Victorian Dinning Room - Painting Faux Wood Grain: Doors, Trim.


Being an historical home, this room has a lot of character hidden beneath the plain blue and white paint. Built in the late 1880s', this was the home of Mr. Philip Freiler. A well to do whiskey merchant who also had a "Sampling Room" in town.
Lots of wood-A pocket door open & porch door
White paint on trim became popular after the Victorian Period. The dark/light blue and white color scheme doesn't bring out the true character of the room.
The Victorians loved color along with natural wood and at times even "Faux" grained wood was the "In" thing to do. Vibrant colors were used throughout. The muted soft tones we now see from items of the period are faded with time, but were once vibrant and full of life.
Original fireplace. This single family home was once cut up into 4 apartments. The owners were brave enough to take on the task of restoring it back to a single family residence & over the years restoring each room as time permits. It's finally time for the Dinning Room!
Eastlake double doors
These Eastlake doors have an incised design cut into each panel, barely visible here. I needed to unify three different finishes: white trim, a stripped bear wood door and a lightly stained door.
The Pocket door has 3 of the 9 panels showing
All wood trim & windows were given the same finish. The doors were given an additional more dramatic wood graining in Silver Oak on the panels. Here you see the peachy colored base coat and the 1st layer of graining on the stiles/rails/trim.
1st layer graining
I like to use various shear layers of color to simulate natural wood and tone it. This trim will be quite dark so this 1st layer has quite a bit of color. This layer is flogged to imitate the pores in the wood.
Porch door with 3 stages showing here
This photo shows the darker wood from the second faux graining. The lighter 1st faux grain (flogged) outlining the panels. The panels show the base color (yellow/beige) for the more dramatic silver oak.
Left panel shows 1st graining-Silver Oak
The process for the panels is different than the darker wood. The left panel has a light coat of shear colored glaze. While still wet the following steps were done: 1.With metal toothed grain combs I first used a wide tooth, drawing lines top to bottom into the glaze. 2. The second combing I used a narrower tooth, held at a slight angle and crossing slightly through the first combing. 3. Final, with a thin felt fabric strip, held tight against the edge of a rounded file, (mine is made of bone) I drew into the wet glaze removing it to create the silver graining and give movement. This is the hardest part which takes practice to make it look organic, not forced, but natural.
Pocke door panels show wet grain figuring
These dramatic panels are wet and show the grain pattern produced with great contrast. Once dry they will lighten in coloring leaving less contrast. After drying multiple shear glaze layers are then used to tone the Silver Oak panels to the desired shade.
Porch door panels lightened with drying
Ready for a protective top coating.
Faux Wood Silver Oak (toned) & straight grain
Detail of silver grain panel with dark incised cuts and dark straight graining. The walls and plaster crown molding portions of this project I will post shortly.
Double doors.

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2 of 6 comments
  • Jen
    on May 25, 2019

    Wow, so talented! I hope you don't mind my asking you about wood-graining. I've been suspecting that there is grained white pine (to look like quarter sawn oak) under the massive amounts of painted wood in my new home. I have little sense of how to figure it out, much less what to do! Even google is a sparse nightmare when searching for (faux) grained wood info. Where should I start, in your opinion? There are 4-6 layers on there now, and the top one is in pretty poor condition. I need to figure out if it's a lost cause to try to get back to the grain, or if this is possible! Would greatly appreciate your thoughts, as you appear to be the best-qualified person I have found online.


    Many thanks!

    -Jen

  • Hi Jen, Thanks for the compliment. I saw your photo with beautiful Tiger Oak, (or Quarter Sawn) it's the real thing! Another area could be the Pine. You never know. We stripped a lot of wood in our 1870's home using Peel Away. It has a waxed paper to apply over the creamed stripper, to keep moist and encapsulate the paint with any lead when you peel the paper away. When I had a really stubborn area, I left this on for two days which worked extremely well. It made the cleanup easier as it became semi dry (but still wet). When lead paint is dry and dusty is when it becomes a breathing hazard. I wash it down with fine steel wood and some TSP, (keep it wet). Our room which was a dining room, with tons of trim painted white ended up being American and European Walnut, but all the doors were Douglas Fir that were grained. Unfortunately you won't know if you removed any Faux Graining until it's too late. No way to control how many layers are coming off. Test in inconspicuous areas. Here is a photo of original Faux Graining of Burled Walnut at a friends house on pocket doors, made of Douglas Fir (about 1870's). Faux Graining was really big in the 1870's and it was a status symbol to be able to afford it, even more so than having the original high end wood itself. Also, did you use "Denatured Alcohol" to try to remove the Shellac. Regular alcohol won't work, curious what you tried. If you are interested in grainin, get books and watch videos and with lots of practice I bet you will be able to grain too. I would be happy to help you with this if you are interested.


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