Wood is described by the use of the word grain. Open-grained wood, such as oak, or hickory may be more difficult to finish than closed-grained (or small grained) varieties such as maple. You might understand this concept easier by comparing wood to your skin. Just as human skin has pores, wood has grain. The size of the pores varies from person to person and the grain of wood varies from variety of wood.
Even after finishing, open-grained wood has open pores which may make the finish appear uneven if the wood is not property prepared before finishing. Therefore, you will want to take the extra time and effort to prepare your open-grained wood surface to avoid a streaky or poor appearance.
Decide Which Filler to use on Open-grained Wood
If your wood has a very large grain you may wish to use filler before applying your finish. There are two types of wood filler commonly used on open-grained wood. One uses a cornstarch base and is tinted. The other uses a silicate base and dries transparent so does not need to be color matched.
The proper use of wood filler on open-grained wood will provide you a smooth finish upon which to apply your finish for a beautiful look you will enjoy for many years.