By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Practical Graining - With Description of Colors Employed and Tools Used
Author: Wall, William E. (William Edmund)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Practical Graining - With Description of Colors Employed and Tools Used" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

available by Internet Archive (http://archive.org)

      Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See


With Description of Colors Employed and Tools Used

Illustrated by Forty-Seven Colored Plates

Representing the Various Woods Used in Interior Finishing



Grainer to the Trade.

House Painting and Decorating Publishing Co.

Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1890 by
The House Painting and Decorating Publishing Co.
in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.
All Rights Reserved.




Groundworks for graining; graining compared with plain
painted work; removing old paint; mixing ground colors             5


The graining color; imitating simple woods; graining
color for light oak; mixing graining color; applying
the color; representing champs or lights of oak                    9


Quartered oak; overgraining; heart of oak; use of the
check roller                                                      13


Graining oak in distemper; the light veins in oak;
graining ash; putting in heart work; over-graining
ash; ash in distemper; matching white ash                         16


Hungarian ash; burl ash in water color and in oil                 19


Chestnut; colors for graining chestnut; wiping the
hearts and blending; chestnut in water color; bird's-eye
maple; putting in lights and shades; putting in the
eyes; curly or rock maple; silver maple                           21


Satinwood; groundwork for satinwood; putting in the mottling      26


Pollard oak; cherry; cherry in distemper; glue size
for distemper binder                                              27


Black walnut in oil; black walnut in distemper                    31


French walnut burl in distemper                                   32


Mahogany; Honduras feathered mahogany; stippling
in mahogany; feathered mahogany                                   35


Rosewood; the use of the bamboo brush; imitating
rosewood in water color; cypress wood                             37


Hard pine; white wood                                             40


Varnishing over grained work; cracking of varnish
on inside work                                                    42


Graining considered as a fine art; graining sometimes
condemned; the artistic merit of graining                         46


The tools used by grainers; combs; overgrainers;
badger blenders; castellated overgrainers; mottlers;
cutters; stipplers; check roller; fresco bristle
liners                                                            48


Patent graining machines; patent roller process; the
Mason pad; objections to machine graining; stencil
plates; gransorbian transfer process; transfer paper              54


The imitation of carved work, mouldings, etc.                     59


1. Grounds for Graining Hungarian Ash, Maple, Light Ash and Light Oak.

2. Grounds for Graining Chestnut, Dark or Pollard Oak, Black or French
   Walnut, Stained Cherry, Mahogany and Rosewood.

3. Plain or Wainscot Oak, Light.

4. Flaked Oak, Light.

5. Flaked Oak, Light.

6. Heart Growth Oak, Light.

7. Heart Growth Oak, Pencilled.

8. Flaked Oak, Light, Shaded.

9. Heart of Oak, Checked and Shaded.

10. Flaked Oak, Light Shaded.

11. Flaked or Quartered Dark Oak, Shaded.

12. Heart of Light Ash, Wiped Out.

13. Heart of Light Ash Wiped Out and Shaded.

14. Heart of Ash, Dark, Pencilled.

15. Hungarian Ash, Wiped Out and Pencilled.

16. Burl Ash in Water Colors.

17. Dark Ash, Pencilled and Combed.

18. Hungarian Ash, Wiped Out.

19. Bird's-Eye Maple, Overgrained.

20. Chestnut.

21. Bird's-Eye Maple, Mottled Ready for the Eyes.

22. Bird's-Eye Maple with the Eyes.

23. Chestnut.

24. Satinwood Mottled.

25. Satinwood Mottled and Overgrained.

26. Curly Maple Mottled to Overgrain.

27. Curly Maple Overgrained.

28. Pollard Oak.

29. Pollard Oak.

30. Cherry Mottled in Oil before being Overgrained.

31. Cherry Mottled and Pencilled in Oil.

32. Cherry Mottled and Pencilled in Oil.

33. Cherry Mottled and Pencilled in Oil as Finished.

34. Cherry Wiped Out and Pencilled in Oil.

35. Walnut Stipple.

36. Black Walnut Pencilled.

37. Walnut Wiped Out and Pencilled.

38. Curly Walnut.

39. French Walnut Burl.

40. Mahogany Straight.

41. Mahogany Mottled.

42. Mahogany Feathered.

43. Rosewood as Outlined to Overgrain.

44. Rosewood as Finished.

45. Cypress in Oil.

46. Hard Pine.

47. Whitewood in Oil.






The following remarks, while not claiming to be anything new or
startling, will perhaps be of interest to those who seek to improve
themselves in the modern style of imitating the grain of wood. The
ideas set forth in these pages are founded on the observation and
every-day experience of a grainer to the trade who does not claim to be
the best in the world, but who offers his suggestions for the good of
the craft.

Graining is often overlooked in the rage for stained white wood or
olive greens in interior work, but it will always find favor with those
who have experienced its wearing qualities as compared with plain
painted work; for should the varnish be of good quality and not crack,
the work, if properly done, will stand for years and will not fade in
the manner that paint does, and where the work is properly done on new
wood it cannot be chipped off unless the wood is taken off with it. It
can be scoured off, but will not come off otherwise. Where graining is
done over old paint or over work that has been previously grained the
case is different, as, if knocked or bruised, it will chip off to the
coat beneath, and where the work has formerly been white the effect is
very bad and is hard to remedy; but if care is taken when grounding the
work, it may to a great extent be prevented.

In preparing old work for graining one of the first things requisite is
to have the surface made as smooth as possible; this may be done with
sand-paper or--what is better--lump pumice stone.

In case the graining is done over old paint that has cracked the best
thing to do is to remove the old varnish or paint by the application of
a strong solution of washing soda or a weak solution of potash. Some
painters use spirits of ammonia or burn off with a burning-lamp. After
thoroughly softening or removing the old paint or varnish with either
soda or potash, the work should be washed off with a weak solution of
vinegar (about a pint of vinegar to a pailful of water), in order to
remove all traces of the alkali and prevent its future action on the
paint. Some painters think that this is too much trouble and assert
that they cannot get paid for doing work in this way, but in the end it
will prove to be the best way, as it will greatly add to the appearance
and durability of any job so to prepare it. In any case the work should
be thoroughly sand-papered and made as smooth as possible before
receiving the first coat; this, of course, is for old work. The
ground-color should be thinned with about half spirits of turpentine
and half oil, with the addition of sufficient drier for old work, and
oil, with an extra quantity of drier, for first coat on new work, using
some spirits for the second and third coats.

The writer has found by experience that on the cheapest jobs (of
two-coat work) where the wood is sappy and the work has been rendered
rough by the painter using a large quantity of drier in his priming
coat, a much better surface is made to grain over by this method. It
will not spot or look cloudy when rubbed in to grain, as two-coat work
often does on new wood.

A little "elbow-grease" and sand-paper between coats make a vast
difference in the looks of a job when finished, and the ground-work
should always be lightly sand-papered before it is rubbed in by the



In mixing the ground-color for graining never use dry colors where it
can be avoided, as the work will be more or less gritty, and there is
really no saving in their use. A pound of color ground in oil will go
much further than one of dry color, is more easily applied and is much
better to grain over. Of course much depends on the purity of the
colors employed, and the painter will find that the best colors are
none too good for his use, as they go further and work better than do
the cheaper grades. It is a good plan always to strain the color before
thinning, whether the colors used be dry or ground.

The foregoing may seem superfluous to the good workman, as he himself
has probably found out more than this; but it may put some beginner on
the right track, and none of us are expert enough to miss learning a
point if we can.


The ground-work for oak is made by adding yellow ochre to lead till the
color is deep enough. In matching the real wood a _little_ raw umber
will help to bring it to the desired color, but is better without the
umber for light work.

In matching very light oak chrome yellow may be substituted for ochre.
For dark oak use the same colors as for light and add Venetian red and
burnt umber; the same color will do for pollard oak. For green oak (_á
la furniture_) do the same as for ordinary work, and when grained shade
it over with a thin wash of chrome green or add a little black to the
ground color. For ash use the same color as for light oak, but do not
get it quite so yellow; a little raw umber will counteract this. A
little chrome yellow may be added for Hungarian ash. For chestnut use a
similar color to that for ash, but deeper and with a little red. For
maple the ground-work should be very light. To an ordinary pot
two-thirds full of lead well broken up add about a teaspoonful of
chrome yellow and about half that amount of burnt sienna; some
grainers prefer a _very little_ Venetian red instead of the burnt
sienna. In matching the wood get the ground-work as near the lightest
color on the wood as possible, and you cannot go astray. For satin-wood
the ground-work is similar to maple, but deeper in color. For burl ash
use the same color as for ash, or slightly deeper.

The ground-work for cherry is probably mixed differently by every
painter--at least, that is my experience--and it is hard work to make
any workman believe that his is not the right way. In different parts
of the country the popular idea of what "cherry color" is, varies
greatly. In the majority of cases what has been called "the color of
the fruit" is wanted, so we must make the ground-work to suit the
demand. Cherry in its natural color is but little darker than ash, and
the ground-work may be made in the same way or by adding raw sienna to
the lead instead of yellow ochre and umber. The cherry that grainers
have to match is often finished by furniture-makers, and is as dark as
mahogany; in such cases the ground-work must be made with yellow ochre
for the basis of the color and darkened by Venetian red. It will want
little if any lead for the darker kinds of stained cherry, but will
stand some for the lighter shades. In priming new work add considerable
lead for first coat, as it gives more body. Three thin coats are none
too many for new work, and they should be applied without leaving
brush-marks. There is nothing more aggravating to the grainer than to
find that a job is full of streaks of thick paint, as it is almost
impossible to do a good job on such a ground-work.

The foregoing remarks apply to priming coats on new wood for graining
any kind of wood.

The ground-work for walnut is made by taking yellow ochre for the base
of the color and adding a small quantity of Venetian red and a little
burnt umber; for very light work a little lead may be added. The same
ground will do for French walnut. For mahogany the ground-work is made
of yellow ochre, Venetian red and red lead. For rosewood chrome yellow,
red lead and a small quantity of Venetian red. The foregoing are about
all the woods that a grainer in New England is called upon to imitate;
and if I mistake not, it is so elsewhere. Of course all painters or
grainers may not agree with me in using the colors named for preparing
the ground-work, but good work can be done on such grounds. One thing I
wish to say is, Never use Indian red in a ground-color, as it is not
transparent and makes the work look muddy. In grounding work for cherry
or walnut, where the old paint is not removed, it is well to add some
red lead to the color, which should be frequently stirred, or the red
lead will deposit on the bottom of the pot.



In mixing the graining-color for any wood just as much difference of
opinion exists among grainers as to the proper way of mixing the color
as there is among painters as to the proper way of mixing the
ground-color, and although different grainers have their own method of
preparing and mixing their graining-color, and often use different
materials and colors, still, good workmen will often obtain the same
effects, but by a different process. Such being the case, it is
impossible to lay down any cast-iron rule for the materials to be used
in the representation of any wood or for the _proper_ way to imitate
any wood.

In imitating the color of certain woods the colors used are quite
simple, while for other woods considerable pains must be taken and a
number of colors used if the color of the wood is to be matched. I
think the most common fault of graining is that the color is made
darker than it should be; still, the grainer is not always to blame for
this, as such a fault cannot be laid to his charge if the painters
insist on keeping the ground-color itself as dark as or darker than the
work should be when grained. Many a time in the experience of grainers
is this the case, and I have on more than one occasion mixed a proper
ground-color to match wood after being called upon by some alleged
painter (who thought the ground-color he had put on was correct) to
grain the job, but in most cases it is said, "Do the best you can with
it and let it go, as the folks want to move in," or, "I want to get my
money," etc., and so grainers do the job if the color is not too far
off from what it should be.

