How to Raise the Grain on Wood

How to raise the grain on wood

How to raise the grain on wood?

Raising the grain is extremely easy.  Add water to the raw wood.

Allow the water to soak for a while.  A few hours with a soaking wet material on top should work.

You can apply heat to make this process go faster.

The water makes the wood swell and raises the grain, but let’s discuss if this is always necessary.


Why would you want to raise the grain?

We just purchased a secondhand dresser and on our way home we were able to add a super deep scratch to the top!

As soon as we got home we were shocked by the scratch so immediately we soaked an old rag in water and lay it on the scratch.

Leaving it for around an hour or 2.  Then go over the wet rag with a hot iron to make the wood swell even more.

By raising the grain I did not have to sand as deep as if I left the scratch alone.

Raising the grain is also a good idea if you want a very smooth surface.  When you are done sanding you can wipe down the surface with a wet towel and then sand again with a very fine-grit sandpaper.

This will give you an extremely smooth surface.

raise grain wood scratch

Deep scratch on the top of the dresser.

wet the grain

Adding water to the scratch and leaving the wet material on the scratch.

Adding heat with an iron to the scratched area.

After sanding the dresser.  We did not have to sand deep because we raised the wood grain.


Is raising the grain always necessary?

Raising the grain all depends on what sort of finish you want.  If you are looking for a rough finish you can probably skip raising the grain.

Depending on how many coats of finish you will add can also mean skipping this process.  Adding more than one coat of finish means you would probably be sanding between coats which would also make a smooth finish.

If you are using a water-based finish you are going to want to raise the grain.  No matter how smooth you get the wood once you add the finish the gain will raise.

After you have sanded the wood to 180 grit then you are going to want to wet the surface.  Let the water puddle and sit overnight if possible.

Now that the grain is raised you can sand it again with 180 grit or finer.

The whole point is to get a smooth surface without having to sand too deeply.


How to Raise the Grain on Wood Video:

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