George Frank mentions a process of filling the pores with a mixture of bleached wax and whiting in his book ‘Adventures in Wood Finishing’, but in general I agree with Cabinetman. I’m also a bit confused. The term ‘raising the grain’ usually refers to what happens when water or water based dyes swell the wood surface a little. After it dries, your nice smooth wood is fuzzy and needs to be re-sanded. Do you mean enhance the grain, as in accentuate the differences between the lighter and darker patterns in the wood?
Wax never cures completely like other finishes, so it will be dissolved with application of some stains or other finishes, and heat could melt it years later. This is only a guess, but it might be theoretically possible to fill the pores of the wood with light colored wax then cover it with a non-wax dissolving finish that would seal the wax, leaving it in the pores (something like what George Frank does). I don’t know what finishes would stick to wax, but shellac sticks to just about everything. I’ve never done that and wouldn’t, because of the properties of wax described above and that there are other ways to fill the pores with contrasting colors, though it might be worth a few experiments. Perhaps someone has actually done this and can chime in.
There are numerous ways to enhance the grain - too many to list here. One quick way to enhance the visual difference in the grain would be apply a thin coat of shellac - 1 or 2 lb cut - to seal the wood, then fill the pores with a light material. I’ve colored plaster of paris with red water based aniline dye then filled the pores of red oak. The shellac seals the surface but allows the plaster to get into the deeper pores. The visual effect is striking.
Last edited by TGRANT; 03-29-2011 at 08:01 AM.