Let us suppose that we are going to grain a job of light oak in oil.
First lightly sand-paper the ground-work with a piece of fine or an old
piece of sand-paper, and dust off. The ground-color should be quite
hard, and not tacky, before the graining-color is applied, and two or
three days is none too long a time to stand before being grained. Where
a good job is to be done and finished at one impression, as we might
call it, the manner of working can be reversed--that is, the work can
be shaded or over-grained, as it were, on the ground-color in distemper
before being rubbed in oil. The check roller can be used to good
advantage, and the panels and stiles of doors streaked or mottled. The
distemper color must not be diluted with much water, or it will rub off
when the oil-color is being applied over it. This way of working is an
advantage in matching stained oak, as all that remains to be done after
it is grained is to stain it to the desired depth or color. On ordinary
work this shading is done on the graining-color when dry.

The colors necessary for graining oak will be raw sienna and burnt
umber, with a _very little_ black to be added in case it is needed. It
is impossible to specify the exact amount of each color to be used, and
the judgment of the workman must be exercised in all cases. The
ordinary way is to mix about two-thirds raw sienna and one-third burnt
umber, adding the black if necessity should require to match wood. Do
not get the color too yellow, but rather on the gray shade, as that is
most frequently the color of the wood.

The color should be thoroughly mixed in a clean pot, and, if in oil,
thinned with the following mixture, or sufficient of it to bring the
color to the desired shade: Half a gallon of spirits of turpentine; two
and a half pints of linseed oil (boiled is to be preferred); half a
pint japan drier. It is better not to use too much drier, and, as the
drying qualities of each maker's japans, etc., vary greatly, the
workman's judgment must guide him as to the exact amount to be used. It
is a matter of doubt as to what is the best article with which to
thicken the color without altering the shade; a little bolted whiting
is very good. Some grainers prefer melted beeswax or soap dissolved in
hot water and added to the color while hot, or even cold water stirred
into the color. As a rule, the less of these added to the color, the

After thinning to the desired consistency, a good brush is the next
requisite for applying the color. Do not use stubby brushes, as in so
doing you lose more time than you gain by making them last longer. By
general consent the flat brush has superseded the round brush in the
eastern states of America for grainers' use, as it requires no binding
and is a much better blender, when used as such, than any round brush,
and it is more quickly broken in for use. It is better to use a medium
size rather than one too large; one about three and a half inches
across the butt will be found the most serviceable. An oval or a flat
sash tool and a No. 2 flat fresco bristle liner, to be used as a fitch
tool in putting in hearts, etc., will be all the brushes required. A
set of steel combs, or even two, a coarse and a fine steel comb and
one or two of good rubber, are all the tools that are required. The
rubber combs should be coarse and fine--that is, the spaces between the
teeth of the fine rubber comb should measure from one-sixteenth to
one-eighth of an inch and the coarse one from one-eighth to one-quarter
of an inch. Sometimes a rubber comb with the teeth cut graduated looks
well introduced among the other work. Where the work is to be shaded or
over-grained it is better to cover the teeth of the rubber combs with a
thin cotton rag before using, taking a clean place on the rag for every
time the comb is used, but on cheap work this may be omitted.

When a piece of work is rubbed in, if it is desired to represent
"champs," or "lights of oak"--better known as quartered oak--the rubber
combs are first used and carefully drawn through the color--not
necessarily in a straight line--and the coarse or finer, or both the
steel combs, are drawn lightly over the track of the rubber comb; the
work is then blended lengthwise with the flat brush, which has
previously been rubbed out clean, and the champs or veins are put in
across the grains previously made by the rubber and steel combs. The
other implements necessary are a piece of soft rag and the thumb-nail.
Many substitutes have been invented for the thumb-nail, but it is as
yet unsurpassed for this particular purpose, as it is more sensitive
than are the bone or horn substitutes sometimes used.

[Illustration: Plate 3.


[Illustration: Plate 4.




In imitating quartered oak, or any other wood, it should always be
borne in mind that it is the _wood_ that we wish to imitate, and not
somebody's idea of what it should be--for if we copy others, we become,
as Byron says, "degenerate copyists of copies"--and the best thing that
any beginner can do is to procure pieces of the real wood, study the
various changes of grain and get the general character of the grains of
each wood impressed upon his mind, then endeavor to reproduce them in
his work; for the work will be judged by its general appearance, and
not by the looks of any particular piece of work. After the champs or
veins are wiped out with the rag, the spaces of combed work between the
champs must be softened by a piece of rag folded three or four times
and drawn over the combed spaces and toward the edges of the work
previously wiped out with the rag. The edges of the champs may first be
sharpened up by drawing the second joint of the forefinger against
them. A fine comb is then waved over the spaces of open work and the
whole panel blended lightly crosswise with the flat brush. Quartered
oak can be imitated by combing the same as has been described, and
letting the work dry before taking out the champs. When the work is
dry, mix a weak solution of washing soda, and add a little dry umber to
show where you touch the work, put on the champs with a fitch tool, let
it stand a few minutes to soften the color, and then rub off with a
soft rag, and it will be found that the graining-color is taken off to
the ground-work, giving the same effect as if wiped out while the color
was wet, only that the work looks cleaner. Work done in this way should
be over-grained. The champs may also be put in in dark color over the
dry combed work, and left so, as some veins of oak appear dark in
certain lights. These dark veins may be imitated by combing the work
the same as if going to use the rag to wipe out. Do not blend, but put
in the veins with a small fitch tool or fresco liner dipped in some
color from the bottom of your pot--not too dark--and immediately blend
one way, lifting the edge of the color; after practice it will be found
that a very good imitation of dark champs or veins is the result.
Heart-work may be done in the same manner, but the combing should be
done with a steel comb, the color for putting in the grains being but
little darker than that with which the work is rubbed in. It is
sometimes necessary to go over the whole with a fine steel comb. An
occasional dark piece introduced among wiped work tends to relieve the
sameness and looks more like the hardwoods; it also gives a better
opportunity (where a job is not to be overgrained) to make distinct
mitres and joints. This is very important and should never be
forgotten. Be sure and have all joints cleanly cut, as nothing so much
offends the eye as wavy or crooked joints. It is always better to make
a distinction between the long stiles of a door and the adjoining cross
rails. A common fault of the amateur grainer is his inability to make
clean-cut divisions.

[Illustration: Plate 5.


[Illustration: Plate 6.


The heart of oak--or, as it is sometimes called, "slash oak"--is
usually done in the wet color, and is not combed previous to being
wiped out with a rag. The outline of the work is first wiped out and
the inner edges are softened with the rag. The edges of the work toward
the side of the panel should be filled out either by hand or with a
small rubber or leather comb covered with a thin piece of rag, being
careful to follow close to the last line done by hand. This is an
operation which if not carefully done will spoil the appearance of any
job. When the panel or piece of work is grained, a coarse steel comb
may judiciously be used, drawing it lightly over the heart-work and
softening the whole lengthwise with the dry brush and toward all knotty
places or turns in the wood. In case the work is to be overgrained,
care must be taken not to soften the edges too much, as it will present
too sunken an appearance. The plain grains are made with the comb; and
if this part of the work is properly done, the effect is better than if
it were full of strong grains.

When the work is to be overgrained (and good work cannot be done
without), it may be overgrained when dry, in either oil or water color.
If in oil (as we finish most outside doors, etc., in this vicinity
instead of varnishing them), the same color may be used as for
graining, or with the addition of a little more oil and drier, and
darkened with umber if necessary. The check roller may first be used in
water color, the work having previously been dampened, and, when the
checks are dry, the whole gone over in oil. Or the checks may be put in
in oil color after first overgraining in water color; this will
necessitate oiling or varnishing when dry. The check roller is used to
good advantage on hearts of oak, and the work should then be lightly
blended lengthwise. In shading the champs the brush may be drawn
through the shading-color, leaving the work streaked; then wipe off
where the color covers the champs too deep. A similar effect is
obtained by using a medium fine comb covered with a rag, the color
being taken off in this way; this is for oil color. The blender drawn
through water color, or a common oak overgrainer, gives the same effect
for water color. It is better to go all over the work with a thin coat
of color, as it looks raw without, and shading it in this way gives the
depth that is otherwise unobtainable. Shadows are put in around knarly
places, and touches added where needed, and the job is finished.



Oak may be overgrained by using a very thin coating of asphaltum for
the shading color; thin with oil and spirits.

Oak may be grained in distemper--that is, using beer or alcohol for a
vehicle with the color, instead of oil. Good work can be done in this
way, but not so quickly as in oil. A little sugar added to the beer
makes it dry slower and work better than without it. If a tablespoonful
of alcohol be added to a pint of beer, the work can be combed while wet
almost as well as if in oil. First dampen the ground with a sponge
wrung out in clean water, and then rub on the color the same as in oil;
comb while wet (or use an overgrainer when dry) and blend lightly with
a badger blender; then wipe out the veins or champs with a wet rag
before the color dries, or afterward, as desired. A similar effect for
light veins is obtained by using the fitch tool to put on the veins or
champs and lifting off the color with the blender, thus leaving the
champs light. For dark veins the work is put on with a fitch and left
as put on. The heart-work may be done in the same manner, both for
light and for dark pieces, but it cannot be done so successfully as if
done in oil.

Of all the woods we have to imitate, I think oak is the most difficult,
hence I have tried to explain the different ways in ordinary use of
imitating it; and in closing I would say, Do not overdo your work. Most
grainers put in more work--that is, showy grains--than would appear in
the natural wood unless it were all selected. And remember that a nice
piece of combed work is just as good a representation of oak as the
majority of the heart-work often seen.

[Illustration: Plate 7.


[Illustration: Plate 8.


[Illustration: Plate 9.


[Illustration: Plate 10.



In graining ash in oil the colors necessary will be raw umber and raw
sienna and a little Vandyke brown or black. Mix the color much the same
as for oak, and the same tools can be used. After the color is rubbed
in comb the places intended to be plain, and with the fitch tool or
sash tool add lines, streaks, etc., if desired, using some color
darkened with Vandyke brown or black, and blend lightly lengthwise with
the dry brush. The heart-work or growth is represented by wiping out
the color with a soft rag, the same way as for the heart of oak, but in
ash the hearts are less complicated, and the points of the growth will
be found to run more regular, and generally with a rounding edge
instead of being serrated, as are the majority of oak-growths. The
hearts of ash are also more narrow in proportion to the width of the
board than are those of oak, and their imitation is much less
difficult. Lightly stipple all wiped-out hearts with the dry brush. I
think ash is one of the easiest of woods to imitate, as oak is one of
the most difficult.

A very good imitation of a dark piece of heart-work may be done with a
small fitch tool when the color is partially set. Sometimes the work is
outlined roughly by lightly wiping off some of the color with a folded
rag and describing the general direction of the grain to be followed by
the fitch. The work is then put in with the fitch tool, and the edge of
the color so put in is lifted with the blender, showing one edge light,
and if carefully done, it looks well. The fitch tool is also employed
to brighten the effects of the wiped-out hearts and to blend slightly.
Where both means are used--that is, the fitch tool and the rag--in
doing hearts of ash, the work presents a very woody appearance, and
looks much better, if carefully done, than either method of doing
heart-work does without the other.

