Walnut or maple?

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Forum topic by sry posted 09-21-2009 02:41 PM 1144 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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147 posts in 3028 days

09-21-2009 02:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut maple

I’m building a pub table as a wedding present. I know that the recipients like “dark wood” as they describe it, so I’m debating between walnut and maple stained dark. Does anyone have any thoughts on the relative pros and cons of these two woods?

Here’s the way I see it. I’m sure you guys will be able to add many more things to the list:
-Maple might have a more consistent, although more subtle, grain pattern
-Walnut would be easier to get a consistent finish on
-For a pub table like this, the walnut pores should probably be filled
-The legs will be bent laminations. Will either of these do better for this?

Maybe I should just flip a coin… :)

9 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3068 days

#1 posted 09-21-2009 03:10 PM

mahogany might be easier to bend. it also has a very consistent grain pattern. definitely a different ‘look’ than maple or walnut – so if you need the look of one of those, than it wouldn’t work too well.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Safetyboy's profile


119 posts in 3179 days

#2 posted 09-21-2009 03:24 PM

Maple is difficult to get a consistent look when staining dark… finishing would probably be more work/experimentation on maple, especially if you haven’t done it before. You can look at my project if you want to see how it comes out with a dye stain:

Never worked with walnut, so I can’t give you advice there… what is a “pub table”, by the way?

-- -- Kevin in Mentor, Ohio

View sry's profile


147 posts in 3028 days

#3 posted 09-21-2009 03:45 PM

A pub table (at least my definition) will be a small diameter table that’s about bar height
The kind of thing that ~3 people would stand around or use bar stools.

That’s some really nice grain on your bookcase, by the way. Really jumps right out at you.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3638 days

#4 posted 09-21-2009 03:46 PM

PurpLev is right about mahogany if you are looking for easy bending and consistent grain. Personally, I just prefer the look of walnut, so that would be the way I’d go. Maple would be my last choice, because of the problem of getting it stained a consistent dark color.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3325 days

#5 posted 09-21-2009 03:58 PM

Walnut for me too.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3242 days

#6 posted 09-21-2009 04:00 PM

I would have to agree with the walnut choice as far as the color and appearance goes. I have never done a bent lamination with walnut but it should work fine. Walnut is such a gorgeous wood in its own right and finishes up beautifully. While maple also is a nice wood to work with I have had trouble getting a consistent color on it when staining.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 2855 days

#7 posted 09-21-2009 06:33 PM

I’ve never worked with maple, but I’ve always liked Walnut. When I picture what I think you’re picturing in my mind, I’m thinking Walnut will do it for you.

View sry's profile


147 posts in 3028 days

#8 posted 09-21-2009 06:42 PM

Thanks everyone for your help. Walnut it is. I’ve always had a thing for walnut anyways

View SplinteredBoard's profile


59 posts in 3026 days

#9 posted 09-21-2009 10:38 PM

I know you’ve already decided Walnut, but the way it was related to me last year was ‘Have you ever heard of a blonde dying her hair brunette?’ Since then I keep the colors of wood species pretty close to their natural colors.

Just my 2 cents.

-- Splintered Board Podcast - Woodworker Un-extraordinaire

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