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  • I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

    I'm looking for a new species of wood that I have not worked with before. Your opinions and why you recommend a given wood type are highly appreciated.

    I am planning to build some cabinets for a modern-ish wall unit/entertainment center. Also planning to build a cap for a half-wall between kitchen and dining room, with high lighting to accent the stone wall tiles -- but that's small compared to the cabinets.

    I have mostly worked with walnut and still love its beauty. But want to try something new so our house has some variety.

    Criteria important to me:
    - ecologically reasonable - avoiding anything coming from rainforest or any notoriously over-exploited area
    - preferably native North American though not a must
    - attractive grain, preferably in brown tones, possibly some red. Not a fan of yellow tones.
    - style of furniture design is modern, with some classic elements (not traditional or provincial styles)

    Woods that I have thought of so far:
    - walnut always an option
    - Cherry - I hear it's great to work with but concerned about being too deep/dark red
    - Redwood - I like the idea of trying some softer with and using thicker pieces


    Thoughts, recommendations?
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  • #2

    Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

    Cherry isn’t naturally very red.

    White oak also fits your description.

    Nathan
    Wally in Calgary likes this.

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    • #3

      Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

      Walnut is great to work with and has wonderful color and grain.


      I have a preference for cherry for a number of reasons.

      Cherry can be reasonably priced and fairly easy to work with.

      Has an interesting but not overly busy grain.

      Machines very well, smells nice when cutting or sanding.

      Takes a finish ( oil or water based) very well.

      Depending on finish ( I prefer satin clear coat on larger work and Danish oil on small pieces that don't need to be sprayed ) it can darken with a beautiful, rich reddish patina.

      Cherry can be any where from light red or pinkish to brownish red in color.

      It usually darkens with age and exposure to sunlight with some beautiful results.


      Quarter sawn white oak is interesting ( for it's unique grain ) but I don't find white oak that isn't quarter sawn overly exciting.

      Oak is most likely a less expensive choice ( maybe not quarter sawn ) than cherry out your way not so, out west.


      Have fun with your choice.
      Last edited by stotto; 01-01-2019, 09:44 AM.
      smallerstick likes this.
      http://www.woodmonkey.ca

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      • #4

        Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

        Have you ever considered quartered white oak. Can look very contemporary, perhaps apply a light 5% white Rubio Monocoat oil rub-on / rub-off. If you have walnut, this combination could work. -Wayne

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        • #5

          Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

          Maple is a great wood. Just plain or figured or birdseye. It's my favorite wood.

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          • #6

            Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

            If you like a strong grain appearance try ash. A bit harder to work, but it is dying from Emerald Ash Borer in many parts of the country so you are putting it to good use.
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            • #7

              Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

              Why not look at soft maple. Interesting colours and grain. Lots of browns mixed with white. Oil based finishes will turn all light coloured woods slightly yellow.
              John
              Les Groeller likes this.
              If you learn from your mistakes, then I'm getting a fantastic education.

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              • #8

                Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                Why only one wood?

                Cherry cabinets with wormy maple door panels

                I'm a walnut guy as well, but cherry is quite nice and has similar working properties to walnut.

                Wormy maple can look so unique (especially the boards with many "pathways" in various shades) so I've always been a fan of it. It pairs well with cherry, imo.

                Quartered red oak looks good too; not as dramatic as qswo but sometimes that's what you want. It's also less expensive.

                Is redwood as soft as cedar? If so, I wouldn't build cabinets out of it personally.

                -Jeff

                Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk

                schor likes this.

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                • #9

                  Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                  Walnut has become a favourite of mine as well. As an alternative, I can support both maple and cherry. Both are readily available, are sustainably harvested and present some very interesting grain variations. Birch is a little more difficult to work at times but is very rewarding to use.
                  Oak, I find lacks the warmth of the others but that can work to advantage depending on design features.
                  The difference between a master and a beginner: The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.

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                  • #10

                    Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                    Can I suggest ' torrified, caramelised, or toasted ' maple? All those terms are for the same product. The wood has a rich dark brown tone all the way through it, takes a finish beautifully and has all the same qualities as regular maple for grain, appearance and workability. My second suggestion would be ash. It's my current favourite wood for almost any project ( I mostly make japanese shoji ) so straight grain , nice figure and stability are important. I really like the texture so don't use grain filler, it takes stain really well so even if you don't care for blond woods you're covered and takes any finish, oil or WB, in stride. Ecologically sound ( as someone else mentioned, emerald ash borer is decimating the trees so it is being cut down to try and stop the spread ), and best of all, usually the least expensive wood in the lumberyard.

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                    • #11

                      Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                      I have used beetle killed pine for a couple of projects and like the color variation and end result. You will need different techniques and designs compared to the hardwoods and the random coloring sometimes is a little overwhelming for some designs My eye tends to like live edge and worm holes (character markings) but that is not for everyone. Click image for larger version

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                      Les Groeller and redlee like this.

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                      • #12

                        Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                        I did a bunch with Butternut the last couple years. Love it. Easy to work with. A bit soft like pine so dings easy.

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                        • #13

                          Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                          Ditto on the cherry if you want to have the wood do the talking. Personally, I would shy away from any maple as it give you yellow tones when aged.

                          Ebonized ash works great with what I refer to as "Urban Mission" style. Great wood to mill and work with plus easy on the pocketbook!

                          If you want to stay in the red tone and really make it pop go with vertical grain sawn Douglar Fir from your structure; rails stiles etc. Fiddleback Stika Spruce for your inset panels on your gables, doors, shelves etc.

                          Fuel for thought? Look forward to seeing the finished product.

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                          • #14

                            Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                            Thanks all. Some excellent food for thought indeed.

                            Also I'd like to try something in ambrosia maple one of these days (though concerned about the yellowing). Maybe not this project but we'll see.

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                            • #15

                              Re: I need a new wood -- opinions and ideas welcome!

                              My favorites are walnut and cherry with birdseye or tiger maple thrown in for contrast. Do not like oak except for floors and regular maple is just to boring.
                              Steve The Drill Sergeant
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