painting red oak

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Forum topic by cabs4less posted 11-03-2010 07:12 PM 8361 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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235 posts in 2787 days

11-03-2010 07:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak finishing

I was asked today if i could match the kitchen cabinets i just finshed building to a set of bath cabs i just finished finishing for the same customer. Orginally the customer wanted a stained red oak kitchen and bath cab painted linen white wit a cool brown glaze applied. The reason she doesnt like the stained look no more is cause it look ‘to grainy’ so she wants me to paint them to hide the grain of the oak i dont think it can be done but i aint no expert on finishing so any advice is welcomed SO is there a way to paint and glaze oak that hides the grain patterns

-- As Best I Can

11 replies so far

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2905 days

#1 posted 11-03-2010 07:19 PM

What type of paint are you planning on using? What color?

You should be able to cover the grain just fine. I would recommended using BIN primer. Its nasty stuff but covers most anything and drys super fast. I think its a lacquer primer. Then for the top coat I would use a good quality latex based paint like Benjamin Moore or AquaBorne? which is a water rest paint.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View JBfromMN's profile


107 posts in 2801 days

#2 posted 11-03-2010 07:20 PM

“she wants me to paint them to hide the grain of the oak “

Why use oak then??? Use Poplar it will be cheaper.

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3425 days

#3 posted 11-03-2010 07:24 PM

Use poplar instead.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3567 days

#4 posted 11-03-2010 07:39 PM

He already built them you two…..

You need to fill the grain before painting, otherwise it will show. It will show through any paint if not filled. You can use anything from bondo to grain filler. I would try this product from bondo for paint grade

-- Childress Woodworks

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#5 posted 11-03-2010 07:40 PM

If you paint oak, the texture of the grain will still be very obvious. Personally, I like that look. But it sounds like your customer may not.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View JBfromMN's profile


107 posts in 2801 days

#6 posted 11-03-2010 07:41 PM

Oh yeah duh, So I need reading lessons….

Yeah you will need to fill the grain to hide it. Oak is much too open grained to just paint over and expect to hide the grain.

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 2787 days

#7 posted 11-03-2010 07:56 PM

if she told me she wanted them painted in the first place i would have used poplar but she did a change order after the cabinets were built and about to be stained. paint wise i use tinted laquers from lenmar almost exclusivly
i never used grain filler any tips on applying it
thanks for the link childress that stuff looks promising

-- As Best I Can

View JBfromMN's profile


107 posts in 2801 days

#8 posted 11-03-2010 08:02 PM

I have used wunderfil from Rockler:

I thin it out with water to the consistancy of pancake batter. Use a plastic putty knife to spead it around. Let it dry overnight. Sand smooth using 180-220 grit. Rotate to the next surface and repeat. For areas that you can not get flat to basically pour it into, do not thin it and just force it in with the putty knife. Let it set up overnight still before sanding smooth.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2905 days

#9 posted 11-03-2010 08:11 PM

Before you go and make a mess with grain filler, check with a local paint store or search online for a primer that also acts as a filler. I know there is one out there. I cant think of who makes it. That way your primer coat would fill the grain… You can probably get it filled if you use a couple coats of primer and sand after each coat. Using a putty knife to cover a bunch of cabinets sounds like a mess to me.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

508 posts in 3915 days

#10 posted 11-03-2010 09:01 PM

It depends on how easily that high-solids primer coat can be sanded. If it’s going to gunk up your sandpaper quickly, you may be better off with the filler and putty knife, because most waterbased (and maybe oil based) products for grain filling sand to a powder very easily. But if the primer is easy to sand, then you might like it better. I’ve mused about your situation in the past and wondered what I’d do if a customer wanted me to cover up nice grain with paint. The paint itself, as mentioned, will not hide the grain of oak and does look nice IMO, but having the grain filled seems wasteful…but it’s not my money…

Paint a sample piece of oak for her to see and decide if that’s really what she wants. It’s amazing that some people don’t appreciate the natural beauty of wood…I myself used to be that way before I opened my eyes to the wonderful world of woodworking. Oak isn’t my favorite wood, but compared to a flat, grainless surface, I’d take oak any day.

I’m sure you’re just glad that you have a customer in this sad economy.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View jayman7's profile


218 posts in 3530 days

#11 posted 11-03-2010 09:17 PM

I painted my red oak kitchen cabinets. I filled the grain with MH Ready Patch from home depot. You apply it just like drywall compound. Sand it smooth, prime, and paint it. It hides all the open grain.

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