Reply by Todd A. Clippinger

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Posted on Best Wood to Use

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Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4271 days

#1 posted 03-06-2009 11:18 PM

I would think that the walnut burl with an inlay made of the woods that you are thinking of will create a fairly muted contrast, but I would have to see them side-by-side. Cherry could be an alternative because it turns a dark reddish brown or brick-red color over time and it can be accelerated with just a few days in the sun.

If you made a cross shaped routing template to use with Porter-Cable style routing guides, you could do a larger inlay of maple. Then you would step up a size in guides to route the shape again and use one of the contrasting woods that you are thinking of. This would create an outline in a light color to separate the darker colors. I have heard that bloodwood and purpleheart can bleed into a light wood if wiped with oil. The safest way to avoid any bleeding is to spray and start with a light sealer coat.

Solvent based lacquers will pop the grain without any oil. I have never used oil to pop the grain on my projects because the lacquer and oil based poly’s do it automatically. These types of finish bring great depth and clarity to the wood, especially the lacquer. Oil based poly imparts much of a golden tone and the lacquers that I use pop the grain without the golden tone, they are called “water white” lacquers. It may make a difference if you are using a waterborne finish because they leave the wood feeling a bit “cold” especially black walnut.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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