Minimize grain on Craftsman built ins.

Recommended Posts

Hello first post here, welcome any help.

I've got a 1908 foursquare home with craftsman style window/door frames and built ins.  ­Almost all was painted but I've stripped down to the original wood and am about to start with finishing.

Currently looks like this:



My problem is, that this was not originally a top dollar home and instead of nice tight grain wood, I have very wide grain so everything looks like it has tiger stripes.

Here is an example stripped:


and here is one of the few pieces with the original dark finish. (I'm intending to go as much lighter as possible)




Obviously I want grain to be visible, since I want it to still look like wood, but I want to know the best way to minimize this heavy contrast in the wood grain and even it out as much as possible.  I'm assuming I'd want a waterborne stain/finish rather than oil, but I guess I'm not really sure.  Should I use prestain wood conditioner? Maybe start with a clear coat then stain on top of that?  I've got a few pieces of base board in the same wood that I will be painting later, so I can use those for test pieces in the mean time but I'm not really sure where to start with tests.


Ideally I want to get as close to possible to this:



Thanks for your help!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of that almost looks like pine or fur or some form of pine plywood.  Back some years I was doing a piece of furniture out of pine because I was new to woodworking and didn't want to mess up some expensive wood.  I read about this technique that was referred to as a shellack wash.  It was a pretty diluted form of shellack that you sprayed on before staining and the stain penetration was more consistent.  It worked pretty well but unfortunately I don't remember the details.  You might try reposting this under "Finishing" instead of this restoration subcategory and see if you get a better response

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum. As my wife will attest, I never finish anything so I'm not your answer man, but I'm sure you will find some good answers.

The fact that you got the paint off is bound to have been a 100% improvement. Keep us posted on your progress.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.