Firstly thanks for the suggestions about words.  I’m enjoying them – even the silly ones from my family (‘coronation chicken’ anyone?).

Since I posted yesterday, I’ve put a second coat on the chairs.  It looks better: even and clean.  But not that interesting. So I’ve been experimenting on my scraps of wood with:

Raw umber glaze (actually – as it’s such a ridiculously tiny sample, I mainly rubbed on a tiny weeny bit of raw umber paint)

raw umber glaze over grey

You can see even from this rough cut that this colour instantly ages and dirties the piece, which is some of the effect I want.  Worth bearing this one in mind.  Next the shoe polish (why not?  It’s a quick and easy thing to try…)

Unfortunately I would really need light tan, and I only had mid tan, which is very chestnut and too red, and black.  But what the hell, let’s give it a go. 

I just rubbed a tiny bit on with a cloth.  I confess I then added a tiny bit of raw umber too as the red in the mid tan show polish was really offending me.  The shoe polish just rubs in and then reaches a stage where it doesn’t change.  I don’t THINK it would then rub off on a guest’s back…

shoe polish antique glaze

I think if I had the right colours it might be quite effective.  Might use that in another project.  Probably best not for chairs…

So then I found some metallic wax, left over from a previous transformation.  I had it in pewter and silver, and I wondered how that would go.  So I added it to both samples!  (actually, too much came out of the tube, so I just went for it…)

pewter metallic wax antique finish

This is so easy to apply, and it has a nice sheen to it.  I’m definitely going to use this. 

distressing finish on furniture

My only concern is that using it alone will not introduce the yellowing needed for a bit more tonal variety.  The other decision I THINK I’ve reached, is that I’m going to sand these hard with a fine grade sandpaper.  I want to knock back the sheen a bit and I don’t mind if some edges come through as it’ll make the finish more interesting.  The only issue with this decision is that if it doesn’t work, it means another coat of paint….