Trim works in the same way as picture frames do for paintings. It creates a clean finished line around a room, door or window. It typically consists of door and window casings, baseboard and aesthetic moldings. It comes in a variety of standard profiles and sizes, but for a rustic appearance, you can make your own. Instead of buying processed trim and moldings that all look the same, impart rustic ambiance by using natural woods. A do-it-yourselfer who can operate a table saw, use a miter box or knows the workings of a router has the skills to make his own trim.
Aged barn wood gives the wood a weathered gray appearance that combines well with most any color scheme pulled from nature. To find barn wood, hunt through rural communities for broken-down barns, and ask permission to remove some of the wood from the barn's owner. You can also visit specialty wood supply or home improvement stores, as they often stock reclaimed barn wood or can obtain it for you. Since the majority of planks from old barns are wider than trim, you can cut several trim boards from one plank, after removing old nails. On a table saw, rip barn wood planks into 2 1/2-inch wide pieces for trim. Leave it rough or add a router cut to one edge for a more finished look around doors, windows or baseboards.
Reclaimed lumber consists of used fences, decking or other lumber that's too valuable to go to the landfill. Because it's been nailed to other boards or material, the boards might have a multicolored pattern. Wood that's been shielded from the sun still has the golden color of natural wood, contrasting with the weathered gray where it's been exposed to ultraviolet light. Assemble a collage of colors by stacking pieces together to trim around a fireplace or other architectural feature. You can also cut it into strips for a board and batten appearance on island or peninsula cabinets.
Rough-surfaced lumber has a fuzzy, fibrous face as it comes straight from a mill. Because it's not sanded smooth like dimensional lumber, it is often inexpensive compared with sanded lumber. Some exterior siding panels also have a rough-surfaced texture to them. Look in the exterior fencing or wood section for rough-milled lumber. Rough milled lumber is available in hardwoods, such as oak, ash or mahogany, or softwood versions, as with pine, fir or cedar. Rough lumber can be stained or sprayed with a transparent and lightly colored sealer or with a clear topcoat. This type of lumber works best as baseboards in high-traffic areas, because it can take a beating while still maintaining its rustic appearance.
Cedar and Pine
Pine and cedar have natural rustic charm. Knotty pine, for example, provides country appeal, but it is typically more expensive wood. To avoid paying the high cost, purchase economy pine, or what carpenters refer to as common pine. The wood contains a lot of knots, cracks and color variations. Small, tight-knot smooth-sanded cedar represents another example of rustic trim. You'll find it full of reds, browns and yellows mixed with knots and swirls. Rip either of the two materials into moldings and use them for chair rails, window trim, sills or baseboards.
You can make your own distressed lumber at home to create a rustic trim. Use knives, gouges, hammers, chains or any other tool to create dips, scratches, cuts or dents in the wood. Add an oil-based stain and the wood appears as if it were hundreds of years old. Rejected lumber from a mill is another example of rustic lumber. It consists of the outside edge of a tree that's been sliced off. The edges retain the bark from the tree, giving it an inconsistent, rustic aspect. Use these boards for baseboards, mantles or trim around a fireplace.
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