5 Wood Graining Tools Explained

hand held wood grain print tools

Wood graining is a beautiful technique used to make walls and other surfaces appear to be the solid wood of your choice. Several tools are involved in this faux finish, and each works a little differently from the rest. Here is a brief overview of the five most important tools used to produce this interesting effect.

1 - Flogging Brush

A flogging brush is a thick paintbrush with extra-long bristles, commonly made of horse hair. When used to paint your surface in long strokes, it produces an effect that looks like the capillaries of a finely finished piece of wood. Use a flogging brush to paint on your first layer of wood-colored paint after priming the surface.

2 - Check Roller

A check roller is a crucial tool if your goal is to simulate a wood with a more porous look, such as oak, birch, or mahogany. Its thin checks move separately as you use the metal roller, creating an uneven woven effect that matches your favorite wood. Use this tool over a wet surface, recently painting over your base color.

3 - Check Combs

Unlike the check roller, check combs produce a more controlled effect. Available in various styles and materials, choosing either a set with varying teeth sizes or a triangular check comb will allow you to comb in grain on your wet paint literally. To determine whether you want thicker or thinner teeth, longer or shorter ones, talk to the expert buying your paints about the specific wood you wish to simulate on your surface.

4 - Overgrainers

These fine paintbrush “pencils” add an extra touch to your wood-graining faux finish. Often coming in sets, you choose the brush of your choice and lightly drag them through your color glazes to create fine lines and “flaws” that would be found in a real wood surface.

5 - Wood Graining Rocker

The rocker is the most important tool to have when creating a wood-graining finish. This rubber tool produces the ultimate wood grain texture by being slid and rocked through your wet finish. Its surface is made like a wood grain stamp, some complete with knot holes, and by streaking it through, you have perfect control of producing the inconsistent look and texture of the wood grain. You may consider using several different rockers for the job of wood graining to produce grains and knots with more variety, or you can use one, changing your speed, sides, and how and how often you rock the tool across the wet surface.

Depending on the wood you wish to copy, you may need all of these tools or just one or two. The amount of detail that goes into making your surface as realistic as possible is completely up to you. Being creative and choosing the colors and methods you think will look best is key to creating a wood graining faux finish you are proud of.