The Country or 'Shabby' Chic look in furniture is all the rage right now and when this pile of parts came to me I saw an opportunity to show how I do it. For the most part the video covers all the bases but let me cover (or re-cover) a few items:
-Just assume until you can prove otherwise it isn't. If you do buy a test kit remember that some of this painted furniture could have several layers of paint, you need to check them all not just the top one.
-Have something that just doesn't look old enough for you? The best and most simplistic way to simulate use is with sanding. Don't go over the whole piece, that isn't how things get used. In the same vein don't sand randomly either. Stand or sit at the piece and open doors. There might be several spots your hands will naturally grasp when opening, sand those spots. Pretend or imagine yourself had at work, where do your sleeves brush, where do your shoes touch, if you were to drop a knife, a hammer or some other object where would it land? It is easy to take too much and a paint to repaint and condition new paint to match or look old. If you make scratch marks try carefully staining them with a darkish wood stain to hide the fact that they are fresh.
Simulated Tool Marks
-For the most part items from this era were mass produced in early factories. If you go all out giving your hutch simulated scrub plane marks it will look odd. You will have a late 19th century item with tool marks from a 17th century item. It might look old but it will always have that 'just not quite right' feel to it.
-Once you have the ware and abuse you crave try wiping on a wood stain over the paint. Try a stain that both covers and cures like a Danish Oil. Apply more with a cloth to the corners and nooks and buff the center work spaces out. This will help give it that dirty aged look. As always do some testing because it might be hard to fix what you have done.