typical kitchen wall unit - couple of small shelves and two small drawers out of pine. Painted it with a dark blue flat, then a coat of a rust red flat and finally an off white flat. Dinged it a bit with some chain and then scuff sanded the corners to simulate wear showing the blue and red paint beneath. Was very well received. I had NO problem in roughing up the edges of something that I had planed and sanded smooth. It was part of the design and, to me, that's the key.
Just MHO, Vic
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On 1 Aug 2006 05:06:47 -0700, "Todd the wood junkie"

A friend and I were walking through a high end furniture store to get some dimensions and detail ideas for Queen Anne bedroom furniture we were in the process of building. Happened upon a collection spnsored by Bob Timberlake, an artist. It was distressed. After careful inspection we concluded it was so they did not have to use select hardwoods. Pin knots, sap wood strains, and other various defects did not show after they had taken a bicycle chain to it.
Have to pay a premium for that second class wood.
Frank
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Doesn't bother me a bit. I think it looks like crap and if somebody wants crap, fine. Don't get it around me though.

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A buddy of mine agreed to replicate Pottery Shack furniture for his next-door neighbor. He only used white wood from a warehouse store, but did a gorgeous job; the knotty wood looked great. Came time to distress it, and he couldn't do it. Handed the hammer to his wife and walked out of the shop.
Turned out looking quite nice, but I'm with my buddy.
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Tue, Aug 1, 2006, 5:06am (EDT-3) of_the snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Toddthewoodjunkie) doth lament: This is plaguing me. <snip> I naturally think it's a bad idea. <snip>
I pretty much agree. 99% of the time someone takes perfectly good furniture and turns it into crap. Unless something really old was made like crap in the first place it normally doesn't survive looking as beat up as most "distressed" furniture does. I will admit, there are exceptions, few and far between, say for restoring a really old home. But, the "artistes" don't know what they're doing and just wind up going waaaay overboard, and just turn decent furniture into crappy looking "stuff". Did I mention I hate "artistes"?
The other day I was going thru a magazine listing farous peoples work for sale. Included, and listed at a hefty price I might add, was some "primitive" furniture. It had been thru the "distress" process, sanded paint, et al. I've seen better paint jobs on 75 year old cars that've never been repainted. Bad enough, but you look at the stuff and you see gaps, poor fits, etc. Besically it looked like somehing very poorly made, used very hard, with no atempt at being maintained, then tossed, and pulled out of a dump somewhere, cleaned up, and put up for sale.
I've got a child's rocker at home, bought new in the 1940-41 period by my parents for me. It looks aged, yes; and it's probably had some hard use, but it's sill in excellent condition, and doesn't look distrssed - just looks old. I like it and I like it's looks. If I were to make a similar one I would make one that looks new, and let it look aged on it's own.
Somehow I kinda think that the people who lived in a house 100-200 years ago, say that their family had already been living in for a few hundred years, when they bought a new chair, to go along with their maybe 100+ year old furniture, they bought a new looking chair, and didn't worry about it looking new and not matching their old furniture. Buy the furniture to match the style, and color/hue, yes; to match the wear, no. I would much rather go thru an old house, with original old furniture, and maybe a few well made and non-distressed replacement pieces than to go thru such a house with a new "distressed" replacement piece.
Way I figure it, anything I make, you look at it and you can tell it's new. Might be made in an old style, with old style decoration, but still definitely can tell it's a new piece, and most definitely not beaten up. Someone buys it, they can do whatever the Hell they want to to it.
JOAT Politician \Pol`i*ti"cian\, n. Latin for career criminal
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Todd, Why do you get distressed over hateful furniture?
Marc
Todd the wood junkie wrote:

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marc rosen wrote:

told me is that it represents a lack of discipline for truely 'earning' something.
I tried to express to my wife that if you build a piece of furniture, and use it for 100 yrs, you have a real family antique with dings and patina that are 'earned' slowly over time. It's priceless. Each ding may have a story, or serves at least of a reminder of something emotional. If you take a piece of furniture and ding it up, you have neither an antique nor a new piece of furniture.
Maybe It's like taking a notebook and trying to write your life's journal in one day, because you think it's trendy to have a journal. No substance, no real age to the story.
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What's to "earn" in looking to achieve a particular visual effect? That sort of implies that to do it right one should go buy a nice piece of furniture and then methodically, but slowly over time, use and abuse it so that eventually it will look beat.

People that buy distressed furniture are not looking to keep a piece for 100 years. There seems to be a big gap in folks' understanding about what consumers are looking for and what they happen to think is the romantic treatment of a hunk of wood. Those dings that are so admired as signs of an antique are more times than not simply signs of neglect and poor treatment. There is nothing more noble about that than there is about the consumer who wants to simply go out and buy that distressed look.

Agreed (with the last part), but so what? What makes the antique nature of something compelling? For those of us that value antique, it's kind of a no-brainer, but not everyone does. Consumer's preference for simple visual effect is no less noble or valid than the false romantic value that is being assigned to damage over time. Frankly, I do not find that old furniture which has been poorly cared for is somehow romantically attractive. It's just a matter of taste.

If I could do that, I might consider that to be just as valid as having done it over time. Think about it - my thoughts are my thoughts whether expressed over too many years, or expressed in a sitting.
I can see that the concept of age and time are very important to you. That's fine - it's a preference and is just as valid as any other. Though... as a preference it's no more valid than any other. Let those other folks like the stuff. There's no need to defend a case against the stuff. You can't defend a case against preferences. All you end up doing is demeaning the things that aren't to your particular liking. Hell - you like or dislike something... that's all there is to the subject. No need to concoct reasons why the other idea is lesser.
It's just like the big boob/small boob thing. Those guys like Swingman that like melons really don't know what's truly fine, but hell if big, ugly, bloated ta-ta's make them happy, well that's fine. What do they know anyway?
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"Mike Marlow" wrote in message

LOL...
There ya go again ... got me pegged all wrong.
To set the record straight, and according to my renown and highly developed, discriminating tastes in this regard (IIRC, I scored very high on the "Fake or Real?" test posted here sometime back), my preference rates _shape/contour_, over size.
IOW, and to keep your contextual reference intact, pears over melons, please.
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