Ash is greatly improved by being overgrained, but a great many of the
dark streaks can be put in while the color is wet. Allowance can be
made when it is intended to overgrain the work, and the dark places
can be done more successfully when the color is dry by overgraining.
The same color used to grain the work will do for overgraining it, or
by adding a little black and thinning with spirits of turpentine and
japan for inside work, and japan and oil for outside work where it is
not to be varnished.

Ash may be grained in distemper by using stale beer or vinegar for
thinners and the colors dry or ground in distemper. The effect of
combing may be obtained by using an overgrainer. Where hearts are to be
introduced, the work should be lightly stippled with a badger blender;
and when dry, the wet rag or sponge may be used to wipe out the color
preparatory to putting in the hearts with the fitch tool; this makes a
fair job, and is the way followed by many in representing ash. The work
looks fully as well, and I think cleaner, if the hearts are put in on
the stippling without using a rag or sponge; do not stipple the work
too heavily.

In matching Western ash a little blue sometimes helps to counteract the
redness of the umber, and will be found to match the dull-gray shade
often seen better than black, but ash is of so many varieties and
colors as to allow the use of a wide range of colors.

In matching ash the filling of wood has to be taken into consideration.
The filling used by the average painter is often anything but what it
should be, and the beauty of many an ash door has been destroyed by the
miserable attempts at filling often perpetrated by some ignorant
painter. This is applicable also to other woods; but particularly to

[Illustration: Plate 11.


[Illustration: Plate 12.


[Illustration: Plate 13.


[Illustration: Plate 14.




This wood may be imitated in oil or water color, but the imitation is
commonly done in oil. The colors used are raw sienna and raw and burnt
umber; a little burnt sienna may be added to the shading color. In oil
color the outline of the work is wiped out with a soft cotton rag and
softened lightly, or even stippled with the dry brush, and after the
color is nearly dry the lines between those wiped out with the rag are
gone over with the fitch tool, the color being darkened with umber. The
idea is to bring the wiped work into sharper relief. When dry, the
shadows may be put in by using either oil or water color and blending
softly. A little Vandyke brown will deepen the color, or thin asphaltum
may be used in shading or overgraining. Where circumstances require the
work to be finished without overgraining, the work may be mottled or
shaded in water color on the ground-work before the oil color is
applied, and in that case the work must be put in to suit the shadows
and the lights that appear through the oil color.

Hungarian ash varies from very bold to very fine grains, and the finer
varieties may successfully be done in oil color, using the fitch tool
to put in the grains and wiping out simply the lights and the shadows
with the rag. The work looks better when lightly stippled in water
color with the blender. In doing the work wholly in water colors, the
lights and the shadows are first put in, and after these are dry the
grains are introduced with the small fitch tool, lifting the edge of
the color lightly with the blender. An ash door with the panels done in
Hungarian ash make a very neat job if nicely performed.


Burl ash, or root of ash, is often used in panels, and can be imitated
in either oil color or water color, but water color will be found the
best. The colors used are raw sienna, burnt umber and Vandyke brown; a
sponge with rather small holes is requisite for use in representing the
minute clusters of knots. After the work is rubbed in, the sponge
(which has previously been faced square on one side) is dipped in some
of the darker color and lightly pressed against the work. It is better
to use the color a little darker than that with which the work has been
rubbed in, and to put it where you wish the darker portions of the wood
to appear. After this is dry go over the whole panel with the sponge
and some of the darkest color, lightly pressing the sponge against the
work wherever you desire the knots to appear. A little growth is
sometimes put in by the use of the fitch tool, and tends to relieve the
sameness of the work; it must be done carefully and on a small scale.
When the work is dry, carefully pass the hand over it and remove the
superfluous color which adheres, and the job is then ready to be
varnished. It is sometimes shaded after having one coat of varnish, in
which case it is necessary to revarnish it; it will require little or
no stippling.

In imitating this wood in oil color, the work is first rubbed in and
but little color is put on--merely enough to cover the ground-work with
a very thin coat; a sponge may then be used to apply the darker color.
The sponge should first be thoroughly wet in clean water and wrung out
dry before the oil color is applied by it. Have some of the dark color
in a shallow vessel and use the sponge as directed in water color,
dipping the faced side of the sponge in the color and representing the
clusters of knots in this manner. When dry, it may be overgrained or
not, according to the shade desired or to the wood to be matched.

[Illustration: Plate 15.


[Illustration: Plate 16.


[Illustration: Plate 17.


[Illustration: Plate 18.




This wood is not frequently used as an interior finish, but sixteen
years ago it was almost the only hardwood used for interior finish in
the New England States; and any grainer who succeeded in matching it
was considered very skilful. It is a highly-porous wood, and on that
account is undesirable, as, if not entirely protected from the changes
in temperature by being thoroughly filled, it will warp or swell; and I
have seen doors concave or convex as much as three inches in a two foot
eight inch door. It also turns very dark with age, and its hearts or
prominent grains are very coarse. I have seen specimens which measured
eighteen inches from point to point at the heart. The colors used are
raw sienna, burnt umber, Vandyke brown and a little burnt sienna. There
is some resemblance to ash in the finer growth of chestnut, but its
general characteristics are more angular--that is, the hearts run more
to points than those of ash--and in most of the hearts a faint outline
appears between the points. The combing also is much coarser than that
meant for ash. Chestnut can be done in either oil or water color. I
think it can be done best in oil, using the rag to wipe out the color
and combing in the edges of the hearts with a rubber comb covered with
a thin piece of rag. This comb should not be over two inches in width,
and the teeth should be about five to the inch. When the hearts are
wiped out and lightly-blended, the fine outline may be put in between
the points in the hearts by using a sharp-pointed stick or the round
corner of a steel comb. The work, when dry, may be lightly stippled in
distemper, or a thin glaze of color without stippling may be applied to
bring the work to the desired depth of color; this shading-color may be
mixed in oil or water color.

In imitating this wood in water color the work should first be stippled
in very fine and allowed to dry; then put in the growths with the small
fitch tool, and use the overgrainer for the same purpose as that for
which the comb is used in oil color to follow the edges of the hearts,
and to produce the "combed" work; a piped bristle over-grainer will be
found useful for this purpose.


To my mind, this is the most beautiful of our native woods, and it is a
shame that it is often cut down for firewood; however, it seems to be
growing in favor among the furniture-makers, and is far more generally
used in the interior of horse-cars and railway-cars than it was ten
years ago. The colors used in representing maple are raw sienna, raw
umber, a little Vandyke brown or ivory black and a little burnt sienna,
to be added to the color when over-graining or putting in the
pencil-work and the eyes.

[Illustration: Plate 19.


[Illustration: Plate 20.


[Illustration: Plate 21.


This wood is almost invariably imitated in water color, as oil is too
slow in drying to be used with any success. Stale beer is the best
vehicle with which to apply the color. The implements needed are a good
sponge, a piece of soft cotton rag or chamois leather, a brush to apply
the color, a large and a small mottler or cut tool, a badger blender,
an overgrainer and fitch tool, and a camel's-hair pencil. First
dampen the ground-work over with the sponge, which has been wrung out
of clean water, or of beer and water; then rub in the color, doing a
panel or a small piece at a time, and while wet wipe out the high
lights and put in the shadows with the sponge or the mottler or the
backs of the fingers, or draw the color up into small bunches or
clusters with the blender or mottler and blend lightly crosswise. When
the lights and the shadows are dry, the eyes are put in. By observing
the real wood it will be found that the eyes invariably appear in the
darker portions of the grain, and that the shadows seem to slope away
from them. Very often the shadows all slant one way and the eyes in the
same way; this must be taken into consideration in imitating maple. Do
not have all the eyes and all the shadows slanting the same way in
different panels, as is often seen in the interior of cars, but reverse
the style, bringing the opposite panels to balance with each other.

The best manner of imitating the eyes is a matter of doubt among
practical workmen. The amateur grainer will tell you that he can put
them in by striking the ends of his fingers against the color while
wet; this is the way the wood is most frequently misrepresented, and
such work looks feeble compared with that done by either of the
following methods: After the lights and shadows are dry take some of
the dark color from the bottom of your pot and add to it a little burnt
sienna; the color should be put in a shallow vessel, such as a saucer.
Thin the color, so that it works freely; then take a medium sized
camel's-hair pencil which has been "docked" by cutting off the hair
about one-quarter of an inch from the quill with a sharp knife, leaving
the ends of the hair perfectly square. Then burn out the centre of the
brush with a red-hot wire, leaving the hair round the circumference
with which to represent the "eyes." The pencil is then dipped in the
darker color, and the eyes are put in where desired.

Another way is to cut a piece from a block of soft rubber, make a hole
through it and with a sharp knife trim the edges of the rubber till it
can be used to take up the dark color. Make the eyes in the same manner
as with the pencil brush. The eyes can be put in with a small pencil by
describing circles, but care must be taken to have them of uniform
size, or nearly so. Another--and probably the best--way is to take a
thin piece of chamois leather or a soft piece of cotton rag and wet it
in the graining-color; then take a piece of wood four or five inches
long and not over half an inch thick; whittle it round and taper it to
a point at one end; then wrap the rag or the leather around the stick,
keeping a folded edge at the sharp end of the stick; and when the cloth
or leather has made one circuit around the stick at the sharp end, wind
it farther up the stick, so that only one circle of the folded rag or
leather is at the sharp end of the stick. Some of the thick color may
then be placed in about the middle of the rag, and by keeping the rag
or the leather well wet above the thick color and squeezing the rag as
often as necessary, so that the color descends toward the point of the
stick, the eyes may be rapidly and accurately put in by striking the
end of the folded rag or leather against the work; and a pair of panels
may easily be done by once filling the rag with color. This method has
the advantage of making any sized "eye," from the largest to the
smallest, by simply altering the thickness of the folds; or the eyes
may be made in any shape desired, from a circle to an oval. After the
eyes are put in the work is over-grained, the color mostly being burnt
sienna. The heart grains are put in with a camel's-hair pencil. Some
grainers use a crayon pencil for this purpose, which should be soaked
in beer or vinegar and used moist; the various over-grainers are also
used in putting in the heart grains. The "eyes" should always be
noticed--that is, the over-grainer should describe some part of a
circle in passing the "eyes," so as to have them in harmony with the
general features of the wood. All water-color work should be lightly
gone over when dry with the hand, to remove any roughness in the
graining-color. Some grainers prefer to touch up the high lights around
the "eyes" with some of the ground color after the graining is dry, but
it must be done very carefully or it shows badly.

[Illustration: Plate 22.


[Illustration: Plate 23.



This wood somewhat resembles bird's-eye maple, and is often used in the
same piece of furniture. It differs from bird's-eye in having but few,
if any, "eyes" in it, and is mostly mottled and over-grained. A
five-inch mottler that will cover the stiles of an ordinary door is a
very necessary tool, as one that is not wide enough necessitates going
over the work twice, and then it will not look so well as if done with
a brush of sufficient width to cover the whole stile. The colors used
for bird's-eye maple will answer for this wood, but the general tone is


This wood is represented by using ivory black for the graining-color;
the groundwork should be almost white. The work is mostly mottled and
very lightly over-grained. Eyes are sometimes put in, and the effect of
the work is very showy when carefully done.



This is a very delicate wood, of the maple family; it probably derives
its name from its resemblance to folds of satin. It is seldom
represented in America, but is frequently imitated in England, being
used in connection with maple in some of the principal rooms, such as
drawing-rooms, parlors, etc. The panels of the room are done as
satinwood, the stiles as maple, and sometimes the mouldings as a darker
wood, such as dark oak, walnut or rosewood.

