We had a mantle made, box beam shaped, out of new knotty alder. We would like it to have an old anitqued look to it. What can we do to antique it?
Distress; stain; glaze; sand through corners and edges; stain sand-throughs a lighter color so wood doesn't look brand new. Do a nice non-glossy/non-plastic-y finish (shellac and wax rubbed w/steel wool). This will give an antiqued natural finish effect.
2nd idea: paint one color. Paint over with milk paint in another color. Rub edges and corners with steel wool to wear away some milk paint. Wax with dark brown-colored Briwax. This will give an antique 2-toned painted effect.
Just to add a bit to the prior post.
Get a length of chain and hit the piece of wood with it here and there for some dents.
Take a drywall screw and lay it down flat and tap the threads into the wood to create marks.
An icepick or awl will give you strategically placed marks.
As has already been stated get rid of, sand off or plane, any sharp corners or crisp edges.
Remember that you want to simulate wear and tear.
You can also drive in a nail here and there and then remove to create nail holes.
Stain will work for you to help add an aged effect but I prefer to use a colored wax such as Briwax.
Just rub it on, let it dry, and buff off.
I've even been known to rub a little dirt on and then clean it up, leaving the stain behind.
There are lots and lots of different ways.
All above are good ideas, at this point it depends upon just how you want it to look. If you need to see some ideas, see http://www.amazon.com/American-Country-Furniture-Projects-Workshops/dp/0878579168/ref=sr_1_1/104-9822440-3198333?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192277669&sr=8-1
Maybe you can find it at your library. The last couple of chapters have lots of step-by-step directions and ideas.
If you are going to do physical distressing (holes, dents, screw marks, etc.), I'd suggest going slow, as it's easy to get too carried away. You can add more easily.
Maybe check out some furniture stores that carry distressed furniture (e.g., country furniture) to see what and how much they do.
lightly sand the whole thing to get rid of any rough spots.
Then using a sander go kind of heavy on the corners and a few places on on the edges (create wear effect).
Next, stain it any color wood stain. I like Provincial.
Give it at least an hour or two and paint it VERY quickly. Spray it if possible. With the paint wet use a piece of dowel rod (maybe 6 inches) and rub it over the places that you sanded heavy. Wipe the dowel between each spot with a rag.
Finally put a protective coat over it.
The wear places will show stain color below.
You don't have to get picky with getting the stain perfect as it will be top coated with paint anyway.
This looks pretty cool with black paint.