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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I want to build a headboard for my daughter and she sent me a pic of what she likes. I was actually going to make it out of some reclaimed wood, maybe from wooden skids which tend to be red oak. She is into that distressed reclaimed look! My concern is whether red oak will take a stain that well or should I look at another wood like white oak. I have attached the pic she sent me. Your thoughts?
 

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Both red and white oak stain well. If I chose to use oak and wanted the distressed/rustic look, I would probably buy #1 common rather than select and better, or FAS. #1 common will have more defects, look for tight knots, mineral steak... You may also want to use rift cut, or quarter sawn as the rays in the wood will be much more evident. Take a trip to a hardwood lumber yard and hand select to get what you want.
 

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In the pictures it appears to be a paint, or maybe even a pigmented dye stain. I'd go soft maple, lay down the color and distress by sanding and wire brush. Then seal it with a clear coat.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, yeah I couldn't tell what type of material they used, I always thought that maple didn't stain as well as other woods but maybe a softer maple is different?
 

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How about pine?
One distressing trick is to take a bunch of old keys on a wire loop and beat the wood with it, this makes as many random dings and dents as you like.
 

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If this is the look you want select the least expensive grade/most "beat up" wood you can get and save money.
The checking and defects will come free and you'll save time by not having to simulate them.
Looks like a wide growth ring/contrasting wood, oak, ash, even yellow pine would work, grain too course to be maple.
Stain it light brown, let dry, then paint it with thinned out latex white.
Before the paint is completely dry rub it back off in spots with wet rag, wire-brush, scratch it up with putty knife, screwdriver, whatever.
Clear-coat with flat finish to seal it.
 

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To me the difficulties in staining maple are myth. Just look at the flooring department next time your in a box store. Can be done quite easy with the right stain and prep. However a dye is or can be easier. I don't think they used maple, just how I would approach it.
 

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I'll guess that whatever wood that head board is made from, it was first stained then a formulated paint 'glaze' was applied. Then comes the fun rubbing and bashing.

All of my living room, dining room and kitchen, cupboards included, was first painted then a textured glaze applied. Far more interesting and appealing treatment than grubby old plain painted walls. Next time you're in a serious paint store, ask about it and the texture tools.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi thanks for your ideas, have any of us ever used an oxidizing stain ( vinegar and steel wool) I never did but after research it seems like it may the stain they used. If so can you give me some tips, I never used it before. Thanks
 

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I've used vinegar and steel wool. It works but is hard to predict. Try it on some scrap to see how it works, it is kinda fun.
 

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Another idea (and popular now) is to use milk paint. which we recently used on a table. It looks very similar to what's in the pic. Just stain the underlying color, usually a dark brown. use a thin milk paint - whatever color. let it dry. and return with sand paper and sand through the chalky milk paint to the stain. It looks great on the table we built and similar to the pic. just an idea.
J
 
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