[Illustration: Plate 24.


[Illustration: Plate 25.


[Illustration: Plate 26.


[Illustration: Plate 27.


[Illustration: Plate 28.


[Illustration: Plate 29.


The same groundwork and the same graining-colors may be used as in
representing maple, but a little ivory black may be added. The tools
are similar, but a piece of buckskin or chamois leather is substituted
for the bristle mottlers used for maple. A roll of oil-putty is
sometimes used to take off the color in making the high lights; the
putty should be rolled along the panel lengthwise of the grain, and
then the panel blended crosswise. Care should be taken to have the
graining-color light, as the effect is lost if the color be too dark.
The lights are quite prominent, and it requires no little skill
successfully to imitate them. When the mottling or lights and shadows
are dry, they may be very lightly over-grained with a fine bristle
overgrainer, the bristles being separated by a comb and the color used
very thin. The over-graining should not be blended, as it will look too
prominent and spoil the effect of the lights and the shadows. A piece
of soft cotton rag will answer the same purpose as the buckskin
or chamois leather. When using either of them with the intention of
making the mottled effect of the wood, first wet them in clean water or
in beer and wring them out nearly dry; then, after the color is rubbed
on the work, roll them over them over the surface as directed. The
result will be that the leather or the rag will take off the patches of
the wet graining-color. Then blend softly, and when dry overgrain.



This wood is a great favorite with British grainers, and is often
splendidly imitated by them. The wood itself is from old gnarled trees
or stumps and has a variety of grain almost equal to French walnut. It
may be represented in either oil or water color, or may be done
partially in both distemper and oil, which I think is the better way;
the best job I have ever seen was executed in this manner. It is first
done in oil; the colors necessary are raw and burnt sienna, burnt
umber, Vandyke brown, and sometimes a little ivory black or ultramarine
blue. The wood varies from pieces comparatively free from knots to
others almost filled with them, like the root of walnut, etc. The
grains are first done in oil, the knots, etc., being somewhat subdued;
and when this is dry, the whole is gone over in water color and left in
the color it is intended to have it remain. The knots and shadows are
touched up, etc. After the water color is dry the fine champs may be
put in by using a slice of raw potato in the same manner as that in
which the thumb-nail is used on larger work. A camel's-hair pencil is
needed properly to finish the work. A great deal of time may be spent
in representing this wood, and yet but few may succeed in faithfully
imitating it. Since the fashion has changed in Boston and its vicinity
from walnut and cherry front-doors to oak doors, we begin to see panels
of pollard oak; sometimes whole doors are veneered with it, and the
effect is superb.


This wood is naturally but little darker than ash, yet the popular idea
of what its hue should be is of a color nearly as dark as that of
mahogany. Cherry is frequently misrepresented by staining whitewood or
pine with burnt sienna, etc., but, it being impossible to conceal the
_grain_ of the whitewood or the pine, the deception is easily
discoverable by any one at all familiar with the grains of different
woods. For this reason a much better imitation can be obtained by
graining to imitate cherry (or any other wood), rather than by
staining, as the grainer, if competent, can represent both the color
and the grain of the desired wood.

Cherry may be imitated in either oil color or water color, and an
excellent job can be done either way. My preference is for oil color.
The natural wood may be matched by employing raw and burnt sienna and
raw umber, but the stained cherry requires the use of burnt sienna,
burnt umber and Vandyke brown for the very dark veins, also, in some
cases, crimson lake, to be used as a glazing or shading-color. The
tools needed for oil color are the flat brush, combs, fitch tool or
fresco-liner, sash tool and a piped bristle overgrainer. When a piece
of work is rubbed in, it may lightly be stippled with the dry brush (or
the stippling may first be done in distemper before the oil color is
applied). It may be mottled by wiping off the color with a rag, or
by applying a little color with the sash tool and lifting the
color with the flat brush. The growth may then be put in with the fitch
tool, the flat brush being used as a blender. The growths are put in
across the mottled work previously done. The growths or hearts can also
be wiped out with the rag in the same manner as in imitating ash, and
the fitch used to interline the points of the hearts; but the growth of
cherry is seldom as bold as that of ash, and, to my mind, it can best
be imitated by the use of the fitch tool. Where the hearts have been
wiped out with the rag they should always be gone over with the fitch
tool and blended, as the effect is decidedly better than if they are
left without pencilling.

[Illustration: Plate 30.


[Illustration: Plate 31.


[Illustration: Plate 32.


[Illustration: Plate 33.


Some grainers prefer to imitate cherry wholly in distemper, in which
case the tools used are much the same as those for oil, substituting
the badger blender for the flat brush in finishing the work. First
dampen the work with a sponge and rub in the color with a flat brush;
the mottled parts may be done light, with the sponge, or dark by using
the mottler or the sash tool. The hearts are put in with the fitch
after the mottling is dry, the overgrainer being used in same manner as
that in which the combs are used in oil color. The best vehicle for the
distemper color is stale beer; it may be diluted with one-half water,
and in cold weather a little alcohol may be added. The work may be
shaded or overgrained when dry, whether the graining has been done in
oil or in distemper. If done in oil, the shading color may be applied
in either oil or distemper; but if the work has been grained in
distemper, the shading color (if applied immediately to the work before
varnishing) must be in oil. In some cases the distemper color is
varnished before being overgrained; this, of course, necessitates

The grains of cherry are apparently simple, but they will stand a large
amount of study, and good work is seldom done without taking pains to
represent the various characteristics of this at present fashionable

Sometimes glue size is used in the color for a distemper binder, but,
being of animal matter, it is seldom used by grainers. With the
addition of alcohol enough to make it smell strong, it passes for white
shellac among some cheap painters, and is used for first coats or stain
work. It will be found that the mottlings of cherry invariably run
across the grain, and this is the chief reason that stained whitewood
makes such a poor imitation, the reverse being the rule for whitewood.

One thing I wish to impress upon beginners: that is to keep the color
as nearly as possible like that of the natural wood, and to cater as
little as possible to the prevailing fashion of making the color of
cherry as dark as that of mahogany. If people want a mahogany color,
try and induce them to have also a mahogany grain. I know that
frequently some article of furniture made of stained cherry has to be
matched in color in graining a room, and in such cases there is no
resource but to imitate it. I once went to grain a chamber in imitation
of cherry, and the lady of the house requested me to observe the color
of her mahogany chamber-set, which color she desired to have on the
woodwork of the room. I found the "mahogany" to be cherry and whitewood
stained very deep, and so informed her. It was a perfectly new set, and
had been sold to her for mahogany by a respectable firm. I should judge
it to be worth one hundred dollars, so there is evidently "cheating in
all trades but ours."

The piped overgrainer for use in oil color will be found an excellent
help, both for continuing the lines of the pencilled work, and for
doing the straight or mottled combing so often observed in the natural

[Illustration: Plate 34.


[Illustration: Plate 35.


[Illustration: Plate 36.


[Illustration: Plate 37.




This wood was very fashionable as an interior finish not very long ago,
but its place is now largely occupied by cherry, mahogany and oak, and
I think the change is for the better; for unless a room is well
lighted, the effect of the deep color of walnut is rather sombre and
the grains have less light and shade and less variety than those of oak
or cherry. It can be imitated in either oil or distemper. The same
tools are used as for ash. The piped bristle overgrainer is an
excellent help for both oil and water color. The graining color is
composed mostly of burnt umber, Vandyke brown being added for the
darker portions of the work.

In my opinion, the best way to imitate walnut is first to stipple it
with a thin mixture of Vandyke brown in distemper, using nothing but
beer for thinner. When this is dry, rub in the oil color and wipe out
the hearts with the rag in the same way as for oak and ash. Care must
be taken not to add much water to the stippling color, or the stippling
will be wiped off when the rag is used over it. When the hearts have
been wiped out, the fitch tool may be used to sharpen up the edges of
the growths and the whole lightly blended with the dry flat brush. The
hearts can also be put in by using the fitch tool, or by mottling or
wiping off the color slightly with the rag and then using the fitch
tool as directed, the edges of the color being slightly lifted with the
dry flat brush.

Some grainers prefer to use water color rather than oil, and do their
work wholly in distemper. The same kit of tools is used as for cherry
in distemper--viz., sponge, flat brush, sash tool, fitch tool, blender
and overgrainer, either piped or plain. First stipple in the work
slightly darker than if it were to be gone over in oil, and then put in
the grains with a fitch tool and the overgrainer. Care must be taken in
blending the hearts after pencilling, or the graining-color will lift
off and show the ground-color. Oil color is sometimes used to pencil in
the hearts, as it will not lift the stippling, no matter how much it is
blended. A camel's-hair pencil is sometimes used to finish the points
of the hearts. Care should be taken to have all the mitres and joints
cleanly cut, and slightly to vary the color of the different portions
of the work, so as to avoid sameness. The work may be shaded or
overgrained after it is dry, but it is generally finished at once. For
a quick job, done wholly in oil, rub in the work rather dry and stipple
with the flat brush; then put in the hearts with the fitch tool and
blend. Use the bristle piped overgrainer for portions of the work. By
using the finer steel combs covered with cotton rag and stippling the
work, when combed, with the dry brush, a very fair imitation is



This variety of walnut comes from France, although fair burls come from
Spain and Italy. A large portion of the alleged French walnut is merely
the root of the American walnut, but the best specimens of burl come
from France and have not as yet been grown in this country. The finest
burl is cut from the excrescences or bunches which appear on the trunk
of the tree, and is quite expensive. It is most frequently used for
small panels on furniture, and is not generally used for house-work.
Gunstocks are sometimes made from it, and such are very beautiful.

[Illustration: Plate 38.


[Illustration: Plate 39.


French walnut is probably imitated in a different manner in every State
in the Union; hence the manner herein described may appear wholly wrong
to some grainers. But if we succeed in matching the wood, the manner of
doing the work is seldom called in question. There are several "patent"
processes for imitating this wood, exclusive of the transfer roller.

I was informed some years ago by an agent who possessed the secret of
the _best_ way in which to grain French walnut that after two lessons
in his process anybody could perfectly match the wood; he did not
succeed in selling me the great (?) secret. Yet there are processes
other than the ones here given which for certain kinds of work are
excellent, but they are seldom used by grainers to the trade. In
England the burl is seldom imitated, English imitations being mostly
confined to the curly or wavy portions of the grain.

French walnut may be represented in either oil or distemper by being
partially done in oil and finished in distemper, or _vice versâ_. The
tools are the same as those used for black walnut, as are also the
colors--burnt umber and Vandyke brown. For the very light portions a
little burnt sienna may be added to the color. When the work is to be
done in oil, rub in the color rather dry, and with the sash tool dipped
in some dark color cover such portions of the work as you wish to
appear dark; then take a piece of soft cotton rag and remove the color
where the light places are to appear, and work up the dark places with
the rag until the desired effect is obtained; then blend lightly with
the dry brush, and with the fitch tool add lines and curves, or knots
if desired, constantly keeping the grain of the wood in mind and
striving to represent it. Blend lightly with the dry brush and stipple
the light places with the flat brush (or the stippling may be done in
distemper on the ground-work before the oil color is applied). When the
oil color is dry, the work may be shaded or overgrained in either oil
or water color.

