Graining comprises the imitating of woods and marbles; the latter is distinguished by the term marbling: it is strictly an imitative art, and demands in its execution considerable judgment and good taste, united to a close observation of the peculiar characters of the different woods and marbles to be represented. It is usually done on ground prepared for the purpose, the colour of which is varied according to the kind of wood or marble to be imitated; but as the manner of proceeding in imitating woods differs from that in the case of marbles, they will be noticed separately, beinning with -
The first thing to be attended to is the ground; and, although generally laid on by the plain painter, it should receive the particular attention of the grainer, for on the colour of the ground greatly depends the excellence of the imitation. The ground should be chosen of the same colour, but a little lighter, than the lightest parts of the wood to be imitated, sufficient allowance being made for the varnish afterwards to come upon it. Repeated trials on small patterns is, however, the best, and, indeed, the only safe way of arriving at the tint proper for the ground. The ground may either be mixed up, just as in finishing-oil colour, or it may be a bastard flat; and it should be very carefully prepared, as the shine of the varnish will cause the rough or uneven places to be detected. The pigments employed for graining are distinguished by the painter as transparent colours; those mostly used are raw umber, burnt umber, raw sienna, burnt sienna, Vandyke brown, burnt ochre, and lake; these, with the occasional assistance of small portions of the opaque, or imperfectly transparent colours, - ivory black, Prussian blue, or indigo, and purple brown, or Indian red, will be sufficient to match the colour of any of the woods usually imitated.
These pigments were, until within these last few years, worked in oil and spirits of turpentine; but, in consequence of the much greater facility found to be afforded by the use of water or distemper colours, oil is now seldom or never used, except for wainscot or oak graining, which is frequently done in oil. The tools employed in graining are round and flattened hog-hair brushes, of various sizes; the round ones are used chiefly for laying on the colour. Occasionally, as in very large pieces of work, large brushes of any convenient form are employed for that purpose. Of the flat brushes, there are cutters of various sizes, from two and a half inches to half an inch wide; these are made of camel's hair, having the ends or points of the hairs cut off square, to within about three-eighths of an inch from the ferrule; the edges should be very sharp and straight: they are used for producing the mottled appearance, as in mahogany and satin-wood. Flat hog-hair brushes, of various sizes, from six, or even twelve inches, to one and a half inches wide; these are used chiefly for graining wainscot in distemper. Flat hog-hair brushes, but of a much thinner description than the last-mentioned, are used for putting on the second grain, and for other purposes.
Badger-hair tools, or softeners, of several sizes; this tool is one of the most necessary kind, and it is employed to soften the work put in with the other tools. Cross-banders, of several sizes, from one and a half inch wide and upwards; they are flat hog-hair brushes, having their ends cut off to within about an inch of the ferrule; they should be very carefully made, and of the best hair; every bristle should lay straight and even, and, when cut, should have a straight, unbroken edge, similar to the cutter. We shall describe the use of this tool when speaking of the particular woods in which it is employed. These, with camel and hog-hair pencils, sponges, and pieces of wash-leather, are sufficient to imitate any of the woods except wainscot in oil, which requires a particular tool, which will be noticed presently. The woods generally imitated are the following: - oak, (dark oak,) wainscot, or light oak, pollard oak, mahogany, rose-wood, maple-wood, satin-wood, amboyna, zebra-wood, and yew. The general instructions given for imitating these will suffice for any other fancy woods. Wainscot, or light oak, although the most common, is perhaps the most difficult to produce a good imitation of: it is done either in oil or distemper.
The manner of proceeding in oil will be first described.