Plain sawing of Oak is the most common method of making oak boards, furniture, and cabinets etc... today. The plain sawn method cuts straight through the "log". This type of cutting exposes a center grain known as "heart" grain, and side grain to each side of the heart grain. The center grain is the repeating "M' type of pattern with it's numerous variations. The side grain is straight grain, but unlike quartersawn oak in which the straight grain is equal distant, the straight grain of plain sawn oak is graduated from wider spaced to narrower spaced the further the side grain is from the center "heart" grain.
You will also need:
- Foam brush for applying the B I N primer
- 2" latex paint brush for applying glaze to the board
- 2" or 3" brush to dry brush dragging out the glaze
- 1 Qt. 1-2-3 Bullseye Deep Tint primer tinted to match Sherwin Williams SW2327 color (see below for tinting instructions).
- 1 Qt of B I N pigmented shellac primer
Graining Pads. Used to create heart grain. There are several variations of these. The fastest method to create heart grain. The pads are wrapped around a piece of PVC pipe and slowly rolled while dragging through the glaze.
Graining Rollers. These are similar to graining pads and used the same way, the difference is that these are formed in a roll so you don't need to wrap them around anything.
Liner Brush Used to draw the grain on the surface.
Check Roller Creates thin pore marks on a flogged or combed background.
Steel Combs Good for quarter sawn Oak, straight grain and to serrate the grain in Oak.
Other tools commonly used for Plain Sawn Oak:
Modern Masters TIntable Glaze
We will practice graining on a sample board
Sample Board Instructions:
For sample board preparation you will need to prime the front of the board to water proof it which will help to prevent the board from curling when you apply the base coat.
Use the foam brush and apply the BIN primer to the sample board. Brush in the direction of the wood grain, which in this case will be from top of the board to the bottom
Base coat color should be similar to this color chip
Sample Board Instructions:
Prime and base coat your sample board with Bullseye 1 2 3 deep tint primer - match it to the base coat color sample shown here, apply two coats allow the first coat 1 hour to dry before applying the second.
Real life application tip
Bullseye will stick to most glossy surfaces. If you are going to grain over a oil base painted glossy surface, clean the surface with "Dirtex" or a no rinse type of cleaner then prime it with "Coverstain" first before base coating with 1 2 3 Bullseye
Fast Dry Base Coating
The base coat is the beginning of the wood grain process and serves as the background for your wood graining. For the most part I use nothing but quick drying primers for base coats. Ideally you want a base coat that you can grain over in an hour or so. The base coat / primers I use for fast graining are Zinsser’s Bullseye 123 which is a latex primer, or B-I-N pigmented shellac depending on the surface that is being base coated and which graining glaze I am using. These primers are tinted for the purpose of base coating.
Base coats can be applied with a roller on large areas but should always be “laid off” with a brush in the direction of the wood grain to follow. Roller stipple under your graining will make it look as fake as a three dollar bill , so always brush on your base coat or roll it on and lay it off with a brush.
If you are going to be using the Modern Masters latex Tintable Glaze which I recommend, you should base coat with Zinsser’s Bullseye 123. If you are needing longer working time and want to use an oil glaze for the extra working time it allows or want a premixed glaze you will be wanting to use the Old Masters Wiping Stain and then you will want to use B-I-N as your base coat with the oil glaze - unless the surface you are graining is a surface that shellac primer (B-I-N) is not suitable for such as surfaces that flex. See the label and data page for B-I-N and use it on the surfaces that it is suitable for only.
Allow the base coat to dry two hours minimum drying time (if using Bullseye deep tint) before proceeding to the next step of under glazing.
Under Graining - The Background Grain
Color Matching Rules
- Base Coat should match the lightest color in the wood you are imitating.
- Glaze color should match the darkest color in the wood you are imitating.
Tiniting with Universal Tints
To tint your glaze you can either do it yourself or have the paint store that you bought the glaze from tint it. If you are new at this it is best to have the paint store do this.
To match to the glaze swatch for our sample board you will tint your quart of Modern Masters glaze with
* 1oz Raw Sienna (or deep gold if using Sherwin Williams tint)
* 1/2 oz Burnt Umber
* 1/2 ox Raw Umber
This formula will get you close enough to the swatch for our sample board purposes. I use "Cal Tints" to do my own matching with measuring cups / spoons to measure out the tint.
Different tints will be stronger than others so when matching for a particular wood match you may need to spend a little bit of time with this step.
Don't add too much tint. The glaze will not dry or cure properly if over tinted. Too much tint in your glaze will also make the glaze too opaque and paint-like which is not good for glazing. If you are too opaque just add clear glaze to your mix to thin it back down and get the glaze back to the proper transparency. You want the transparency of a "semi - transparent stain" not like that of a "solid stain".
