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Woodworking/Wormy chestnut


Living rm wall
Living rm wall  
I have a home w quite a bit of wormy chestnut. I'm told I should not touch it, but I'd really like to whitewash it. Will I ruin it to do so?  I prefer a softer look ---

Hi Karen, what a beautiful room...not sure who advised you "not to touch it", but it's your living space and I would do whatever you want to it! Chestnut has open grain and therefore would likely be quite striking with a wash effect. You would not "ruin" it by any means (unless you botch the job...), but it's important to realize going in that you won't be able to revert back to the natural wood look easily, if at all. White wash, or "pickling" as it's known, takes a bit of technique to apply evenly over a large area, but it's not rocket surgery, and it is a learnable technique. Several commercial products are available, and Minwax's is pretty good.A perfectly good one can be made with primer or flat paint as well, but it's more difficult to do for a novice.

The oil based #260 is one that I have used, and it's available in a waterborne product too. Both work well for this application, but the benefit of the oil based is a longer working or "open" time.....which can be very advantageous when working on a large expanse like this, which kind of eliminates the waterborne product. You will find that you need to apply it from floor to ceiling, working in sections, and then wipe off or "dry brush" the surface with the grain to evenly distribute the stain as you work, and this is where it can get tricky as you need to be able to replicate the steps identically across the whole expanse of paneling to make sure it's uniform and pleasing to the eye when you're done.It's a learned technique, and I highly recommend NOT learning it on your wall, but instead, practice on a smaller scale.....the other option obviously, is to seek the advise and/or services of a qualified painter or other pro, but MAKE SURE they can prove to you they know what they're doing.
Much help, and plenty of opinions as well,can be found with Google as well.
Hope that helps a little, Please post back if need be and best of luck.
Regards, Greg


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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects,Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings,wood species recognition,usage,etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Sold, built, serviced, setup Home,Industrial and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools, and offered instruction on use and care as well.I even have some Trade show Demo experience.

none at this time.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002)-("27 year compilation of expert know-how"),Multiple times in Family Handyman Magazine, local newspapers as well.

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars by Major tool manufacturers, Delta, Powermatic, Performax, Porter Cable, Skil/Bosch to name a few.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT.(the Antiques capital of CT.)
Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies.For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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