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Made to grain.This elegant, easy-to-make cupboard is an excellent project to wood grain. For construction details, see page 45.

hours), sand with 220-grit paper and remove all sanding dust by brushing and vacuuming.


For the ground coat, which will provide the background color for graining, I use a satin alkyd enamel paint tinted to match the lightest shade of the wood being copied. You've got some leeway with this color, but it's better to err on the light «¡do because it's easier ro darken a light color than tu lighten a dark one.

Using a good quality brush, apply the ground coat in the same manner as the primer, brushing along the grain. Level out the paint with long flowing strokes, using the tip of the brush, then allow the coat to dry completely. If the coverage is thorough, one coat may be sufficient. 1 usually put on two, applying them thinly by brushing them out well. Between coats, I dry sand with 400-grit wct-or-dry paper. After the second coat is dry, I wet sand with the same grit paper lubricated with a couple of drops of dish detergent in water. Be careful not to sand through the paint, especially along edges. When finished, wipe the paint with a dampened cloth and buff dry. When the surface is totally dry, you're ready to apply the glaze.


Now it's time to apply the glaze and create the actual graining patterns. The glaze itself is a thick, pigmented stain.

SOURCES Woodgraining supplies and tools are available from the following mail-order suppliers:

Janovic/Plaza Inc.

800-772-4381 Circle ft hi2

Woodworker's Supply Inc.

800-645-9292 (Request the "Wood Finishing Supply Catalog") Circle P 613

Old Mill Cabinet Shoppe

1660 Camp Betty Washington Rd., York, PA 1 7402 717-755-8884

You manipulate the glaze while it's still wet, using various tools to produce the desired mock wood grain. The glaze coat needs to be thick so it won't flow out or level itself. That way, details will stay crisp until the glaze dries completely. The glaze should be translucent enough to allow the base coat to show through.

Specific glaze formulations were closely guarded secrets of period grainers, but today there arc two basic media. One is a "distemper" glaze made by mixing dry powder pigments with either vinegar or beer. The other, which is more commonly used, is an oil-based glaze. 1 usually use a pre-mixed glazing liquid such as Pratt & Lambert's "Lyt-all" Glazing Liquid or McCloskcy's "Glaze Coat." I tint the glaze to the desired color by adding pigment—using Japan colors for quickcr drying or artist's oil colors for slower drying. You can also use dry powder pigment, which will not affect the drying rate of the glaze. (See "Sources," at left.)

You can also make your own glaze using the following formula:

4 oz. boiled linseed oil

8 oz. alkyd satin varnish

12 oz. mineral spirits Ai tsp. Japan drier

2 oz. of artist's oil color If your project has any hard edges (ie: intersections of door stiles and rails), mask these areas off with low-tack painter's masking tape. See page 43 for the specific techniques I used on my cupboard.

You can adjust the final color of the glaze after it's dry by top coating with a varnish stain such as Minwax "Polyshadcs" or by brushing on a thin wash of a transparent oil stain.

CRAIG BENTZLEY restores antique fit mit ure and builds period reproductions in his Chalfont, PA shop.


After a thorough drying period, apply a couple of thin coats of an alkyd satin varnish. This will enhance the illusion of depth and provide some protection for the fragile glazed surfaces. Finally, rub out your final varnish coat with 4/0 steel wool, then follow up with an application of paste wax, and the job is complete. A

What Is Good


Six Viewpoints from the Granite State by Ellis Walentine

"Design" is one of those fuzzy terms that means something different to almost everyone. Yet design is at the foundation of everything we make in the workshop, by intention or by default. Technically speaking, design is the process of conceiving and specifying something for production, whether we plan to make one or a thousand. But, more than that, it's an opportunity to express ourselves, which can be one of the most satisfying aspects of woodworking.

When we design furniture, we arc deciding how it will look and function. Since we all have different tastes and abilities, our design solutions will almost certainly be different. Fortunately, there's no single "best" solution to a particular design problem. Some pieces may function better than others, but, when it comes to appearance, the dilTerences arc mostly subjective—beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How then can we hope to devise guidelines for "good design?"

This perennial question was the topic of a panel discussion held by the Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers at a recent guild meeting. Before an audience of about 80 guild members, the six panelists—all professional woodworkers chosen from the guild s ranks—showed slides of their work and talked about their approaches to design. Their styles ranged from traditional to eclectic, from understated to exuberant. Some were rooted in the past, like David Lamb's beautifully derivative casework (see page ^2); others seemed to be based on specific techniques, such as Jere Osgood's graceful laminations. And while all could be considered good design, no two visions were the same.

By the end of the discussion, it was clear that good design can take many forms. No matter where your creative juices lead you, you can produce good design as long as you address all the functional requirements of the piece. But designing isn't automatic or necessarily intuitive—ii takes practice. The panelists had built their design careers on strong foundations of craftsmanship, observation and experience. I asked them to choose some pieces that illustrate their design philosophies, and to offer some advice to new designers. Here's what the)' had to say...

Desk; by Terry Moore 45 H. x 36 W. x 14 D. Ceylon ebony veneer, curly maple

Shared destinations, different journeys. These desks by three New Hampshire craftsmen are all examples of "good design, " yet the designers' approaches are completely different.

Ebony desk, by Jere Osgood 50 H. x 69 W. x 41 D. Ebony; laminated ash, lacewood, pearwood, red mirror leather

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