Faux Wood Graining Light and Dark Mahogany

by THAT Painter Lady


Mahogany is one of the most beautifully formed woods that nature produces.

In its plain form or in its most intricate featherings, it is always pleasing to look at and its most profuse variations of form do not cause any nausea nor does one become confused or tired of them.

It is found in many variations of color. New mahogany is very light toned and seldom darker than a medium buff tone. It acquires a reddish tone by age, which becomes a rich dark red in time. This redness is usually artificially supplied in the natural wood by staining.

In graining it is the most usual to reproduce the rich red darker variety, and that of the light varieties is only resorted to in order to match some parts added to a room which has been finished in the light natural wood.

Mahogany Background Colors

The background color for light mahogany should be a buff more or less dark, according to the character of the finish wanted. A medium oak ground made by, the addition of ochre to white is the most usual for light mahogany.

For the darker mahogany imitations the background color should be rather reddish and much darker in tone.

To the white base should be added yellow ochre and Venetian red. For some specimens a tiny bit of burnt umber should be added in order to darken it, but never sufficiently to kill the red yellow tone.

Mahogany Graining Colors

The graining color for light mahogany is prepared by mixing raw sienna and burnt umber in glaze; and that used for graining dark mahogany is made from burnt sienna and burnt umber, the manner of doing the graining in either coloring is the same.

Mahogany seldom shows any regular veining, but soft tones of mottling, rather coarse and lengthy, but these usually are not numerous in what is known as plain mahogany. The whole character can be put on in one operation and with the sponge, which by the proper pressure will make out the broad veining’s, which when blended out to bring out the feathering usually suffice to give the right character to the wood.

The proper use of the sponge should be practiced in order to make the color lay strong in parts where it is wanted dark, and to wipe it out thin where but little coloring is desired to show over the ground.

In some specimens of plain mahogany many fine pores appear, and it may be well to flog a few of the lines made by the sponge lightly before blending. This must be quickly done, as otherwise it would become too dry for blending. There will be enough porousness show after the blending to make a more natural appearance than if the stippling had not been resorted to.

How To Create Crotch and Feathered Mahogany

Crotch and feathered mahogany should be studied in order to reproduce it correctly. It is not very difficult to do the work, but as said before the faux finisher must have a good idea of what he is going to do and should have the space to be grained –  pictured in his mind.

The feathering is brought out by the proper use of a sponge and the blending of it properly afterward has much to do in making it look natural, because if it’s not done right it will make an otherwise good piece of work look ridiculous.

In the crotch mahogany veneers one will frequently notice a fine set of veins which cross the mottling or feathering in an opposite direction. The veins are not nearly as prominent as the mottling, but seem to be a succession of fine paint lines.

In a curl or feather the over-graining must follow the direction of the curl, rising from the center and becoming gradually more pointed until it is lost in the general mottling of the wood.

The coloring should be the same as that used for the graining, only thinned a bit more and sometimes just darkened a bit more by the addition of a little ivory black.

The fine lines are put in with a fan brush because the bristles a already separated.

When all the graining is finished and you have sealed the work… it may still be too light for your taste. This can be corrected by using a tinted sealer in a reddish tone.

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