The other method in ordinary use among grainers is to do the work
wholly in distemper, and for work that is not too complicated this
method is undoubtedly the best. The mode of procedure is much the same
as for oil color, using the sponge to make the lighter parts, and
darkening the work with the sash tool, making the settled places
preparatory to overgraining. If done in this manner, the work will be
gone over two or three times in an hour, which is quite an advantage,
as, if the work is first done in oil, it must be allowed time to dry
before being shaded; but for intricate work the grain may be done
equally well in oil color if it is overgrained when dry.

This wood is not of sufficient size to be used on large surfaces
without being jointed; hence it is not in good taste to imitate it on a
very large scale. Its use is more properly confined to small panels and
to interior rather than to exterior work. It is a very rare occurrence
to find a specimen of the real wood exposed to the weather as, being
but a thin veneer, it would be quickly affected by the extreme changes
of temperature to which it would be subjected.

In conclusion, the only way to become expert in imitating French walnut
is to strive to copy the grains of the real wood; and no wood is more
often misrepresented than is French walnut.

[Illustration: Plate 40.


[Illustration: Plate 41.




This wood was a great favorite with the grainers of the last
generation, and it is at present coming back to old-time popularity.
The old Honduras "feathered" mahogany is rarely seen except in old
furniture, and this kind of graining is seldom called for nowadays. The
modern mahogany is more straight-grained, and is generally much lighter
in color, but the furniture manufacturers do not hesitate to stain the
wood to any depth of color, and thus they set the pattern which the
grainer must follow as regards the color. It is represented in both oil
and water color, or by being partly done both ways, as in the case of
walnut. The colors used are burnt sienna, burnt umber and Vandyke
brown, with crimson lake for overgraining on particularly bright work.
The tools used are the same as those for walnut. No better way to
imitate it will be found than first to stipple it with a thin wash of
Vandyke brown in beer, much the same as for walnut, but using the flat
side of the stippler or blender more than the tip, as the pores of the
wood are generally longer than those of walnut. After the stippling is
dry rub in the oil color, which is composed of about three-fourths
burnt sienna to one-fourth burnt umber, or a little Vandyke brown may
be added to the color. The dark veins are put in with the sash tool
dipped in a little clear Vandyke brown, which should be mixed in a
separate vessel and thinned mostly with driers, as Vandyke brown is a
very slow drier. The work is then gone over with a soft cotton rag, and
the color is removed where the lighter grains are to appear; the rag
is also used to soften the edges of the darker streaks and to blend
them into the lighter grains. The lights and shadows are made, and the
whole is then lightly blended crosswise. The bristle overgrainer of the
fitch tool is used to put in the finer grains, or this may be done when
the oil color is dry. This is the manner in which the modern straight
mahogany is most frequently imitated, but it can wholly be done in
water color, using the sponge for the same purpose as the rag is used
in oil.

The "feather" mahogany is best represented in water color. The centre
of the feather is darkened with Vandyke brown, and the mottler or
sponge is used to make the darker curves which radiate from the centre
of the "feather;" then with a thin piece of stick or a piece of
cardboard make the bright blaze marks that are usually seen through the
centre of the feather. A small mottler or cut tool may be used for this
purpose. The markings radiate from the centre outward in a curved line
and across the darker veins; allow this to dry, and then lightly
overgrain to bring out the effect, touching up the parts that are to
appear very dark. After this is dry the hand should lightly be passed
over the work to remove any surplus color, as one coat of varnish
sometimes fails to lay out on water-color work where the graining-color
has freely been used. This applies to walnut and rosewood in distemper
as well as to mahogany. The wood is sometimes represented in oil
without first stippling, but it never looks so well. Of course the
stippling may be done after the work is dry, but it makes a better
appearance if done before the rubbing with oil. If it is desired to
overgrain, the work, if done in oil, should be shaded in distemper, and
_vice versâ_. For depth and brightness, add crimson lake with a little
Vandyke brown.

[Illustration: Plate 42.


[Illustration: Plate 43.




This wood is seldom imitated in this country except on piano-legs and
caskets or coffins, and then it is done in stain on the wood without
first being painted. Whitewood is given two coats of logwood stain, and
after that is dry the grains are put in with a bamboo brush, which is
made by beating the pulp out of the ends of short strips of bamboo,
leaving the harder portions of the wood, which act as bristles for
applying the graining-color. Four or five strips of bamboo an inch or
more wide are fastened together with wire, so that their edges
interlock at the point of the brush; the brush is then dipped in the
graining color, which consists of iron-filings dissolved in vinegar.
The surplus color is shaken out of the brush, and the grains are put in
in the same manner as that in which an overgrainer is used in
water-color. The darker veins are added with a sponge after the finer
grains are put in, and the work after being grained is generally filled
with rose-pink. This process can be used only on new surfaces, and is
of little value to the grainer to the trade.

The ordinary way of imitating rosewood is to do it in water color,
although it may be done in oil. I prefer to do it in distemper, as the
work can more quickly be finished in this way. The colors used are
Vandyke brown, ivory black and rose pink. The basis of the color is
Vandyke brown and a little black added to it. The ivory black and the
rose pink are mixed separately, and applied to the work as desired
while the color is wet, carefully blending where necessary. The
rose-pink is first streaked through the color and blended; then the
sponge is used to remove the color and make the lighter shades. The
black veins are then put in, and after the whole is dry the overgrainer
and the fitch tool are used to put in the fine grains. Last of all, the
edges of the dark veins are sharpened with the fitch tool, using thin
black for this purpose; this final application of black may be done in
oil. Care must be taken not to take too much black, or the effect will
be too sombre. The natural wood is almost invariably darkened by being
stained as we see it on pianos, and its beauties are obscured by so
doing. When the water color is finished and dry, the hand should be
lightly passed across the work to remove any surplus color that may not
thoroughly adhere, as, if not removed, it works up into the varnish, or
the varnish strikes in where the graining-color is thick; and for this
reason two coats of varnish are better than one coat on any dark wood
that has been done wholly in water color.

In operating entirely with oil the tools are much the same as those
used for water color; the bristle piped overgrainer is best for oil
color. The work is done in much the same manner as with water color,
using the rag where the color is to be lightened, with a little more
spirits of turpentine and japan in the color than ordinarily.

The grains of rosewood are not easily copied. The wood exhibits a
variety of grain second only to oak, and I think that, after oak, it is
the most difficult wood to imitate, as to do it justice requires the
free treatment which can be given only by a trained hand and a correct
eye. The average veins are free and graceful without being set or
constrained, and the grains are constantly interlocking and branching
off from the main hearts.


has but recently appeared in this country as an interior finish. It is
a very soft and porous wood, and is a good kind to keep out of a
house, owing to its liability to shrink and swell, but occasionally we
find rooms finished with it, with the exception of the doors, which the
grainer is called upon to match. I am informed that cypress trees have
to be girdled in the spring and killed, so that they contain but little
sap when cut in the fall, as, if cut green, they would sink in the
water before they could be floated to the mill. This shows how ill
suited this wood is for an interior finish.

[Illustration: Plate 44.


[Illustration: Plate 45.


The grain of cypress somewhat resembles that of hard pine, but is
broader in the heart and finer-grained; it also presents more contrast
between the light and dark portions of the growth. The ground is
slightly darker and more yellow than that used for oak. The
graining-color is made of raw and burnt sienna and burnt umber, and is
mixed in oil. When the color is rubbed in, the hearts are wiped out in
the usual manner. A rubber comb can be used to make portions of the
heart by occasionally using it in the finer portions of the wiped-out
hearts, taking care that the lines made by the comb closely follow
those made by hand, and that they are equally distinct, or the places
where the comb has been used can readily be distinguished from the rest
of the work, and they look very bad. There is but little use for the
fitch tool in matching cypress; the combing is mostly fine and rather
straight. The steel combs should never be used over the lines made by
the rubber comb. The work may be shaded with some of the graining-color
to which some black has been added, and the whole thinned with spirits.
It needs but a very thin glaze, and is ordinarily finished without



This wood is seldom imitated, and, although its grains are simple, they
cannot be matched without taking pains. The grain of hard pine is in
some respects different from that of any other wood; the growths are
generally quite narrow, and are not complicated, without having many
knots, and are decidedly straight, as is also the combed work. The
groundwork is much the same as that for oak, being slightly more
yellow. The graining-color--which is mixed in oil--is composed of raw
and burnt sienna, and a little burnt umber is added. The grains are put
in by first using the rag to wipe out the hearts and then pencilling in
the grain, or for the lighter parts of the grain the pencilling may be
omitted. The combing is done with moderately fine combs. Never go over
the same place twice, as the grains of pine are always straight and
never interlock, like those of oak. The work should lightly be blended
lengthwise. The color used to pencil in the growths should be darker
than that with which the work is rubbed in, and the blending should
always be done toward the outside edge of the grain. When the work is
dry it may lightly be shaded to give it depth, or slightly mottled.
Some pieces of hard pine are profusely mottled, and I have seen
specimens that had the appearance of fine Hungarian ash.

[Illustration: Plate 46.



It is seldom necessary to imitate whitewood, as the original is so
cheap, and because there is as much difficulty in matching the color
of the wood as that of the grains. The ground-color is about the same
as that for light ash, and the graining-color can be mixed with raw
sienna and raw umber, adding black or blue; or yellow ochre can be used
for the basis of the color, adding raw umber and a little black for the
dark streaks. The work is then put in with a fitch tool and blended
softly, or a piece of pointed wood like a pencil may be used, the point
being covered with a thin cotton rag, and the heart grains put in with
this, taking care to have the grains subdued and not appearing
prominent. The grains of whitewood generally appear sunken; they are
simply outlined, and not softened with the rag.

[Illustration: Plate 47.


Whitewood sometimes assumes a blistered appearance peculiar to itself
and somewhat like the grain of Hungarian ash. This kind of whitewood is
very difficult to imitate, as the high lights are so strong and
brilliant as to require touching up with the ground-color after the
work is dry. This kind is seldom imitated.



When a job of graining is finished; if it is deemed necessary to
varnish it, the question arises, "What kind of varnish shall be used?"
and this is a subject on which widely different opinions prevail.
Almost every master painter has his favorite kind of varnish and is
slow to accept anything contrary to his own idea of what should be
used; and right here I will say that if you have something that, like
the joke of the clown in the circus, has withstood the test of time, do
not look farther, but "hold fast to that which is good."

There are many kinds of varnishes and finishes made especially for
application to exposed work, outside doors, etc., but my experience
with many of them has been anything but satisfactory. There may be some
particular kind of varnish that will stand exposure in this climate
without cracking or turning white, but I have never seen any such. I
would like to find some article that will withstand the changes of
temperature to which it would be subjected in the New England
climate--say one hundred and twenty to one hundred and thirty degrees
annually--and I do not expect ever to find any such, as, when the
varnish has been applied to exposed work and the gum has become
thoroughly hardened, cracking will of necessity ensue, for the reason
that heat causes the expansion of the material to which the varnish is
applied, and, the varnish being thoroughly hardened, so that it cannot
expand, it must crack in obedience to the law of nature that heat
expands. Cracking may result from inability to contract after having
expanded from heat. This is allowing for no internal complications in
the varnish, and what is written above wholly applies to varnish that
is exposed to the weather, and is based on what seems to be practical

I am living in a house that is grained in oil on the outside; the
clapboards and trimmings on the southwest side were chosen for testing
the varnish. To prevent any misunderstanding, I will state the manner
in which the work was done. The clapboards are No. 1 spruce, the
trimmings are pine and cypress. The carpentry work was done in July,
1886, and stood three days before being primed. The priming color was
mixed as follows:--One hundred pounds of white lead, to which were
added about twenty-five pounds of yellow ochre, a small quantity of
japan drier, and thinned with best raw linseed oil. After being primed
for two weeks, the work was grounded, using the priming color that was
left, with enough lead added to make a groundwork for oak. The
trimmings are done in cherry. The work was not grained until October,
1886, and neither wax nor anything else was used for megilp. The
varnishes were nearly all applied on the tenth day after the work was
grained; the day was warm and bright, and each varnish was put on just
as it came from the factory, without thinners of any kind. Each was
poured into a clean vessel and a new brush was used, so as to give each
kind of varnish an even chance; and the result is below stated.

