Wood Grain Car Paint Project: 1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe

In early November, 2012…

I was offered this wood grain car paint project by a world class auto upholstery guy in my area.

The details of this project will be included in the upcoming version of the Perfect Wood Grain course for auto painters, where I’ll include process pics, video and technical details necessary to paint this finish.

Wood Grain Car Paint 1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe burl dashboard.

The car owner requested…

… that I mimic the “original” finish, which had actually been done in the 80’s. I convinced him to let me do more convincing faux wood paint. 

1947 Chevrolet burl dashboard Wood Grain Car Paint

I’m picky about which projects I take on.

I can’t afford to have my work associated with ugly cars. When I saw the level of restoration and quality of work on this car, I knew this wood grain car paint project would be a worthwhile endeavor.

I make sure to pay special attention to detail in high focus areas like window trim escutcheons.

1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe Wood Grain Car Paint  burl window rings and headliner

The interior work on this car is immaculate thanks to Ed at Kenny’s Auto Upholstery in Renton, WA.

1947 Chevrolet faux burl wood grain car paint dashboard trim ring close-up.

More window escutcheon detail.

1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe burl wood grain car paint dashboard trim ring close-up 2.

1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe faux burl wood grain car paint dashboard interior window trim ring.


Chevrolet faux burl painted wood grain car paint dashboard ashtray detail.

I made sure the wood grain flows over and through…

…the dash-mounted ashtray, as if it were all carved out of the same piece of burl. A common mistake that wood grainers make is having it flow around knobs and other features. Wood doesn’t grow that way and no carpenter can change the direction of grain.

1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe faux painted wood grain car paint burl dashboard interior trim instrument panel.


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11 comments on “Wood Grain Car Paint Project: 1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe

  1. Hello,
    I have a 35 standard chevy coupe. Original drivetrain. Restored in2003. The dash and window trim is black. I want it the original wood grain. I live in n.y. Where can i go?

    • Hey, Joe
      Definitely sounds like a worthwhile project. It can be very difficult to find a good wood grainer. The custom auto paint industry is sadly lacking… I suggest that you find a good pinstriper or other custom painter and send him to this site. I’ll help them get up to speed on graining quickly so they can do your project.


  2. Hey I’m working on a Packard restoration with a lot of real wood in it that’s cracked and shrunken. I’m not a carpenter and I’m looking at big bucks to get all the wood replaced. Can it be painted instead?

    • Hey Stephen
      Packards obviously offer some of the richest and amazing wood work in pre-war American cars. Whenever someone comes to me with a Packard and the wood is not cracked and shrunk and loose, I recommend refinishing it because I think it’s a sin to cover good wood with paint.
      This is rare, of course because that wood just doesn’t last.

      The most important thing is to get that wood anchored down tight. If it’s loose and you fill it, the filler will just crack. I suggest that you find an interior, body specialist and/or carpenter to help you fasten all the old wood peices and replace any that are rotten. Once it’s tight, it can be filled, sanded and painted.

      Hope this helps. Get back to me with any questions, please.


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  5. Hi,

    nice work on that 47 Chevy! I’m a sign painter in California wanting to add graining for dash boards to my list of services. I don’t know where to start. Any info?


    • Hey Ralph. Thanks for the question.

      Start by blasting or stripping to clean steel and applying a good, self-etching primer. If you have any concerns about color fastness, spray on a regular, two part auto paint, then scuff with 800 grit before graining with acrylic glaze.

      That’s how I do my client work, but for my own projects I roll or rattle can on satin urethane, latex or alkyd, as the layers of glaze and a good two part urethane like SPI Universal Clear will provide plenty of UV protection.

      Hope that helps.

  6. Pingback: Chevrolet 1947 business coupe | Zudas Auto

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