Use Old Master's Wiping Stains if you would rather avoid this tinting procedure. The Wiping Stain works well for a wodgraining glaze. When matching with pre-mixed stains you will buy a few different colors that are close to your desired match and you will intermix those colors (rather than tinting) to get your match. Note: make sure you make enough stain/glaze to get you through the whole job when mixing this way as it will be harder (not impossible) to rematch without a tint formula.
Sample Board Instructions:
Apply the glaze in the direction of the wood grain. In the case of your sample board apply glaze from top to bottom of the board. Do not apply too much glaze to the board, it is best to keep it thin and "stretch" the glaze out with a dry brush after applying the glaze, this will keep the background light as it should be. Wipe your brush dry in a paper towel (if using a latex glaze such as Modern Masters glaze) after dragging it through the glaze every few strokes.
After dragging the glaze you will comb your dragging with the 3 in 1 comb in a "W" pattern to cut through and break up the dragging. The "W' pattern is a short 3 or 4 inch pattern, don't go all the way from top to bottom with the "W". After you have broken up the dragging on the whole board, you can (optional) check roll the board in the direction of the grain from top to bottom.
Check rolling is a positive application technique, so you will have to "ink" the check roller with a foam mini roller - kind of like the way a printing press works. To ink the roller first get glaze on the foam roller in the usual manner as you would in a roller tray as if you were going to roll a wall with it. Next, you will place the foam roller on the check roller so that the foam roller is in contact with the teeth of the check roller. On a piece of paper towel, roll out a few passes to work off any excessively heavy glaze. Now, move over to your sample board and do the same in one motion from bottom to top of the board without stopping. Continue this over the whole board while trying not to overlap your check rolled sections.
Fine Flogged Backgroud on sample board
Graining - The Primary Grain
Glaze: Same as for under graining
Heart graining with a "rocker"
The rocker tool is a negative / removal graining tool. The glaze is applied to the surface and then removed with the rocker.
To commence with the primary graining you will first apply the glaze to the whole board and the heart grain produced with either of the following methods:
The half rocking motion
The rocker is pulled toward you (it is never pushed away). The rocker starts with the handle straight up - 180 degrees up from the board. As the rocker is pulled toward you - you rotate the handle slowly down toward the surface. You are rotating and pulling at the same time.
The full rocking motion
The full rocking motion rotates the tool down then back up (hence the name "rocker") as you pull it toward you in one fluid motion. The full rocking motion will reverse the grain pattern and put a knot it the middle of the reversal. A smooth unbroken motion will give you the best looking grain.
Above is a plain sawn panel with the two tools used to produce the two types of grain. There is one center heart grain which in this case is produced by the rocker tool. To each side of the heart grain is the "side" grain. The side grain is straight and graduates in spacing from larger (closer to the heart) to smaller (as it proceeds from the heart grain).
Adding the side grain
After the heart is has been executed. the side grain is added to each side with the duplex rubber comb. Pull the comb parallel to the heart with the widest teeth toward the heart grain.
Reverse the comb after one pass. When using the duples comb you will go from wide to narrow spacing as previously mentioned. If you need a second pass (as you would on the above sample to the left of the heart grain because the area to be grained is wider than the comb), on the second pass, reverse the comb so that you are going from narrow back to wide spacing.
Whisking the grain
If you look at Oak, you will see that the grain lines are not solid lines, but serrated. The tool used to serrate the grain lines is the 3 in 1 comb.
Using the fine edge of the comb ,the side grain is serrated in a short whisking movement. The left side of the heart grain is whisked in a 11 o'clock - 5 o'clock direction, and the side grain to the right of the heart grain is whisked in a 1 o'clock - 7 o'clock direction.
The heart grain is whisked in a 12 o'clock - 6 o'clock direction. Spend a little extra time whisking out the apexes of the heart grain and be sure the ends are well serrated. Wipe your comb as needed to prevent smudging caused by picking up glaze and laying it back down with the teeth of the comb in open areas of your graining.
Author's Note: If you want to become proficient in Oak woodgraining you will want to understand how to grain both quartersawn and rift sawn oak also. Rift and quartered oak is done with steel combs, and this type of grain can be used in combination with plain sawn grain. The advantage of quartersawn graining is that the steel combs will get into little nooks and crannies that a rocker, graining pad or rubber comb won't.
Lastly, with the above methods you can do positive graining application of either plain sawn or quarter sawn oak. This will allow you to grain anything anywhere (in oak), you won't be stuck doing just flush doors and flat easy-to-do surfaces.
The Positive Oak Application "how to" article will follow as I am able to get to writing it. You will find it referenced here once it is written.
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Woodgrain rocker demonstration 2
Woodgrain rocker demonstration 1
Woodgrain rocker demonstration 3
Oak woodgrain door on the left to match the real oak door on the right
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