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MMD > Archives > June 2002 > 2002.06.06 > 05Prev  Next


Grain-Painted Case
By Craig Brougher

Eliyahu Shahar was asking about graining, and Bill Maier gave him the
best answer that can be had about it: Do some reading and then
experiment first.

That being said, I will also add that small work like music boxes have
to use slightly modified techniques to big work like a piano but the
effect is the same, only the grain is smaller on a small box.

I once got a beautiful artcase rosewood upright piano with some fancy
grillwork which I was supposed to refinish. When I stripped it, I
discovered the whole piano was poplar wood, grained to look like
rosewood. A good job nonetheless. So I faux-grained it. I started with
a light basecoat of acid-dye stain in lacquer and put several clear
coats of that. Then I mixed up my own version of "glaze" using my own
rosewood deep- colored dye stain as well as some pigment stains, and
applied it witth a crumpled-up newspaper. It was perfect. After that,
I clear-coated it and the piano was just spectacular, and impossible
to tell from a very expensive grade of rosewood.

The point though is this: You don't need to learn how to use $150
worth of graining tools that are pre-made. Start with a newspaper or
even a wadded-up cloth or leather and experiment first. When you get
the technique down pretty good, then start on the piece. You can wipe
it off if you don't like it. The best advice I can think of is, "Don't
be nervous. Enjoy it. Remember when you fingerpainted? You started with
a clean sheet of paper and started swiping colors on with your fingers
and hands and could make some really interesting shapes and effects
like flowers, etc."

You won't ruin anything. As much as I like to read, I didn't read
anything to learn how to do it. I don't know the history of the "art,"
and nobody showed me how. I just knew what I needed to do, to get
anything "fauxy," and you'll get the hang of it quickly too. The
principle is always the same.

There is a caveat, though. You can use heavily stained lacquer over dry
lacquer as a glaze without adding 'glaze.' What you do is to start with
a much lighter basecoat, or in some cases, no added color in the
basecoat at all, and just do that with the streaking created by the
hand wadded stuff you are going to use to make the grain with. If you
make a mess, take thinner, and remove it, and start over. But practice
doing edges and if you grain inside the box, you will need a homemade
grain wiping tool, like a snipped-up sponge brush with a 30 degree
angled flat tip that will allow you to work outside the box confines.
For inside work and those lacking that deftness naturally acquired
with decades of refinishing, I think I would buy lacquer glaze.

Craig Brougher


(Message sent Thu 6 Jun 2002, 14:12:02 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Case, Grain-Painted

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