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  Woodgraining History

  One of several original woodgraining patterns for the 1932 Ford  

Why woodgraining in collectible cars?
To answer that question we have to go all the way back to the very beginning, some 100 + years ago. At that time the body as well as the chassie was constructed of real wood, but very quickly wood was used only in body building, later with metal panels nailed to a wooden structure. But still, wood was used ornamentally on the body as well as for the dashboard.

(Step 1) Later, when there was a need for speeding up the production of the automobile, wood in the body was no more, like in the Ford Model T, which got it´s structure and even it´s dash in metal. But, that black painted dash looked simple compared to the more expensive cars which kept using wood for the dash and windowframes just because it looked so beautiful. More and more cheaper cars came to use metal dashes, and soon someone realized that you actually could paint on “wood” and get a woodlike surface. Suddenly the inexpensive car looked expensive, and almost every automobile maker needed woodgraining artists at the production line.
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(Step 2)
In about 1933 or 1934 came the next evolution of woodgraining – the method of rolling on the woodpattern by a soft press, which was expensive and difficult to produce. It was also difficult to handle, but when it worked it worked fast. Screenprinting was also tested.

(Step 3) Next step came in the late 30-ies, when the plastic film Di-Nock arrived. Finally the automobile producer was in charge of the woodgraining. Now you could start with a huge white paper on the drawingboard, draw a suitable woodgraining pattern and colour it, photograph it and scale it down to the size you needed, then transfer it to the Di-Nock plastic film and glue it to the dash. This also meant that we got some woodpatterns that has nothing to do with nature, but still looks good. This was the ultimate solution to automobile woodgraining, as it was used up until the late 1990-ies on the outside of US-wagons. After a few years absence it´s now back again, like optional to the Chrysler PT-Cruiser.

(Step 4) So why do you need a woodgrainer today? Just because there is no obsolete Di-Nock film to buy (with a very few exceptions), we are back to square one again. Today you need a good woodgrainer to reproduce step (1), step (2) and also step (3). Woodman has more than 30 years of experience, and is as close to you as your nearest Post office/phone/e-mail.

Woodman´s most frequent used brushes to create the illusion of wood.