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.

Categoriesliving room
  1. PA Tonnemacher says:

    We have sandblasted plywood in our living room. The house was built in the early 1900’s and we’re guessing the plywood was added later.
    I’m thinking of whitewashing it as the wood makes the house dark!

  2. Rheannon Adams says:

    Hi from Montana! Took me forever to find out what the stuff was called! Took samples to 4 building supply stores and no one knew! Ours is done by Everett Plywood and is called “Brusht” fir. It has white washed paint as it’s finish. Manu date is 1956.

  3. John Everhart says:

    We have sandblasted plywood walls in our dining room. My father-in-law built the house in 1954. People are always inquisitive about these textured walls

  4. Steve Harmony says:

    My grandfather made a magazine rack out of sandblasted plywood in the 50s or 60s. I can send a picture if you want

  5. Karen says:

    We live in Irving, Texas in a 1955 modern Eichler wannabe house. Virtually all of the walls are sandblasted plywood, and the backs of the 8 ft panels are labeled “Surfwood” Originally, the 85 homes in our addition, Plymouth Park, were stained either a dark walnut or a medium oak shade. Most are painted over now.
    Thin sections were used as ceiling light soffits. The effect is terrific!
    In our room the main wall is white, and we’ve rubbed a light brown glaze over the grain to highlight it. It was tricky, but well worth the effort.

    1. Ron says:

      Great info . We are one of the Irving residents that every room in house is the sandblasted- Surfwood …..

    2. Ron says:

      We are in Plymouth Park too and every room in our house has the same paneling … Only one of the bedrooms it has been painted all the rest is untouched along with the original unpainted vaulted ceilings..

  6. JH says:

    Our little 1949 Cliff May (wanna be?) ranch in West LA has this for walls and a wedge-shaped planter that divides the living room and the dining room. We are in the process of stripping the planter (fingers crossed). I couldn’t figure out how to add a photo to a comment or I would 🙂

  7. Christy Bidstrup says:

    My father built our house in Laramie, WY in the mid-1950’s. He made our fireplace from the floor to the ceiling out of it as well as the doors to some built-in cabinets and the paneling in a basement apartment as well. He did it himself and used a thin green paint that settled in the lower part and then he wiped the higher part with a cloth that left a two-tone goldfish-brown with light green — very pretty! In the 2000’s my sister painted over the beautiful two-tone work which saddened me. I was extremely disappointed to read that they don’t make high enough quality plywood anymore to do this as I had always hoped to try to duplicate this look when I built my own house.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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