Sandblasted plywood — also known as wedge wood — used like paneling in midcentury houses

Earlier this year, when we showed this 1955 time capsule house in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we all marveled at the unusual paneling and island cabinet material. No, it’s not pecky cypress (one of my longtime obsessions) No, it’s not not Formica. No, it’s not pickled plywood — well, that’s close. The purchaser of the home, along with real estate friend Robert Searcy, reveal that it is sandblasted plywood, which Robert says also may have been known as wedge wood or have been marketed under the Wedge Wood brand name. Read on –>

This house was ultimately purchased by commenter R. Shannon, who says:

The paneling you see was created by sandblasting the softer wood leaving a raised texture. Originally the paneling was close to an avocado color with black accents.

Robert agreed:

Just saw this old post. That raised grain wood paneling was used in a few houses here in Houston and R. Shannon is correct, it is sandblasted plywood. It cannot be duplicated today because the plywood they make now is not the same type/quality and would not hold up to the sandblasting treatment nor create the same effect. In one house I know of the kitchen cabinets were made with this material and the blueprints referred to it as “wedgewood.” I have never heard it referenced as such anywhere else, usually it is just referred to as sandblasted plywood.

Robert’s friend with the house he mentions says that he believes, “the tag (on on the kitchen cabinets, now replaced) said ‘wedge wood, a decorative wood product.’

Thank you, R. Shannon and Robert S. for solving this paneling mystery. So interesting. Since the only two examples we have seen of sandblasted plywood so far are in Texas and Oklahoma, I wonder if the use of this materials was more common in those states and vicinities. A vernacular material used by merchant builders in the region?

Does anyone else have this in their home? I would love to add some better images to our archive.

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Comments

  1. Allen says

    Interesting! There is the Wedgwood neighborhood in Tulsa that is full of Mid-Mod homes. I wonder if there is any correlation?

  2. says

    I’ve never seen it before, but I really like the look of it. Also, I’m really digging the above cabinet lighting in the kitchen picture.

  3. Lynne says

    I’m not loving the paneling. But I do love the kitchen. What a shame they replaced it. I wonder will they be keeping the paneling?

  4. Dan says

    Weldwood from United States Plywood Corporation is stamped on back of bookshelf that came with vintage 1954 ranch home in suburban Kansas City.

  5. Donna says

    I’ve always wondered what this was! My father used it in their bedroom addition in 1954! I grew up in that house wondering how they did that to the walls. I wish I had a piece of it now, I’d frame it!

  6. patrick says

    Hi, ever since you took time off to fix your blog, etc, pictures don’t come through on the RSS feed, only a few sentences from the post. From working with other blogs I know that is a choice you can make and sometimes don’t realize you made it. I figured you may not know what is coming through to our RSS feed. If you did choose to have that, that’s a bummer since it requires us to click through to your website for every single Rss feed. I like your website and I hope you get a lot of traffic, and I five you some traffic, but sometimes I’m just not interested to read every post so sometimes I just quickly browse through the feed list.

    No need to post this comment – just figured this was the easiest way to let you know. Thanks.

    Patrick, 1960 ranch owner who loves my cool od bathroom and semi cool old kitchen.

  7. bex says

    I had to laugh when I saw this post. I live in a 1957 ranch in Easthampton MA that I bought from the original owner back in 2003. We have an enclosed porch that has (what my home inspector called) sandblasted wood paneling. We are looking to make the 3 season room into a 4 season room and just had a contractor over. He had never seen anything like this. He thinks the wood is southern yellow pine. It’s amazing, and we are keeping the walls as is – just adding new windows. Pam, I’ll send you some photos when I get a chance. The paneling is so cool!

    • bex says

      ps. the back of the closet door (made out of the sandblasted wood) is stamped ‘raynor’. It might be a longer word, since it’s right at the edge of the wood.

  8. F Martin says

    My 1950 ranch in Houston has a single guest bedroom wall covered in sandblasted plywood, although it’s had several coats of paint.

  9. Diana draper says

    I have a 800 sq. ft. house in redding,calif that was built in the fifties, one of the first per-fabs I’m told. Sandblasted plywood was used in the living room and dining room. I also know of another house in redding, a larger home where this wood was used. Does anyone know if a similar effect can be had now? Thanks

  10. Phil Priestley says

    The ceiling in our dining, entry and living room as well as the wall in the dining room, entry and above the fireplaces in our 1962 Ranch are all a greenish version of this. In 2008 we had a tree hit the house and snap a 6×6 purlin in the living room but not damage the plywood.

  11. Kathy says

    I once rented a 1950s starter house in Cincinnati, Ohio, and it had paneling like this. It was a type of a dark reddish brown varnish that showed the raised grain, used in the dining room as wainscoting. I haven’t seen anything like it since.

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