by "Tacoma Bob" Bob Elms

Materials list

Tack cloth
1500 grit wet or dry sandpaper
400 grit wet or dry sandpaper
600 grit wet or dry sandpaper
A small scrap of actual mahogany
Two cans of Krylon Ruddy Brown primer
One quart of PPG DX300 Acrylic-Clean wax and grease remover
1/2 pint can of Minwax walnut oilbase gel-stain
Two cans of Mini fast drying polyurethane (aerosol)
Several of the cheapest junk bristle brushes you can find in one and two inch widths.
Several acid brushes. One can (coupes) two cans (sedans) of 1969 ford thunderbird Indian fire metallic
(DDL 2046 SC Brunt Orange Poly) Auto Paint Supply Store Item

Graining tools

My favorite tool is a piece of foam rubber cut to a size a little smaller than a Snicker's candy bar.
Almost anything goes here though. Feathers, combs, balled up tin foil, plastic or stainless steel
scouring pads. Coarse steel wool should work too as long as you soak it in the wax and grease
remover to eliminate any oil. I think you get the picture, let your imagination run wild a little bit.


The following is with the understanding that all the preparation on your pieces is done.
In other words any holes have been welded up and all the "bondo" work is finished.
Spray the printer on the all the pieces. Make sure to primer all the surfaces of each piece.
Two medium coats should be fine. Let everything dry well. Don't try to rush this project.
Your shop conditions will dictate the final outcome. Next spray on the base color coat.
Again make sure all the surfaces are covered" When everything is bolted back in the
car you don't want to see bare metal or primer anywhere. When you're sure everything
is dry lightly sand with 600 grit sandpaper and warm soapy water. GO EASY here.
You just want to level the base color coat out a little. Rinse with plenty of warm water
and wipe down each piece with the wax and grease remover and wipe dry.
Next, take the cheap brushes and chop the heck out of the bristles.
Irregularity is what you want here. Take the acid brushes and cut them at a45' angle.
As I mentioned earlier my favorite graining tool is a piece of foam rubber the size of a
Snicker's candy bar. Now that you're tools are at the ready take a 2" cheap brush and
dip in the walnut gel-stain. Don't be frugal here, load up the brush.
Start brushing in ONE direction only, NOT BACK AND FORTH. It's OK to overlap your work a bit.
Right away you should start to sec nice things happening. Depending on just how
Model Anal you are consult the judging standards as to how the grain should look as
you view the dash rail. Straight across or arched slightly. It's up to you. I suppose you
could stop here and let everything dry but I keep going. Take your graining tool and dip
it in the gel-stain. NOW pretend you have a bad case of the shakes and with a light
touch start laying down the grain. There are times when you will hold the tool so contact
is being made on the edge and other strokes will be made with one entire surface making
contact with the piece. Keep quivering and lightly shaking and use light pressure.
It should be very evident at this point that your graining is coming alive. If not wipe all
or part of your work off and try again. ....... I won't tell, I promise. If your happy then stop
and let everything dry thoroughly. The next step if your feeling lucky is to LIGHTLY
sand the pieces with warm soapy water and 1500 grit wet or dry sandpaper.
(You may omit this step, I don't though). This step helps to level out the "grain" and makes
the top coals easier to finish. Wipe thoroughly with wax and grease remover.
Now for the clear top coats. There are people that say not to use polyurethane clear coats.
If your one of those than use an aerosol spar varnish. Which ever you choose, one medium
wet coat at a time please. If it goes on too dry, subsequent coats will leave you with orange peel.
Let each coat dry to the Max before applying the next coat. I like to sand with soapy water
and 600 or 1500 grit between these clear top coats. Again shop conditions will dictate much
about drying times and so forth but don't rush it. l would suggest letting everything dry for a
week or so If all looks good and your happy install the pieces and call it good. I prefer to wet
sand one more time with plenty of warm soapy water and 1500 grit sandpaper. I then use
polishing compound which in my opinion leaves more of a natural hand rubbed gloss.
Then a coat of paste wax. To not do this step leaves the work looking a bit too much like plastic.
Well there you have it. For around $75.00 and a little practice you have just saved yourself a
very large chunk of change. It's also great if you can involve the family in this project not to
mention the bragging rights that you did it yourself. Enjoy!

Helpful Hints

Use the tack cloth to pick up any dust on the pieces before the beginning of each step.
Don't put too much grain paint in the countersunk holes. Wax the underneath sides of
the machine screws. This will help keep from chipping.