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As Seen In Decorating Retailer
Oak Graining Technique
Feature from Decorating Retailer, May '94
In this feature demonstration, Greg Frohnapfel shows how you can make an ordinary entryway into a warm welcome area by using faux finishing to create the luxurious look of hardwood.

John prepares the surface with basecoat.
Basecoat is applied over Primer
Greg starts undergraining the finish.
Greg lets the surface dry an then overgrains.
The finishing touches with an overglaxe.

Oak Graining Technique - Step by Step

1. Prime the surface

2. Apply basecoat
Apply two coats of satin finish enamel from the family of yellow-golds.

3. Graining Mixture
When the base coat is dry, combine the ingredients of the thin gouache mixture. Gouache is watercolor artist pigment that dries to a very matte finish and can be re-wet and reworked.

4. Under Graining
Apply mixture with a #28 filbert brush. Quickly "flog" the wet surface by slapping the long bristle repeatedly against the surface. Repeat for each width of the brush and continue until the gouache is so dry that it no longer takes an impression.

5. Overgraining
Use a sable duck writer to individually draw in the darker growth rings.

6. Check Rolling

Roll the check roller along the surface in the direction of the grain. Simultaneously press a 2" brush with gouache on top of the wheels as you move it. Before liquid dries, soften the pores with a badger blender brush.

7. Blend & Glazing
Use a clean #28 or #30 filbert brush to apply the glaze thinly and evenly over the gouache.

8. Combing
Drag a medium-toothed rubber or steel comb firmly through the glaze.

9. Apply clear coat
Allow 24-48 hours drying time before applying and clear protective finishes.

Pro Faux Gouache Mixture:
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup tap water
  • 3-inch squeeze of burnt umber artist gouache
  • 3-inch squeeze of Vandyke brown artist gouache
Pro Faux Overgraining Mixture:
  • Gouache Mixture plus 1-3 inches of ivory black artist gouache
Pro Faux Amber Glaze:
  • 1/3 part polyurethane varnish (matte, satin or gloss)
  • 1/3 part a mixture consisting of equal parts of raw linseed oil and Penetrol
  • 1/3 part odorless mineral spirit
Tool List for the Oak Graining Technique:
  • Rubber Comb
  • Check Roller
  • Lining Fitch
  • Badger Blender
  • Duck Writer
  • Filbert #28 or #30
  • Flogger
  • Hog Hair Softener
  • Over Grainer
  • Mottler
Item List for the Oak Graining Technique:
  • Burnt Umber Artist Gouache
  • Vandyke Brown Artist Gouache
  • Ivory Black Artist Gouache
  • Odorless Mineral Spirits
  • Polyurethane Varnish (Matte, Satin or Gloss)
  • Raw Linseed Oil
  • Penetrol

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