Concealing Oak Grain When Painting

jbaxMarch 2, 2010

I am going to paint my builder basic oak kitchen cabinets. I went to Home Depot and they told me that all I needed to use was their Behr paint + primer in one and the grain would not be visible. After three coats on a door in my laundry room, the grain is still visible. It is not the smooth outcome I was looking for.

What is the best way to prep the cabinets so I can get a nice, even, smooth finish? I have heard some suggest Wunderfil and other FPE Brushing Putty. Any suggestions?

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amrad

Oak is a very coarse grain wood, and using a filler may not give you a flat surface like a Maple cabinet would. You could try the Wunderfil, just make sure you use a compatible primer. FPE brushing primer looks like it might work, but kinda pricey.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 9:45PM
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HandyMac

Now you know not to ask for advice at HD/other home improvement stores.

The only sure way to paint oak and not see the grain is to apply a grain filler and sand until the surface is smooth.

HOLY COW!!!!!!! I just Googled FPE Brushing Putty! $110 for an Eurogallon, whatever that is. I gotta go find some heart medicine!!!!!!!!

The stuff listed in the link below does a fine job and is much less expensive and easier to apply/sand than Wunderfil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pore-O-Pac

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 12:03AM
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jbax

Handymac,

Thanks for the info on Pore-o-Pac. Pricewise I thought FPE Brushing Putty was expensive, but gallon for gallon it ends up being about $20 more than pore-o-pac. Not that much in the grand scheme. I just want to buy something that is A) going to be easy to use and B) covers the oak grain.

I do not know how much I need, though. I have to cover 30 cabinet doors, 9 drawers, the boxes and a large panel.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 12:19AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Pore-o-pac isn't suitable for already-finished wood. It needs to go into empty virgin pores (sorry that sounded so nasty).
The brushing putty has filler material that is ground so much finer than pore-o-pac, it's no comparison.
Moral of the story is to never believe what the big-box paint guys tell you; check it out online as well to get verification or nullification.
Casey

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 11:29AM
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brickeyee

Pore-O-Pac is normally diluted with naptha for actual use, so it goes further than just the volume of the can.

It will NOT work very well on finished surfaces though, and the solvents can cause any finish present to wrinkle and lift.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 2:18PM
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jbax

Thank you for the information. It sounds like I will go with the $110 (yikes) FPE Brushing Putty. It sounds like it will work better since 7 of the cabinets are unfinished and all the rest are already finished.

Yes, I have learned my lesson about believing what the big box boys say. I am just glad I didn't buy a gallon of the paint, like they wanted me to do.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 4:28PM
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brickeyee

"It sounds like I will go with the $110 (yikes) FPE Brushing Putty."

Experiment with adding thinner to it since you are filling very small volumes in the grain.

The same methods used for paste filler might also work well.

After applying the thinned past filler it is rubbed across the grain with burlap to pick up most of the excess material, and then along the grain with plastic tools (the auto body supply house has nice plastic scrapers) to compact what remains and remove any remaining excess.

The scraper is drawn across the surface pushing the material down, not to cut it off.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:33PM
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WendyB

I don't know just what kind of results you got with the Behr paint+putty nor do I know just how smooth you want it to be. But, I had a similar decision to make last year and I considered FPE Putty. (btw, many related threads on this subject in the kitchen and paint forums)

Anyhow, I applied two liberal coats of Benj Moore All Purpose primer and some sanding followed by 2 coats of B.M. Aura satin paint. I can still see grain at an angle with good lighting, but overall, the 20 year old builder oak cabinets went from a "2" to a "8" with not an extreme amount of effort. That was totally acceptable to me for the time and effort I was willing to expend. The room was transformed (with the help of some new SS appliances!) and I love it!

You may want to experiment with a hybrid-compromise approach before going with the FPE for sure.

just my $.02

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 11:12AM
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WendyB

afterthought... the ultimate smoothness of the finish coat is just as responsible for the overall look. Spray vs. roller vs. brush contributes greatly to the final smoothness too.

$.03

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 11:16AM
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bobismyuncle

This excerpt from a book may be of some help. In one of Jeff's books or articles, he has some oak that he's dyed purple, then added a yellowish glaze to fill the pores (or maybe vice-versa). I was hoping it was here, but it does not appear to be. I am reminded of what the "furniture guys" once said, "This finish may not be for everyone," and the response, "This finish may not be for anyone."

Here is a link that might be useful: pore filling

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:47PM
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BobbyHs

I have filled pores with a mixture of Venetian plaster reduced to a softer material by adding joint compound. I have also taken some interior spackling and combined it with the soft puffy kind and a little paint before sanding out big runs left by amateur homeowners trying to paint their cabinets. Truth be known, if you put some joint compound in the pores and then primed them with a good primer, you would be done and it would be fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home ReNewal Painting

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 9:24AM
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