Painting wood grain on metals

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Painting wood grain on metals

Post by TahoeSteam » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:36 am

Have any of you any experience in painting faux wood grain on metals? Hints, tips, tricks??

Thank you all and a Happy New Year!

~Wes
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by Mike Rometer » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:55 am

As I recall my old man had a bin full of tools to do that job, though I never saw him use them all. I remember a special roller with notched discs, spaced apart, that was used to simulate oak, and all sorts of different grade brushes, so I guess it depends a bit on what wood you want to copy.

The base coat was a sort of creamy buff (allowed to dry thoroughly), and the upper coats were browns, more like coloured varnish, that were spread and stroked about so the base showed through where required.

I know he always reckoned that when done well it was almost impossible to tell from the real thing.
Last edited by Mike Rometer on Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by RGSP » Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:09 am

I've seen it done, relatively recently, and agree with Mike above: quite a number of specialist tools, and a great deal of skill to do it properly. I don't think putting it onto metal will make any difference at all, but curved surfaces would be tricky.
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by DetroiTug » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:47 pm

Wes,

Yes it involves a special base coat, then a special paint and then special tools and the technique takes some time to become proficient. One of those deals, by the time one learns how, they are finished.

Not sure what you require woodgrain on, but it may be easier and cheaper to cover it with wood. A good plywood with a veneer is a good route also. Can have any type of wood you want - even exotics, can be vanished and it looks great. Veneers are made from the finest woods available. Easy to apply with Weldwood contact cement - spread thin coat on both mating surfaces and let dry, cover the base with wax paper then lay the veneer atop, then working from the center start sliding the wax paper out and use a soft-faced mallet to bond the two pieces as you go to eliminate bubbles.

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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by RGSP » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:18 pm

If you do go the veneers route, it's worth knowing that ordinary white PVA wood glue works extremely well as a thermoplastic heat-activated adhesive. Paint a thin layer of it onto both surfaces, let them fully dry, and then position the veneer and use a domestic clothes iron (or any other heat source) to re-soften the surfaces and make them stick to each other. It's essentially what "iron on" edging strips have on them.
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by Mike Rometer » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:56 pm

I have to ask, does that work the same with exterior version? The normal PVA suffers damp 'destruction'.
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by Bob Cleek » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:40 pm

I've done it and seen it done. There are kits you can get from interior decorating and paint stores that "supposedly" have all you need in them. To do what is known in the trade as a "faux finish" takes a bit of artistic ability but it isn't that hard if you follow the directions. That said, to do a really good job, takes skill and practice. Even then, it will only fool the eye at a distance. The better the job, the shorter the distance, but a trained eye can spot it a mile away. I've seen some attempt to paint extruded aluminum sailboat masts to look like wood, but, despite a lot of effort, painting them tan works as well as getting all crazy trying to work grain patterns into the piece if you are looking at it from twenty yards away.

A lot depends on how closely the piece will be viewed on a regular basis. Close up interior architectural details can be faux finished by competent decorators so that a rather good impression of wood or marble can be achieved, but this is best done in areas where the eye's attention isn't going to be closely focused. One of the biggest mistakes that is often made in faux finishing is to finish something in a material that never could, or would, have been used to make the piece. That's where odd shapes and such come in. I recall inspecting the square-rigged cargo carrier, Peking, at NY's South Street Seaport maybe twenty years ago. She was in a sad state and museum volunteers were doing their best to keep her somewhat presentable, owing no doubt to a lack of sufficient funds. Someone had, with the best of intentions, certainly, attempted to pull off a faux wood finish on the exterior face of her forecastle bulkhead which was made of riveted iron plate. Needless to say, it wasn't at all convincing and was quite jarring to my practiced eye, but I'm sure a lot of tourists never noticed.
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by TahoeSteam » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:45 am

Thank you guys! Just wanting to paint a few things for a "10-footer" paintjob.

Any detailed tips Bob?

~Wes
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by RGSP » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:27 am

Mike Rometer wrote:I have to ask, does that work the same with exterior version? The normal PVA suffers damp 'destruction'.
It works with Evo Stik "Exterior" modified PVA (Blue container). I wouldn't like to subject that to underwater conditions though.
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Re: Painting wood grain on metals

Post by Mike Rometer » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:28 am

RGSP wrote:
Mike Rometer wrote:I have to ask, does that work the same with exterior version? The normal PVA suffers damp 'destruction'.
It works with Evo Stik "Exterior" modified PVA (Blue container). I wouldn't like to subject that to underwater conditions though.
Ta! I'll have to give it a try.
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