Seventeen kinds of varnishes, hardwood finishes, spar composition,
etc., were applied as stated, and the result was highly disastrous, as,
with two exceptions, they all cracked in less than twelve months. The
two exceptions were, first, a mixture of linseed oil two parts to japan
drier one part; second, a preparation said to contain ninety per cent.
of linseed oil. This is the only thing on the side of the house to-day
(February 29, 1888) that has any gloss; all the others except the oil
and the drier are in various stages of imitation of alligator skin, or
they have cracked so minutely as wholly to destroy the gloss. Some of
the hardwood finishes cracked in twenty-eight days after being applied,
and their makers claimed that they could be used on outside work
without danger of cracking. The longest time that any varnish stood
without cracking was slightly over eleven months, and that kind cost
five dollars per gallon, and was sold for wearing body varnish.[A] I
have some of these varnishes and finishes applied to inside work, and
at present they show no signs of cracking, but I am afraid that it will
be only a question of time when they too will crack. For interior work
I am in favor of using shellac over grained work in preference to
varnish, and I have shellac applied to the doors of my rooms, the
casings, etc., being finished with first-quality varnish; so that I
will have an opportunity of observing their respective merits and
durability. Shellac finish is less glaring than varnish, and has the
advantage of drying quickly; so that it escapes the dust which is
invariably present in new buildings. It can be rubbed down, if
necessary, in the same manner as hardwood, and where graining is done
to match wood finished in shellac it makes the work look uniform. I
have yet to see a job of new work that has cracked after being
shellacked if properly grounded. There are some of the old-fashioned
varnishes that stand without cracking on inside work. One case I
remember where an office had been grained and varnished when the
factory was built, and, so far as known, had been revarnished but once
for thirty-two years afterward. There was no sign of cracks in the
varnish, and those people who profess that the cause of cracking is due
to wax in the graining color would be surprised to see that the
graining color in this case appeared to contain plenty of wax.

Varnish may stand for a long time on inside work without cracking; but
the reverse is the rule in my experience; for varnish that has been
bought from the factory expressly for inside work, and for which a good
price has been paid, has cracked in less than six months after being
applied, and this was on new wood; so that there was apparently nothing
to hasten its early decay.

Some seven years ago I varnished a table-top which had been grained. I
chose what a master carriage painter called one of the best makes of
rubbing varnish, and applied three coats to the table, rubbing it on
the third day after each coat. It looked nicely when finished, but in
less than four months it had cracked. The cracks finally became so deep
that they were faced up with putty; and this was a solid walnut
table-top which had been thoroughly planed off and shellacked before
being painted and grained. This is but one of many instances which have
led me altogether to discard varnish for any work I wish to preserve;
and where interior work is not too much exposed to wear I prefer to
leave it as grained in oil or to shellac it, and for exterior work to
give it an occasional coat of oil and drier rather than to varnish it.

I have not mentioned the names of the makers of the varnishes, but they
were some of the representative makers of the country, and most of the
labels expressly stated that the contents of the packages would not
crack, blister or turn white.

I hope that the experience of others has been more favorable than has
mine, but we must speak of things as we find them.


[Footnote A: October, 1890.--The preparation containing 90 per cent.
linseed oil cracked badly in fourteen months: the oil and dryer cracked
soon after, due, I presume, to gum in the japan.]



Graining--that is painting in imitation of wood or of marble--is
generally looked upon as a business branch of the house-painting which
any competent painter is, or should be, able to do, but in reality we
find that only about four or five men in each large city do all the
best work in this line, and make a business of it, doing nothing
else--"graining for the trade," as it is called. One grainer will do
the work of twenty or more paint-shops, and if he is a first-class
workman, he will earn more than double the wages of an ordinary
painter, and will find employment all the year round.

Now, any large city can boast of twenty to thirty artists--landscape,
marine, portrait, etc.--whose work is praised and is accepted at
art-galleries, and in some cases brings enormous prices at sales; but
why is it that their work is lauded to the skies; when at best it is
but an imitation of nature, and when an equally good imitation in
another form is (as a rule) condemned by architects and critics as
unworthy a place in artistic residences or in the more prominent rooms
of such houses? Any person of ordinary intelligence can at a glance
discover that an oil painting is a mere copy or representation of
nature, but the grain of wood or of marble can be so closely imitated
that it is impossible even for an expert to detect at a glance that it
is counterfeit, and a close examination sometimes fails to reveal
whether it is genuine or not.

Some people think that successfully to imitate the color and the grain
of any wood or any marble is as much of an art as is the representation
of a landscape, for, while there are dozens of artists who can
faithfully reproduce a landscape on canvas, there are few who can make
a pine door look like the oak or cherry jamb and casing that surround
it, as first-class grainers often have to do, and do so well that not
one person in a thousand could tell the real wood from the imitation.
And not only is the wood imitated by such men, but mouldings, cornices,
panels, etc., are so faithfully represented as to pass for such except
on close inspection.

It is said that in order to become an artist one must be born with
certain qualifications or he will fail to be successful: this is
equally true in the case of the grainer; and some people think that in
order to become a first-class grainer more gifts are required at birth
than if the person were destined to become an artist, as the artist
generally has before him models or the original of his picture, while
the grainer is supposed to imitate whatever kind of wood or marble is
called for--in most cases, without any of the original before him and
doing the work from recollection of the grain of the particular wood or
marble he is imitating. While it is very true that the average
imitation of wood or marble is poorly done, still the whole business
should not be condemned, and any large city can furnish illustrations
of the fact that graining is so well done as to deceive workers in
wood; and they ought to be competent judges.

The idea of representing wood by painting is as old as any branch of
the business, and, though excellent work has been done in days gone by,
the efforts of the foremost grainers of the present time will favorably
compare with those of any age, as, with new inventions to aid them,
they have taken rapid strides toward perfection.



Steel combs (Fig. 1) are four or five inches wide, with teeth of three
regular sizes--course, medium and fine. They may be used for all woods
where the grain is strongly marked, whether the work is done in oil or
in distemper; there is also a four-inch steel comb with teeth graduated
from coarse to fine (Fig. 2) that is often useful; a few one- or
two-inch steel combs are handy for use on mouldings or on odd corners.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.]

Leather combs (Fig. 3) can be purchased from most of the large dealers
in painters' materials, but they are inferior to combs cut from the
best sheet rubber. In making the latter choose a piece of rubber
measuring about two by four inches and not over a quarter of an inch.
Cut the teeth on each of the four inch sides, making those on one side
coarse and those on the other side fine, thus you have two combs in
one, and by turning over the comb different lines can be made; do not
cut the notches of the comb too deep, and leave considerable space for
the face of the teeth. A rubber comb can be often used, especially on
rough work, without covering the teeth with a rag, as being soft it
conforms to the inequalities of the surface, and leaves a more distinct
pattern than does a leather comb.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.]

[Illustration: FIG. 10.]

[Illustration: FIG. 11.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12.]

[Illustration: FIG. 13.]

[Illustration: FIG. 14.]

[Illustration: FIG. 15.]

[Illustration: FIG. 16.]

[Illustration: FIG. 17.]

[Illustration: FIG. 18.]

[Illustration: FIG. 19.]

[Illustration: FIG. 20.]

In representing the grain of oak, the tracks of the steel comb should
cross or interlock so as to make a series of disconnected lines similar
to the pores of the wood; for ash and other straight-grained woods,
the grains should never interlock but appear clean and sharp in regular
order from the side of the hearts to the edges of the board.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.]

[Illustration: FIG. 22.]

[Illustration: FIG. 23.]

[Illustration: FIG. 24.]

The piped bristle or fitch hair overgrainer (Fig. 4) may be used in
oil or in distemper for representing ash, walnut, cherry, mahogany,
etc.; for maple it may be used as an overgrainer. For overgraining any
wood in distemper there is no better tool than the plain bristle
overgrainer (Fig. 5) the bristles being separated into clusters with a
bone comb after charging the brush with color.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.]

[Illustration: FIG. 26.]

The badger blender (Fig. 6) is used for all graining done in distemper
and is sometimes used for oil work, a similar brush made of bristles is
sometimes used for marbling. The flat bristle brush used for applying
the graining color is the only blender necessary for oil work.

The castellated or knotted overgrainer (Figs. 7, 8 and 9) is used for
graining in distemper work, which has previously been grained in oil.

The plain overgrainer (Figs. 10, 11 and 12) may be used for shading in
distemper or for graining maple.

Mottlers or cutters made of bristles (Figs. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) are for
use for distemper color in graining maple, mahogany, etc.

The angular cutter (Fig. 17) is used for taking out the high lights in

The waved mottler (Fig. 18) is used for representing maple, mahogany or
satinwood in distemper.

Camel's-hair mottlers or cutters (Figs. 19 and 20) are used for very
fine work on maple, etc., but the bristle brushes answer all practical

The serrated mottler or marbler (Fig. 21) is used for maple or
satinwood in distemper or for marbling.

For applying distemper color a tin bound bristle graining brush (Fig.
22) is excellent, it should be about 1/2 an inch thick.

The bristle stippler (Fig. 23) is used for walnut or for mahogany in

The fitch or sable piped overgrainer (Fig. 24) is used in distemper for
maple, satinwood or other delicate work.

The check roller is used for putting in the pores of oak and the dark
streaks or lines in the hearts, and is used to best advantage in
distemper. A well charged mottler supplies the color. The mottler is
laid against the edges of the wheels, and by revolving the roller the
color is transferred to the work. A guard of tin may be soldered to the
mottler so that it fits the handle of the roller, being held in place
by the thumb.

One or two flat fresco bristle liners (Figs. 25 and 26) No. 1 and 2 for
putting in hearts, veins, etc., and one or two tin bound sash tools
complete the list of all tools necessary for use, and any wood that
grows may be represented by using the tools mentioned.



Various devices other than those usually employed--brushes, combs,
etc.--have been invented for representing the grains of wood, and some
of these machines are excellent, and are so constructed that by
properly using them a very good imitation of wood may be obtained. The
majority of them, however, seem to have been invented for the express
purpose of being sold to gullible painters. The work done by such
machines bears but little resemblance to the grain of any wood, and the
only merit they possess is their boasted "ease of manipulation." It
would seem that the majority of the patent pads, rollers, etc., now in
use were designed by persons totally unfamiliar with the various woods
which they claim their machines can represent; they bear the same
relation to good handwork as the schoolboy's drawing of a house bears
to that of an architect. The quality of the work seems to be immaterial
if it can rapidly be executed; and if there are plenty of knots in the
pattern, so much the better. It is of no consequence what wood it is
supposed to represent, so long as it pleases the eye of the painter,
and he will often purchase at an exorbitant price that which is
practically useless for ordinary housework.

