How to wire brush wood

Written by jim wildman
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How to wire brush wood
Wire brush. (drahtbürste image by Frank-Peter Funke from

A wire brush is an aggressive tool in removing paint or finish from wood. The wire brush will lift the wood fibres and remove soft areas of the wood grain, making the wire brush an aggressive tool that can be used to give wood a worn, distressed appearance. A wire brush is not recommended for refinishing fine woodworking projects.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Safety glasses
  • Wood clamp
  • Painter's tape

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  1. 1

    Put on safety glasses before using a wire brush to protect your eyes from flying debris.

  2. 2

    Secure the wood to keep it from moving. Use a wood clamp to hold small pieces of wood that may move around as you apply the wire brush.

  3. 3

    Use a soft bristle wire brush, working it back and forth in the same direction as the wood grain. This will remove the soft sap wood from the harder wood fibres.

  4. 4

    Tape off any areas that you want to protect from the wire brush, using a few layers of painter's tape. Painter's tape will not leave a residue on the wood.

  5. 5

    Sand the wood with a fine grain sandpaper to remove any burs or splinters left behind by the wire brush. The wood is now ready to be stained and finished to your taste.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not work against the wood grain. The wire brush will leave deep groves in the wood when used across the grain.

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