Graining is the practice of imitating wood grain on a non-wood surface in order to increase that surface’s aesthetic appeal. Graining was common in the 19th century, as people were keen on imitating hard, expensive woods by applying a superficial layer of paint onto soft, inexpensive woods. Graining can be accomplished using either rudimentary tools or highly specialized graining tools. A specialized thick brush used for graining is often called a mottler. It is carried out in layers, with the first layer being a base, and then a second layer applied later, today usually by means of a sponge. During the 19th century, however, brushes were more commonly used.
Graining can also mean the production of any artificial texture on any surface. For example in printing, by making the smooth metal sheets used in modern printing processes coarse. A stone working equivalent of graining is marbling.
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