I have been working on another client kitchen cabinet project, and continue to research new ways to minimize the grain that you get with painting oak cabinets. (Here is my Tips + Tricks for Painting Oak Cabinets, in case you missed it). This isn't the first time I'm working with oak, and I'm sure it won't be my last, but it's fun to discover and try new things in order to get a more refined end result. So, I'm testing a wood grain filler product for myself to see how it fares.
I'm really excited about this latest job, and I think the end result is going to be fantastic. I have primed the doors and have started painting them. I thought I would try the filler on the back of a door and examine the difference. I'd like to see how it works and determine whether it's a service I want to offer at an additional charge, since it is pretty labor intensive across a multitude of cabinets and drawers.
Here is a shot of the back of one of the oak doors, primed.
Here is a shot of another door, where I used the wood grain filler. Definite difference, right?
You can still see some of the grain, but it's not nearly as noticeable as the grain in the untreated door. Granted, this door has two coats of primer vs. one, but the grain is definitely diminished. The nice thing about using a grain filler is that you can apply more than one coat if necessary.
I picked up some Behlen Water Base Grain filler at my local Woodcraft store. The same place where I bought my amazing General Finishes gel stain for my "Stain Without Pain" projects. Sitting on top is their "grain filler spreader/leveler" which is used to smooth it out and work it into the grain.
Now, I have some work to do with my technique, as it's not a pretty process. This stuff is thick and sticky - not very easy to work with as a beginner.
Obviously, I have some work to do on my technique. I used the spreader/leveler tool to apply it, and I think that was my mistake. Next time I'll use a rag or even a paint or foam brush to work it into the grain. The good news is that this stuff sands really well.
Definitely a product I want to master, since so many people are looking to say good-bye to the grain. I have an oak bathroom vanity redo in my queue, which I think will be a perfect opportunity to work on my technique.
This video would have been a good one to watch prior to attempting this. It demonstrates both solvent and water based grain filler applications.