Using a Wood Grain Tool
(Note: At the time of this writing the Purdy (Symphony) wood graining tool had a fine serrating comb on one edge and a graduated side grain comb on the other edge, as well as the heart grain rocking pattern in the middle.)
The background grain can be put in first as an undergraining layer or last (as in the video) after the primary grain has been done. There are a couple of simple backgrounds you can use for your graining without buying an assortment of woodgrainng tools and brushes. See Woodgraining Backgrounds
1. Comb the dragged out glaze with the fine comb edge of the rocker tool in a “W” manner, or use the 3 -1 comb if your rocker doesn't have the serrating teeth on the edge of the comb. OR
2. Simply drag out the glaze with a chip brush or a foam brush, and leave it.
Allow this layer to dry for two or three days before graining. (The Old Master's Wiping Stain dries slowly).
Apply the glaze to the sample board and drag it out with the same brush.
A. Lay down the heart grain with the rocker tool.
Note: Variety comes from the speed of the turn of the rocker tool, and if you reverse the rocking direction.
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.
B. Comb out the straight grain with the graduated edge comb of the rocker tool. Don't make all of you wood grain - heart grain. The heart grain is only in the center of a tree limb. There is far more straight grain than heart grain in any tree.
There are three methods of combing the straight side grain with this tool:
1. Single combing. Pull the comb through with the widest tooth closest to the heart grain.
2. Double combing. Pull the comb through then overlap 50% and pull through again. Repeat this until all side grain is combed out.
3. Multiple pass combing with the fine edge of rocker tool.
Note: You can remove the rubber portion off the tool for a flexible comb that can comb out trim and door casings.
C. Serrate the grain.
After combing out the side grain you must serrate the grain with the fine edge of the rocker tool. This is done at an angle of about 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock on the right side of the heart grain and at an angle of about 11 o’clock and 5 o’clock on the left side of the heart grain. The heart grain itself is serrated straight through in a “W” manner.
Variety is achieved by how the tool is used (full rocking / half rocking), by using different rockers (they are not all alike), and by varying the placement of the heart grain. Make full use of "book matching" when doing raised door panels or cabinet doors. It is common in wood working and cabinet making to book match pieces of wood together. That being the case, you can do your heart grain in pairs. Don't make every heart grain the same or it will look mechanical and "formica-like". You can actually get a lot of different rockers, rollers and graining pads if you search the internet for them. Symphony (Purdy) Tools has discontinued the graining pads that they manufactured, you can probably still find some retailer who has some in stock.
Note: On my "to do" list is to see if I can track down the inventor of these pads to see if we can get someone to manufacture them again - this will depend on the patent rights and other legal and production issues etc....., but I would sure hate to see these disappear from the earth.
Variety must be achieved with the straight grain too. The "straight" grain should meander a bit and tail off to one side of the wood piece or the other. Vary it up. Straight grain rubber "combs" can be made from squeegees of different sizes. The spacing and grain width in the straight grain can be varied on each comb making endless variety achievable.