I have before me a circular containing some photographic illustrations
of the work done by a patent roller process; and if any wood ever grew
that bears a resemblance to the illustrations, I am ignorant of its
name. Aniline colors are the means employed to represent the grains,
and the process is designed to obviate the necessity of first painting
the work, as the color is directly applied by the roller, without the
wood being prepared in any way. It is claimed that any shadows or
grains existing in the wood will only add to the beauty of the finished
work. This will be news to the intelligent workman. The circular says
nothing about how to use the rollers on painted work, so I presume it
is worthless except for new work, and nearly so for that; for the
painter who attempts to represent wood in the manner described will
find that in the end it costs as much as though he had employed a
skilful workman; and when the job is finished, he will have but a poor
imitation of wood.

So far as I am aware, the oldest machine for representing the graining
of wood is the Mason pad, which consists of a convex pad with handles
at either end. The face of the pad is made of a rubber composition, on
which are engraved the grains, the pad being about two feet in length.
The graining-color is applied to the work, and while wet the pad is
pressed against it, thus removing sufficient color to show the grain.
This process is now seldom used; the composition of which the face of
the pad is made hardens in cold weather and in hot weather it is
inclined to run together, and great care must be taken to avoid
defacing the pad.

The objection common to all roller processes or machines is that they
do the same work over and over again, which is contrary to what we find
in nature, as the grains are always different from one another, so that
it would require an endless variety of patterns to do such work as is
done by any first-class grainer.

Another method for the rapid imitation of wood is found in
stencil-plates, which consist of thin sheets of brass so constructed
that when laid against the panel to be grained they leave no mark until
a cloth is passed over the plate, when the graining-color exposed by
the stencil is rubbed off, thus making the grains. This sort of work
looks much better than that done by any of the pads or rollers, but is
open to the same objection--viz., repetition.

Another process is operated by having rolls with leather or composition
surface, with the grains cut thereon; after the graining-color has been
applied to the work, the rollers are passed over it, thus removing the
color wherever the roller touches. As a rule, the work done by this
process is not very distinct, nor is it particularly clean. Very large
rollers have to be used in order to grain a panel four feet long, as
the work will seldom join without showing the joints; and while a door
was being grained in this manner (with joints in the panels), a skilful
workman could do one by hand and in a much better manner.

The best work that I have ever seen, not done by hand, was by means of
a composition roller with a smooth surface; it can be used only for the
imitation of porous woods, as chestnut, ash and walnut, and is useless
for oak, cherry or any of the close-grained woods. The work can first
be stippled in distemper, and when dry rubbed in lightly in oil; or the
roller can be applied directly to the stippled work or to the
groundwork, and afterwards stippled if necessary. It is requisite to
procure several pieces of the wood to be imitated, smoothed carefully
with the pores open; then directly apply the graining-color and with
the composition roller go over the wood, taking the color from the
pores and applying it directly to the work by transfer. If carefully
done, you have an exact duplicate of the grain of the real wood, and no
man can do better work than this; but, in order to grain a room or a
house in this manner, it is necessary to have a great variety of pieces
of porous wood, and to use each piece only for imitating the wood of
which it is composed.

The gransorbian is another transfer process, by which the grains are
produced as follows: The graining-color is applied in the usual manner,
and heavy absorptive paper on which the grain of the wood to be
imitated is impressed is laid against the wet color; a roller with a
smooth surface is passed over the paper, using considerable force, so
that the color is absorbed into the paper wherever it is pressed
against the work by the roller. The paper can be used several times
before it becomes useless through becoming saturated with color, but,
being cheap, it is an inexpensive manner of doing fair to good work.
All depends on the man who makes the patterns, as, if they are not true
to nature, the effect is very bad, and some of the samples that I have
seen are very poor imitations of the grain of any wood. I should judge
that the paper is produced by applying the pulp to a block of wood on
which the pattern to be produced is engraved, using considerable
pressure to force the pulp into the carved work. The plain work is done
with combs in the usual manner.

Another transfer process is the transfer paper. The grain is printed on
paper similar to the best wall-paper, and is transferred to the
groundwork by pressure after first wetting the back of the paper and
allowing time for the water thoroughly to soften the printed color. The
surface of the groundwork must first be damped in order to receive the
moist color from the paper. Two or three impressions may be obtained
from each wetting of the paper. Some of the work done by this process
is excellent, and approaches very near the work done by the smooth
transfer roller, but the majority of the paper is printed from blocks
or cylinders, designed not by nature, but by man, and are unworthy of
comparison with those printed from nature.

There are various processes other than handwork, but the above are the
principal methods employed.

The first-class grainer has nothing to fear from any of the foregoing
processes, for while some were being used the work could be done in the
old way, and equally well, provided the workmen were at all skilful. I
have never seen any work that can excel fine handwork, as there is
more grace and variety in such work than there is in any done by any
other methods. When the services of a grainer cannot be obtained,
machine processes may answer for ordinary work or for small work, such
as ice-chests, pails, etc., but the chief objection I have to them is
that they claim too much, and the average painter who buys the process
is deceived, because he is told that any wood can be imitated by this
or that machine, when such is not the case.



In imitating carved work, mouldings, etc. in graining color, more than
ordinary ability is required in order to succeed in deceiving people;
and this kind of work should not be attempted unless there is ample
time for its proper execution, nor should its use be contemplated for
too exposed positions, as if not thoroughly done it is an eyesore to
the intelligent beholder, but if done in a recessed doorway or other
suitable place, inside or outside, it enhances the value of the work if
it agrees with the general style of the architecture or of the
surroundings. Mouldings or raised panels are often imitated on front
doors where the real article would never be placed by an intelligent
carpenter, owing to the shape of the door; hence it would be displaying
poor judgment to place the imitation where the real article ought to
find no place. It is wonderful how a thorough grainer can transform a
plastered wall into one apparently sheathed or wainscoted, and I have
seen doors so perfectly imitated that persons would grasp at the knob
in attempting to open a door that was grained on a plastered wall.
Imitations of carved figures, scrolls and game-birds are favored by
some workmen, and are very effective if well done; as a rule such work
should be seen in a subdued light to render the deception more




Alcohol, use of, in distemper, 30.

Ammonia, spirits of, for removing old paint, 6.

Angular cutter, 50, 53.

Aniline colors used in graining, 54.

Ash, burl, 20.
  burl, ground colors for, 8.
  graining, 17.
  ground colors for, 7.
  Hungarian, 19.
  Hungarian, ground colors for, 7.
  Western, to match, 18.

Asphaltum for shading color of oak, 16.


Badger blender, 49, 52.

Bamboo brush, use of, in graining rosewood, 37.

Best colors should be used for graining, 7.

Bird's-eye maple, 22.
  maple in water color, 22.

Black walnut, 31.

Blending groundwork, 12.
  quartered oak, 13.

Blistered appearance of whitewood, 41.

Bristle graining brush, 51, 53.
  liners, fresco, 52, 53.
  mottlers or cutters, 50, 53.
  stippler, 53.

Brush, bamboo, use of, in graining rosewood, 37.
  should not be stubby, 11.

Burl ash, 20.
  ash, ground colors for, 8.
  ash in oil color, 20.

Burning off paint, 6.


Camel's-hair mottler or cutter, 50, 53.

Castellated or knotted overgrainer, 49, 50, 52.

Champs, to put in, 12.

Champs, shading, 15.

Cheap jobs, 6.

Check roller, 15, 53.

Cherry, 28.
  ground work for, 8.
  in oil color, preference for, 28.
  natural wood, to match, 8.

Chestnut, 21.
  clean cut divisions in graining, 14.
  clearly cut joints in graining, 14.
  graining in water colors, 22.
  ground colors for, 7.
  resemblance to ash, 21.

Coats, which to be avoided, 8.
  thin preferable, 8.

Color for graining, 9.
  for graining burl ash, 20.
  of wood, to imitate, 9.
  preparation of in graining oak, 10.
  straining before thinning, 7.
  to mix, 11.
  usually dark, 10.

Combs, leather, 48, 49.
  rubber, 12.
  steel, 48.

Composition roller, graining by, 56.

Copyists of copies, 13.

Covering teeth of graining combs, 12.

Cracking of varnish, 42.

Curly, or rock maple, 25.

Cutter, angular, 50, 53.

Cutters or mottlers 50, 53.

Cypress wood, 38.


Dark oak, 7.
  ground color for, 7.
  veins in rosewood, 37.
  veins in mahogany, 35.
  veins in quartered oak, 12.

Degenerate copyists of copies, 13.

Distemper, graining ash in, 18.
  graining oak in, 16.

Divisions should be clean cut in graining, 14.

"Docked" pencil in bird's eye maple, 23.

Driers in graining color, 11.

Dry colors should never be used for grounds, 7.


Edges of panel, how finished, 14.

Experience in varnish cracking, 43.

Eyes and shadows in bird's eye maple, 23.
  in bird's eye maple, how to accentuate, 24.


Feathered mahogany, 36.

Fine art, graining considered as a, 46.
  champs in pollard oak, to put in, 28.

Fitch hair overgrainer, 49, 51.
  or piped overgrainer, 51, 53.
  tool, use of in graining ash, 17.
  tool, use of in graining cypress, 39.

Flat brush used in graining in preference to round, 11.
  fresco bristle liners, 52, 53.

French walnut, burl, 32.
  walnut burl, graining in distemper, 33, 34.
  walnut burl, pieces should be small, 34.

French walnut, ground work for, 8.

Fresco bristle liners, 52, 53.


Glue size for distemper binder, 30.

Graduated teeth in graining combs, 12.

Grainers' combs, 11.
  tools, 48.

Graining ash, 17.
  ash in distemper, 18.
  by patent roller, 54.
  by stencil plates, 55.
  by transfer paper, 57.
  can be scoured off, 5.
  cannot be chipped, 5.
  chestnut, 21.
  color, 9.
  color, to mix, 9.
  considered as a fine art, 46.
  cypress, 39.
  for the trade, 46.
  light oak in oil, 10.
  oak, 7, 16.
  over old paint, 5.
  over old work, preparation for, 6.
  will not fade, 5.

Gransorbian transfer graining process, 56.

Grained work, varnishing over, 42.

Ground color, 6.
  color, Indian red should never be used, for 9.
  for burl ash, 8.
  for chestnut, 7.
  for cypress graining, 39.
  for satin wood, 8.
  colors of ash, 7.

Growth of ash, heart, 17.
  of cherry, 29.

Growth for white wood, 41.

Ground work for cherry, 8.
  for French walnut, 8.
  for graining, 5.
  for mahogany, 8.
  for oak, 7.
  for rosewood, 9.
  for satin wood, 26.
  for walnut, 8.
  when old paint is not removed, 9.


Heart grains in bird's eye maple, 24.
  growth of ash, 17.
  of oak, 14.
  work in quartered oak, 14.

Hearts, imitating in black walnut, 32.

Hard pine, 40.

Hard wood varnishes, 43.

High lights in whitewood, 41.

Honduras feathered mahogany, 35.

Hungarian ash, 19.
  ground colors for, 7.


Imitation of carved work, mouldings, etc., 58.


Mahogany, 35.
  ground work for, 8.

Maple bird's eye, 22.
  ground colors for, 7.

Marbler or mottler, the serrated, 50, 53.

Mason pad, 55.

Matching stained oak, 18.

Mitres and joints in graining, 14.

Mixing color, 11.
  graining color, 9.
  ground colors, 7.

Modern panels and styles of doors, 58.

Mottler, the waved, 50, 53.

Mottlers or cutters, 50, 53.
  camel's hair, 50, 53.


Oak, dark, 7.
  graining, 16.
  graining, all colors for, 7.
  graining in distemper, 16.
  groundwork for, 7.
  heart of, 14.
  light, 7.
  light in oil, to grain, 10.
  pollard, 27.
  quartered, 13.
  slashed, 14.
  to grain, 10.

