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.



Would you like some help with Faux Woodgrain?

Link to woodgrain paint course sign up page

Link to woodgrain car paint course sign up page




21 Responses

  1. Joe
    | Reply

    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?

    • Norman
      | Reply

      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. Stephen
    | Reply

    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?

    • Norman
      | Reply

      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.


  3. […] a previous post from this week, I included lots of pics of my recent 1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe Faux Wood Burl Dash and Trim […]

  4. […] A simple burl wood applied to a 1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe Dashboard and Trim. […]

  5. Derek McDonald
    | Reply


    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?


  6. Norman
    | Reply

    Hi Derek. You’re in luck. I teach people how to grain! Click this link and sign up to get updates when the courses go on sale.

  7. Ralph Villarino
    | Reply

    Hi, Norman just wondering what type of paint do you use on these Automotive dashboards

    • Norman
      | Reply

      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.

  8. […] Wood Grain Car Paint Project: 1947 Chevrolet Business Coupe […]

  9. David Joslin
    | Reply

    I have a 1940 Ford delux Coupe. The Davis painted a maroon and sand color (original specificaction) but the window garnishe are to be monogamy wood grained. Do you do such work. If so what is the cost and what is your location?

    • Norman
      | Reply

      Hey David. That sounds like a very cool project. The best way to proceed here is to head over to my services page, thoroughly answer the car graining questions and submit the form. I do get back to everyone who reaches out.

      Here’s that contact form: https://perfectwoodgrain.com/blog/wood-graining-services/

      Thanks for getting in touch.


  10. Larry Plummer
    | Reply

    Hello everyone. This is a wonderful forum for discussions among fellow artists and enthusiasts. I have been working with faux wood graining since 1987. One of my first big jobs was put in two Metro Washington DC news papers and in the a magazine that was named something like: Early American Craftsman magazine, and I was listed as one of Americas’s top 200 craftsman. I think that was around 1989. Still, I have never done this full time. Just side work or personal projects. And during the late 90’s, I taught about 3-400 persons, including contractors and homeowners, the basic wood graining classes in Southern Indiana and Louisville KY area when I worked for a paint manufacturer. When the painting business was slow, my employer allowed me to organize and teach some classes at the paint stores. Even though I’ve done some faux marbling, wood graining was my best work, because I could fool people into thinking something was wood when it was not. Several years ago I did some of my best work on the inside of a 1936 Ford. And this is why I am introducing myself to all of you. As I near retirement age, I would like to get into the work again to supliment my retirement income, when I do retire. Am I crazy for thinking I can go to some car shows and sit around with a dashboard on my table, showing the before, during and after pieces, to try and get customers? I can share some pics with you guys to show to what I have done. If interested n the pics, I can email them to you. Any suggestions about me making money at this? Please feel free to express your thoughts in this forum. If you wish to speak to me privately, please email me.


  11. Norman
    | Reply

    Hey Larry.

    Thanks for commenting and for sharing your story. I haven’t done the dash at car shows thing, but I’m sure it will lead to work for you.

    I’ll send you an email so we can coordinate on pictures and further education for you.


  12. FirstBecky
    | Reply

    Great article!! Thank you!

  13. Jennifer
    | Reply

    Hey I was wondering what you would use to clean it if it gets dusty. My boyfriend has a 48 fleetline I was wondering what would be best, so we don’t ruen the paint job. Any help is appreciated thanks.

    • Norman
      | Reply

      Hi Jennifer

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ll email you for clarification and then update this comment thread.

  14. Adam Cole
    | Reply

    Wow, Excellent information you share on this blog. Wood car interior it’s really awesome. I am very impressed by this blog. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

  15. Harold simpson
    | Reply

    I have a 1933 Ford 2 door sedan. I would like to have the meta dash and window trim painted like wood. Let me know if your interested in doing it.

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