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How to paint a perfectly “weathered” oar

I have a client who is from Halifax. She misses it so she decorates with coastal touches to remind her of home. She had been looking for oars to hang on her wall.  Not “decorative” oars or mini versions of the real thing, but the real deal. One day we were at Canadian Tire buying camping gear for my son’s school trip to Algonquin Park and lo and behold, hanging on a display were real oars.  They were $17.99 each, which I thought was very reasonable. The problem with new oars is that they are loaded up with varnish. Very shiny. Very tacky.

So I set out to create a “weathered look” with paint that was more of an authentic look than a contrived “faux finish.” I am very pleased with how they turned out and if you want to recreate this look (not just on oars, but anything wood), here are the steps that worked for me.

Step One: Sand oars all over with 80 grit sandpaper until no shine remains.  Wipe down. Sand again with 220 grit to get a nice, smooth finish. Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove dust.

Step Two: Paint oars (with a brush) with Benjamin Moore’s Gull Wing Gray. Make sure to cover completely. Let dry.

Step Three: Brush on Sherwin Williams “Sea Salt.” Apply this color haphazardly. The object is not to completely cover the gull wing gray but to give it a “highlighted” effect. Let dry.

Step Four: Dip a brush in MinWax “Jacobean” stain. Blot brush onto a rag to remove excess stain. Brush stain onto oars in various places “highlighting” certain areas.  Drag your brush to make long stripey strokes. The idea here is to create depth. Immediately use a soft cloth to rub in stain while removing the excess. Let dry.

In the photo below, you can see the difference that the stain makes.

Step Five: After drying overnight, sand with a 220 grit sandpaper to blend everything and give a beautifully smooth finish. In the photo below, the left oar is sanded and the right is not. Sanding does a good job of blending the colors.

There you have it…perfectly weathered oars.

I can’t wait to try this technique on a piece of furniture!

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. They came out great! I have one of those too! Hum??? Thanks for sharing!

    October 19, 2010
  2. Gorgeous. I just ‘antiqued’ a dresser using a similar technique. I had a bit of an issue with the oil based stain drying over the water based paint I used, but it still turned out really nice.

    October 19, 2010
  3. Kim #

    Susan, they are perfect and I love them!! Now the real question is, when I’m holding them, if I click them together will they transport me home? 🙂

    October 19, 2010
  4. Oooohh…I would love to find an old pair to try this on for my fisherman’s mancave!! So happy I stopped by!

    October 19, 2010
  5. I never even thought that you could get oars so cheap and easily from Canadian Tire, but it so makes sense! I’m making some of these for next summer for sure.

    October 20, 2010
  6. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your technique!

    October 20, 2010
  7. The oars look great! Thanks for the wonderful paint tutorial!

    October 20, 2010

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