Weathered lamps

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These weathered lamps were painted to match a wall finish that we previously had done in a rustic ranch in the Hampton’s, Long Island.

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The lamps arrived at the shop.  They had a natural wood look, but unfortunately, they were waxed.  So the first step is to remove the wax.  Good old baking soda mixed with water acts as a wax remover.  The abrasive nature tends to cut through the layer pretty well.

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Then we used a wax wash to remove the last bits of wax residue.

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Using 120 grit sandpaper, we cut through the surface over every inch to ensure a solid grip for the paint.

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Here it is after sanding – lots of labor before even a drop of paint is applied!

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The next step:  Shellac.  Here is the mixture I made.  Half amber shellac and half sanding sealer (sealer adds a comfortable open time to the quick drying shellac) plus 5% of denatured alcohol to thin down the mixture.

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This mixture is applied methodically and quickly.  Shellac will seal the surface of any remaining wax and prime the piece for painting.

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The base coat is a grey, flat, latex paint.

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Dry brushing is next.  We have specific tooth spalters that are used for dry brushing.  When a brush has spent years in the field and the bristles are worn, it graduates to becoming a “dry brush.”  These brushes are perfect because they’re stiff and irregular.  From a palette, I load up the brush with a very conservative amount of paint.

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The key to dry brushing is a light touch.  Gently drag the brush over areas to create a quick weathering effect.

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Usually I would use a spatter brush, but I used a tooth spalter and a palette knife to spatter some color to the lamp

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By using a round badger (which is the perfect brush for smoothing small spaces), I softened the spatters so they don’t look like drops of paint

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Using a tone that would mimic raw wood, I dry brushed the edges and other areas that would be worn with a medium flat brush

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Using a long, pointed liner, I created cracks.

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Then, to really punch up the drama, I added a shadow and highlight to the cracks and chips.

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Here it is finished. Both lamps were done at my shop and shipped back to the room I did in the Hampton’s 2 months prior.  How did I know the lamps would be spot on?

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This is the answer – my notes.  This recipe card was all I needed to recreate the finish off site and with confidence.  That’s a lesson that saves beaucoup $ in times like these.
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Comments

  1. Great info Pierre. I always enjoy your blog- Very informative and I always learn something from the master of the brush. Thanks again.

  2. Pierre Finkelstein says:

    I got this product called a “wash-away wax” alcohol based product – found in an auto body shop in Florida about 10 years ago. Naptha is a great solvent to use as a substitute, but it’s very strong.

  3. Thanks for sharing, I love to see what others do. I am sure the final result will be superb.

  4. Beautiful, Pierre! Everything around me here seems to be Chalk Painted & Waxed now days! Nice to see something done the “Old World” way by someone like you…thank you!

    Curious,…what is in the Wax Wash ? Some kind of solvent to cut the wax residue…?

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