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Since it's a cutting board, I would just tell them that it will start looking distressed when they start using it. Beyond that you can hit it with a chain, a board with nails sticking through it for the wormhole look, etc. Just beat the snot out of it, then give it a coat of mineral spirits. Make sure whatever you do to inflict damage is random so it doesn't look like its distressed on purpose.

Since it's a cutting board, you really don't want a stain. At the very least, make sure whatever finish you apply is food safe. If it doesn't state that on the can, get something else.
 

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3 Jacks 2 Nines
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"distressed" doesn't seem like a good description. I would ask for a picture. Otherwise maybe 60 grit sandpaper and a sledgehammer. Also the more dents you put in there, the more places for bacteria to grow... yum.. bacteria...
 

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I don't do random real well but the couple times I did a distressed look it involved a rusty chain, some nails, and a blow torch. Beat the crap out of it, put nail holes, and a cool look was to heat a nail and make holes/burns....made it look like a really old hole.
 

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I look distressed most of the time from 6:30 to 3 monday thru friday, but I don't know how to transfer that look to a cutting board.
Pour some whisky and grind a few cigarette butts on it.
 
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Punching above his weight
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I would say distressing the cutting board is a bad idea.

As was mentioned above, any hole or scratch you put in it is not going to do well with a raw chicken.

Try taking it home and making a couple meals with it. I'd imagine that would do it.
 

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I have done it before to a butcher block island, over sand it with a belt sander then a RO sander in the area where the cutting would be. Make a depression in that area and slightly toward the edge, just like it would look if it was used for 30 or 40 years of cutting in the same spot. Then use mineral oil or butcher block oil and just pour it on and let it soak in.
 

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Artist and not a curator
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Look at it at real serious like... Then tell it that you saw its daughter at the strip club and she was "hanging out".
 

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hack of all trades
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They must not cook because anyone whose going to do a lot of cooking would probably want to start with a fresh one. But definitely hit it with a torch! Just don't beat it up so bad that you break your glueup!
 

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Give a few good whacks with a "sledge hammer" in different places and that will give a distressed look. It will distress the surface but will not make gouges for food particles to collect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the advice guys but sadly my client decided not to go ahead with it. I'm glad he didn't as I wasn't looking forward to doing the job for fear of botching it.
 

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hack of all trades
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Unless this guy was sleeping on stacks of illegal cash, I can't imagine he was going to throw down a big chunk on a cutting board, so no huge loss. But people do spend big money on some pretty incredible things these days! As crappy as the economy has seemed at times, we should all feel lucky to enjoy all these simple luxuries like pissing into 1.6 gal of drinkable water and flushing!
 
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