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A scratch builders delight . . .

This fence is the entrance to a farm on my way to work and it has always intrigued me.  The really distinct way that the paint has come off the weathered wood is something I have tried to copy on my models with little or no great success.

That is until I came across Chuck Doan's website at  and his "Barn & Tractor" diorama.  


How to duplicate Chuck's results down here in Australia with the age old problem of what is called something in the States may not exist down here or maybe under a different brand name or have the same name but different properties to here, or we don't hold our tongue the right way down here! I also wanted to make the method as simple as possible and be able to get consistent results every time using only locally available products.

FIRST - The grey base stain

This method I have used for years with great success, and I have explained elsewhere in this web-site, but I repeat it here to save you having to refer back to it. The main ingredient is RUBBING ALCOHOL, with the brand I use called "ISOCOL", which comes in a 345ml bottle, which I buy at my local supermarket (it is also available at chemists). The second ingredients are ARTISTS PIGMENTED INKS in SEPIA and BLACK. The brand I use are made by "ART SPECTRUM", are made in Australia, and are available at most art supply outlets. The other items you will need are a glass jar of at least 400ml, a 500ml measuring jar, a syringe (with no needle!) which has measurements and some spare wood and a brush for tests.

Into the glass jar (approx. 400ml), pour in 250ml of the ISOCOL, and with the syringe add 16ml of the SEPIA ink and 8ml of the BLACK ink. Stir well and do a test piece to check it is the colour you prefer. You can add any of the three ingredients to achieve the colour stain you prefer. My result can be seen at left.

To prepare the timber before staining, I use a fine toothed EXACTO saw and run it down each face to impart a grain effect. This also breaks the smooth surface of the timber and allows the stain to absorb well. You can also add more distressing with a wire brush, dental probe or knife to further distress the timber. Now, simply apply the stain to the timber with a flat brush and put aside to dry - this should only take 10-15 minutes.

SECOND - The peeling paint

The first step is to liberally paint the surface(s) that are to have the peeling paint effect with MINERAL TURPENTINE - I use "LOW ODOUR TURPS" which I obtain from the local supermarket. This turps does have no odour, which makes the wife happy when I use it! Allow this coat to fully dry, which doesn't take long to do.

The second step is to paint a thick layer of a water base paint such as Tamiya or Jo Sonya over the area to have the peeling paint effect and allow to fully dry. It is best to select a light colour like white or beige which will contrast with the grey timber.

The final step uses the fine toothed EXACTO saw which you lightly drag up the grain we impart earlier. This breaks the paint up into tiny bits, even though it is still attached to the wood. Now, using a very strong sticky tape like gaffer tape or 100mph tape, wrap a piece around your first finger and heavily pat the paint. Tiny bits will come off onto the tape. Continue until you have removed the required amount of paint.

Below is a photograph of some finished samples

To finish off, you can continue to weather the timber with the dental probe, especially at the bottom of the board where dry rot is starting to set in. Also, another coat of the stain can be applied, as it will soak in where there is no paint, giving more contrast with the paint.

Remember that paint is less lightly to be effected where it is protected by over hangs etc.