Grain Filler for Oak

      Drywall compound is good for filling Oak grain before painting, but the results may not be perfect. October 18, 2012

I recently completed building and installing an island cabinet and a pantry cabinet for a client. When I was done the client asked if I could price painting their existing cabinets. The existing cabinets are stained/clear finished oak and the grain, well it looks like clean finished oak. The client wants to paint the cabinets and not see the grain. I need a recommendation on a grain filler to use. I am going to take the doors and drawer fronts off and bring them to my shop to spray them. I may also bring my turbine and spray the boxes. I don't have time to try a bunch of different products right now.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
Other issues will come up, but, yes, you are right to worry about the grain when painting. It won't drop into the pores and they will look dark(er). Wash off the crud and the polishes (TSP, sodium sesquicarbonate) and then spackle fill the grain. Sand off the excess when toothing the old finish for your primer/bond/bridge (maybe BIN 123).

From contributor M:
Use drywall compound for the spackle step the previous poster recommended. It is super easy to sand off the excess. Always sand opposite of the direction of the grain to get the flattest final surface before you prime coat.

From contributor R:
Even if you fill it as above it will still be wavy. I always have to have a conversation with the customer and I never tell them the grain will go away. I tell them I can minimize it and that oak will always be oak but I can make it look like really nice painted oak.

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