Exploratory dry scrapping of our Dining Room doors revealed they had been grain painted in the 19th century to look like oak, or perhaps, chestnut. The execution of the faux grain is rather simplified and crude. Unlike the simulated maple found on our second floor, this paint surface was extremely fragile and it was difficult to uncover. The doors had also suffered horribly from the destructive nails of a previous occupants dog that must have been repeatedly locked in the room. Since it was impossible to remove later layers we could not restore these doors to their original appearance. Fortunately, the interiors of the doors on the recess closets flanking the fireplace had never been painted over so they will continue to serve as a record of the room’s once orange woodwork.
Having stripped the doors of their paint, I tried my own hand at giving them a new grain painted finish. I have attempted to imitate mahogany after studying a few books on the subject and watching some videos online. For inspiration I recalled gaping in amazement standing before the genius of Thomas Kershaw’s work at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Clearly, no one has ever been better than that fellow. I knew I couldn’t hope to come close to his achievements but it was a rewarding project and I enjoyed working with the materials. Oil paint is very forgiving if you are displeased and want to wipe your work away and try again.