How to Give Wood a Wire Brush Finish

A wire brush finish is a great way to add more interest and texture to wood. For example, I recently built a couple of bathroom vanities out of solid white oak. The style of the vanities is minimalist with very clean lines. I thought it would be cool to create a contrast by distressing the wood. I did this with a wire brush. The technique is very simple but creates a dramatic effect. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I did it.

Step 1: Pick the Right Wire Bush for Your Project

There are many different wire brushes and many different sizes. Th most typical kind of wire brush has stainless steel bristles. I’ve found that this is the best kind for giving wood a distressed finish. If you are working with a large surface, you should probably use a large size brush. But if your project has small pieces of wood, a smaller brush might work better.

Step 2: Secure the Wood

If you are working with an individual piece of wood versus a piece of furniture, its a good idea to use clamps to secure it to your work table. This will keep it from moving while you are working with it.

Step 3: Brush the Wood

Choose a side of the wood to start on. Work the wire brush in the same direction of the wood grain. The firm bristles of the brush will start to wear away the softer grain of the wood, leaving behind the hard grain. This will create natural looking ridges on the surface giving your wood a distressed texture.

Work your way across the wood until you have brushed the entire surface. Step back and take a look. If you think it needs more texture, repeat the brushing process again.

Step 4: Sand the Surface of the Wood

Wire bushing the wood will wear away the softer grain from the surface, but it can also cause some splinters. Use fine grain sand paper to smooth out those areas.

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  • Reply Annie Maher

    Can you paint after wire?

    January 18, 2022 at 1:57 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Yes, you can.

      February 20, 2022 at 1:57 am
  • Reply Steve Schott

    Looks like you thinned the paint for this project. Is this a water based paint and how much did you thin it (if you did)?

    March 16, 2022 at 6:28 pm
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