# Wood Graining Tool

#### maccor

##### Member
Many years ago, I used a 'tool' to paint wood grain. It was plastic, had a handle and a curved 'plate' with concentric rings (like growth rings on a tree). Probably 5" wide....I remember it having teeth like a comb on one side. You rocked it back and forth while moving it down the 'board'...I've looked around and can't find one.

Does anyone have a source for something like that? I tried to make one with a cut up carpet tube and hot glue...failed miserably!

Thanks....Mike

#### bcfcst4

##### Member
i'm pretty sure we just got ours from a paint store/ home improvement store. I absolutely love them. everything in the set i designed this year (the crucible) was either wood grained or fake stones. pretty sweet.

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#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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Besides places Van mentioned. Most theater supply places will carry them. Do you have a Michael's craft store in your area? They have a variety of products to check out. Or check out other craft and fabric stores.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Never got used to it myself. Know the technique, couldn't master it. Should be a normal thing to find given even my Mom has one... Go to a real paint store perhaps?

Me, I like really crappy paint brushes and even brooms at times. This or an extra soft touch with dry brushing wood grain.

Never also got good at wet blending my wood grain though if you want a really good and lively one, wet blending is probably the way to go. This given a balance between clear gloss and semi-gloss layers in doing standard graining and the real mixing and blending that goes on with a wet grain...

Have fun with the paint technique. There is also the graining combs and other similar ways to add a grain but I understand the technique if useful for doing the swirls of grain with the asked for tool.

Question than becomes does your grain become swirls or is it for the most part parallel with some perhaps movement in it's grain lines?

Old fir lumber for the most part wouldn't most likely have such cut lines, it would be parallel in this cut being taken from a section of the lumber that was parallel and less near the heart.

Just a thought in at times and dependant upon age and lumber type, it might not have the grain coming together in a wave like thing such as this tool is designed to do.

Also as an observation. You might find that if you want your wood graining ever so much or just slightly more lively, you might add a layer of gold spray paint or gold powder to the mix in giving the wood a bit of reflectivity in color and reality. Otherwise, perhaps cut down a bit on layers of gloss and or perhaps a bit of talc powder or baby powder to sort of dull the graining - again just ever so light that coating. Neither of these your painting, just more an effect on it to liven it up or tone it down as in optimum conditions perhaps added to one of perhaps a few layers of gloss coat that goes between layers of paint. This if not wet brushing or with wet brushing, perhaps added while it's still tacky.

Wet brushing from my experimentations so you get the variation in color between color choices but some lack of ability to control graining. Perhaps wet brushing if closer to the audience... perhaps but two very different techniques.

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#### Van

##### CBMod
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True most of the graining tools really do a great job of emulating fir and pine. It takes a heck of a touch to pull off oak, poplar, ash or any of the other tight-grained woods. I once wood grained an entire saloon set for a show called "west of Pecos" **** I spent over 30 hrs wood graining on that show! It looked nice though, if I say so myself. It was one of my first major scenic painting jobs as a senior in High school. I did it with a finger brush and spent a ton of time blending adding knot holes then washing it all down as Ship mentioned with layers of wet blending.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Great paint brush for a stage in dry or wet is a street sweeper broom. One of them brooms that have less bristles and the bristles are hard and thick. This amongst other types of push or wisk broom from rat tail to fan brush.

All depends upon the situation and there is always a sharpee for the actual knots and board diviations. Worrying about being "too natural" looking is also often the largest problem. This much less lighting it the wrong way.... urr, are you really going to side light it?

Another sort of wet/blend take off would be to let one layer dry, add another one above it. Let it dry, and perhaps add a third. Experiment with clear gloss between layers.

Than use something like a 24 grit sand paper, rake or other mechanism to remove some of the layers of paint into your graining parallel nature. This scratching will reveal the under layers and also add three dimensional texture to the surface.

Finish up such a technique with a few layers of clear gloss or semi or flat gloss paint to seal it up. This if not adding even more dry brush tint.

As similar to wet blending, the thicker the layer when sort of scratching away to reveal the under layers, the more dimensional you get. As opposed to true wet blending on the other hand, the layers don't mix in mixing colors and blending between layers, instead you reveal what you can for as deep as you can.

This especially if bold jumps in color between layers could have less a washed out effect and instead a more refined lumber look at a distance given the more bold jumps between colors right next to each other. this beyond the added texture.

Lots of techniques to play with and often dependant upon the proximity of the audience and how much prescence you want the lumber to have by way of it say being lumber and it really being lumber...

#### gafftaper

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Don't want to drag it out too much but a few more comments. I like the various wood grain tools for detailed work that will be close to the audience or on furniture. For large scale painting that doesn't have to be too perfect I like to do a wet blend, let it dry then go back and dry brush grain into it (similar to what already has been covered).

One of my favorite tools for dry brushing are those cheap piece of crap $1 chip brushes. It takes a little time to prepare the brush... because you need to really trash it first. I take scissors and thin the brush out to about half it's normal thickness. Take it and scrub concrete with it. Paint with it and only partially clean the paint out, let it dry. The goal is thin, stiff, and scraggly. You've got the ultimate dry brush tool. #### Van ##### CBMod CB Mods Premium Member ......... One of my favorite tools for dry brushing are those cheap piece of crap$1 chip brushes. It takes a little time to prepare the brush... because you need to really trash it first. I take scissors and thin the brush out to about half it's normal thickness. Take it and scrub concrete with it. Paint with it and only partially clean the paint out, let it dry. The goal is thin, stiff, and scraggly. You've got the ultimate dry brush tool.
Yeah ! that's what I mean by a finger brush. I love that! I think there was a thread not too long ago where somebody was asking about how to get dried paint out of a brush I remember people < was it you gaff ? > saying, "Hey don't throw it out!" There are a ton of uses for old brushes.

#### gafftaper

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Yeah ! that's what I mean by a finger brush. I love that! I think there was a thread not too long ago where somebody was asking about how to get dried paint out of a brush I remember people < was it you gaff ? > saying, "Hey don't throw it out!" There are a ton of uses for old brushes.
Not me but I certainly agree. By the way a fun side story to illustrate the point. I had one of the worlds most incompetent people sign up for credit with the college to "help" build a set. Great. So she comes in and we gradually determine she's not good at anything. I try over and over to teach her any skills... she's just not capable of doing anything with her hands. So finally, I put her to work painting a bench figuring I'll repaint it later (plus the set is a weathered old west theme so she can't hurt it). Plus I gave her a chip brush figuring she can help break in a new wood graining tool. She takes the brush dips it in paint and proceeds to hold the brush PARALLEL to the surface she is painting, scrubbing the paint into the wood in a swirling pattern with the side of the brush. I come along about 20 minutes later to check on her. After I pick my jaw up off the floor in shock at her "technique"... I assumed every college student knows which direction to point a paint brush... I realized it was so bad of a technique it actually looked pretty good.

SO, looking to put a weathered coat of paint on... get a cheap chip brush, dip the brush unevenly in the pain, and scrub the wood with the brush held parallel to the surface.