Objection to roller process of graining, 55.

Old paint, graining over, 5.

Old varnish, to remove, 6.

Overgrainer, castellated or knotted, 49, 50, 52.
  for satinwood, 26.

Overgraining oak, 15.

Overgrainer, plain, 51, 53.
  plain bristle, 49, 50, 52.
  piped bristle, 49, 51.


Paint, to remove, 6.

Panel edges, how finished, 14.

Panels and styles of doors, 58.

Panels in satinwood, 26.

Plain bristle overgrainer, 49, 52.
  overgrainer, 50, 53.

Patent roller process of graining, 54.

Preparing old work for graining, 6.

Piped bristle overgrainer, 49, 51.
  bristle overgrainer, use of, in graining black walnut, 31.

Piped overgrainer, 53.
  overgrainer, use of, 30.

Pollard oak, 27.

Priming coats, 8.
  partly in distemper and oil, 27.

Proportions of colors in graining color, 10.


Removing old paint, 6.
  old varnish, 6.

Rock or curly maple, 25.

Roller, the check, 53.

Root of ash, 20.

Rosewood, 37.
  groundwork for, 9.
  in water color, 37.

Round brush not used in graining, 11.

Rubber combs, 12.
  combs with graduated teeth, 12.

Rubbing in graining, 12.
  varnish, experiments with, 45.


Sable piped overgrainer, 53.

Sandpapering, 6.

Satin wood, 26.

Second coat work, 6.

Serrated mottler or marbler, 51, 53.

Shadows around knarled places, 15.

Shades in burl ash, 20.

Shading champs, 15.
  color of oak, 16.

Silver maple, 25.

Slashed oak, 14.

Smooth surface for graining, 6.

Solution for touching quartered oak work, 13.

Solution to remove varnish or paint, 6.

Spar composition, etc., 43.

Spirits of ammonia for removing old paint, 6.

Stained cherry, to match, 8.
  oak, to match, 10.
  white oak in preference to graining, 5.
  wood, ground colors for, 8.

Steel combs, 11.
  combs, (Illustrated) 48.
  comb, use of, in quartered oak, 14.

Stencil plates, graining by, 55.

Stippling for graining in mahogany, 36.
  for Hungarian ash, 19.
  in distemper for black walnut, 31.
Straining colors before thinning, 7.

Stubby brush should not be used, 11.

Substitutes for thumb nail in graining, 12.


The angular cutter, 50, 53.
  check roller, 53.
  fitch or sable piped overgrainer, 51, 53.
  graining color, 9.
  mason pad, 55.
  patent graining machines, 54.
  serrated mottler or marbler, 51, 53.
  stubborn bristle, 51, 53.
  waved mottler, 50, 53.

Thick coats should be avoided, 8.

Thinning graining color, 11.

Tools for putting bird's eyes in maple, 24.
  for use in graining cherry, 29.
  used by grainers, 48.

Tools, use in graining mahogany, 36.
  use in graining rosewood, 38.

Touching quartered oak with solution, 13.

Transfer graining, 56.
  paper, graining by, 57.

Thumb nail, substitutes for, in graining, 12.


Varnish for exposed work, 42.
  in graining, 5.

Varnishing over grained work, 42.

Veins, dark, in quartered oak, 13.
  in oak, 16.

Vinegar, use in removing old paint, 6.


Walnut, black, 31.
  French, burl, 32.
  French, groundwork for, 8.
  groundwork for, 8.

Water colors, use of, in graining black walnut, 31.

Waved mottler, the, 50, 53.

Western ash, matching, 18.

White wood, 40.
  wood, blistered appearance, 41.

Woods, color of, to imitate, 9.



Ash, burl, in water color, 16.
  dark, penciled and combed, 17.
  Hungarian, ground for, 1.
  Hungarian, wiped out, 18.
  light, ground for, 13.
  light, heart of, wiped out and shaded, 13.
  light, wiped out, 12.


Bird's eye maple overgrained, 19.
  ready for the eyes, 21.
  with the eyes, 22.

Black or French walnut, ground for, 2.
  walnut penciled, 36.

Burl ash in water color, 16.
  walnut, French, 39.


Cherry mottled in oil, 30.
  mottled and penciled in oil, 31.
  mottled and penciled in oil as finished, 33.
  stained, ground for, 2.
  wiped out and penciled in oil, 34.

Chestnut, 20.
  ground for, 2.

Curly maple overgrained, 27.
  mottled to overgrain, 26.

Curly walnut, 38.

Cypress in oil, 45.


Dark ash penciled and combed, 17.
  heart of ash penciled, 14.
  or pollard oak, ground for, 2.


Feathered mahogany, 42.

Finished cherry, mottled and penciled, 33.
  rosewood, 44.

Flaked oak, light, 4.
  oak light, shaded, 8, 10.
  oak light, ground for, 3.
  or quartered dark oak, shaded, 11.

French walnut burl, 39.


Grounds for graining, 1, 2.


Hard pine, 46.

Heart growth oak, light, 6.
  growth oak penciled, 7.
  of ash, dark, penciled, 14.
  of oak checked and shaded, 9.
  of light ash wiped out, 12.
  wiped out and shaded, 13.

Hungarian ash, ground for, 1.
  wiped out, 18.
  wiped out and penciled, 15.


Light ash, ground for, 1.
  ash heart of, wiped out, 12.
  ash heart of, wiped out and shaded, 13.
  flaked oak, 5.
  grained or wainscoted oak, 4.
  heart growth oak, 6.
  oak, ground for, 11.
  shaded flaked oak, 8, 10.


Mahogany, feathered, 42.
  ground for, 2.
  mottled, 41.
  straight, 40.

Maple, bird's-eye, mottled ready for the eyes, 21.
  bird's-eye, overgrained, 19.
  bird's-eye, with the eyes, 22.

Mottled and penciled cherry in oil, 31, 32.
  and penciled cherry in oil as finished, 33.
  bird's-eye maple ready for the eyes, 21.

Mottled cherry, 30.
  curly maple to overgrain, 26.
  mahogany, 41.

Mouldings, imitation of satinwood, 24.


Oak, dark or pollard, ground for, 2.
  flaked or quartered, 11.
  heart growth, pencilled, 7.
  heart of, checked and shaded, 9.
  light, flaked, 4, 5.
  light, flaked, shaded, 10.
  light, ground for, 1.
  light, heart growth, 6.
  flaked, light, shaded, 8.

Overgrained and mottled satinwood, 25.
  bird's-eye maple, 19.
  curly maple, 27.


Penciled and combed dark ash, 17.
  and wiped out Hungarian ash, 15.
  and wiped out walnut, 37.
  black walnut, 36.
  dark heart of ash, 14.

Penciled heart growth, 7.

Pine, hard, 46.

Plain or wainscoted oak, light, 3.

Pollard oak, 28, 29.
  oak, ground for, 2.


Quartered dark oak shaded, 11.


Rosewood as finished, 44.

Rosewood as outlined to overgrain, 43.
  ground for, 2.


Satinwood, mottled, 24.
  mottled and overgrained, 25.

Stained cherry, ground for, 2.

Stippled walnut, 35.

Straight mahogany, 41.


Wainscoted or plain oak, light, 3.

Walnut, black or French, ground for, 2.
  curly, 38.
  French, burl, 39.
  stippled, 35.
  wiped out and pencilled, 37.

Water colors, burl ash in, 16.

White wood in oil, 47.

Wiped out and pencilled Hungarian ash, 15.
  out and pencilled walnut, 37.
  out and shaded heart of light ash, 13.
  out cherry pencilled in oil, 34.
  out heart of light ash, 12.
  out Hungarian ash, 18.



Offers to the Trade at reasonable prices the undermentioned Varnishes
which have earned for themselves a high reputation for Durability,
Uniformity and Beauty of Finish.

DURABLE OAK for painted or grained surfaces.

INSIDE OAK for same use, but cheaper.

SHIPOLEUM for natural woods, thoroughly water-proof.

SUPREMIS FLOOR FINISH, unequalled in its line.

CRYSTALITE FINISH, a very pale polishing varnish.

HYPERION FINISH, a pale rubbing varnish.

ARCHITECTURAL COACH, an excellent article of medium price.


IVORY ENAMELITE for white interiors; can be rubbed.

OIL FINISH, hard, light & extra light

All of these are made of hard gums, and contain no rosin or acids.


Established 1865.

Patent Brush Binder

is worthy of the attention of every practical painter; it being the
only perfect binder ever made and one of the best improvements in the
painters' outfit. They are durable and easily adjusted.

Circulars and Price List furnished on application to
G. B. SIBLEY, Manufacturer, Bennington, Vt.

       *       *       *       *       *


Manufacturers of


259 and 261 ELSTON AVE.,


       *       *       *       *       *


Largest Assortment In Patterns of nearly all woods.


Perfectly Natural, Copies 4 times, Quick and Cheap.

ROLLS, 20" × 26', 40c. SHEETS, 20" × 6', 12c.

Postage, 3c. per roll. 3 samples, 10" × 18" 5c. 20 mailed 25c.

Excellent for study. To Grainers 10 sheets mailed for $1.00


STENCIL CO. of N. Y., 215 E. 59th St. NEW YORK.



William E. Wall



Give three days notice of work if possible. Orders by mail promptly
attended to

          Somerville, September 18, 1890

Messrs Harrison Bro's & Co.

I desire to place myself on record as thoroughly favoring the colors
put up by you for Grainers use.

After eight years experience with your colors, I find them always
uniform in shade, thoroughly ground, and of great strength.

While in Philadelphia last month I visited the factory, and was
particularly impressed with the method employed to keep the color
uniform in tone and strength, by blending the different varieties which
occur in the crude material, and keeping up to the high standard of
purity of color adopted by you.

          Yours Respectfully,

          William E. Wall

Painting and Decorating

Is a Monthly Magazine

Devoted to the interests of Grainers, Sign-, Fresco-, and
Carriage-Painters, and treating also of wall-paper and decoration. The
subscription price is $1.00 per annum, payable in advance; single
copies 10 cents. In each number will be found one or more COLORED
PLATES representing such subjects as graining panels, signs,
suggestions for interior decoration, color combinations for exterior
work, etc.

Practical articles of interest to painters by some of the best writers
in the country are a constant feature, and the minor departments are
replete with information written for the express purpose of not only
interesting the practical man and of teaching the beginner, but proving
of use and interest to all in the fraternity.

Sample Copies may be had Free of Charge on Application.


1130 SOUTH 35th. STREET,

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Illustrations were moved to paragraph breaks.

Minor corrections were made in punctuation.

The following changes were made:

Page 20: Changed represently to representing.
  Orig: for use in represently the minute clusters of knots.

Page 22: Changed overgainer to overgrainer.
  Orig: fitch tool, and use the overgainer

Page 34: Changed stipping to stippling.
  Orig: the stipping may be done in distemper on the ground-work

Index page iii: Changed Cyress wood to Cypress wood.

Index pages x and xiii: Changed Curley walnut to Curly walnut.

Index page xi: Changed Mapel to Maple.

Corrected numbers on List of Colored Illustrations:
  Switched 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 40 and 41, 42 and 43. Corrected these
  and other numbers in Index and Index to Colored Plates to reference
  the correct pages and plates, as far as could be determined.

All other inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been
retained from the original publication.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Practical Graining - With Description of Colors Employed and Tools Used" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.