Graining can also mean the production of any artificial texture on any surface. For example in printing, by making the smooth metal sheets used in modern printing processes coarse. A stone working equivalent of graining is marbling.
A book entitled The Museum of Antiquity, in which a description is given of the Egyptian trades three thousand years ago, the following: Boxes, chairs, tables, etc., were often made of ebony inlaid with ivory, sycamore, and acacia veneering with thin layers and carved devices of rare woods added as ornament on inferior surfaces; and a fondness for display induced the Egyptians to paint common boards to imitate foreign varieties so generally practiced at the present day. The colors were usually applied on a thin coating of stucco or a ground smoothly laid on prepared wood and the various knots and grains made to resemble the wood they were intended to counterfeit. This account would appear to indicate that grainers were a professional class of artisans over three thousand years ago. Perhaps the principal reason why a decorator should be conversant with the production of graining is that sooner or later in his career he will may be called upon to execute it. This being so, he should be in a position to supply the demand.
Graining is the art of imitating the different types of natural wood grain It ranges from simple Clair Bois to intricate English Walnut. There are basically two types of wood graining: Coarse(rustic) and Fine(polite). In fine graining, layers are built up using water colors and finished with an oil glaze. For the water colors use a beer solution tinted with a pigment, Indian inks, or Vandyke crystals dissolved in water. Vandyke crystals are very dark, almost a match for burnt umber but by varying the amount of water you can get a color range from pale brown to nearly black.