simulated wood species

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Forum topic by RickB posted 01-11-2010 09:21 PM 2499 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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48 posts in 2561 days

01-11-2010 09:21 PM


Relative newbie here…

Recently, I’ve seen some pictures of some projects that looked like walnut or even cocobolo, but come to find out, was pine. My window sashes and jambs in my house are pine (aluminum clad on the outside) but my casing is oak. I managed to figure out a formula where I first applied diluted shellac and applied some stain to the pine in order to get it to match the golden oak finish I was using on the casing. The color is near identical.

Typically, oak typically has a honeyed color. Maple is very light. Walnut is dark. Cherry has some reddish hues (at least what I’ve seen here… might have been before the wood has ‘aged’ a significant period of time).

So, here is the crux of my question: If you were to pick one wood species, knowing you could stain it to “simulate” other wood species (at least at first glance), what species would you use?

FYI, I am looking to save some money on a large project. I like the look of Cherry, but can’t really afford that at this time for this project. Like I said before, I’ve done some good color matching with pine, but, maybe I’d like something harder/heavier. Dunno, I could be talked into about anything. Give me your opinions if you have time to spare them.



9 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3548 days

#1 posted 01-11-2010 09:31 PM


-- 温故知新

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3520 days

#2 posted 01-11-2010 10:13 PM

As a remodeling contractor this is something that I run into all the time.

Poplar is one of the most used. If you go with a darker tone, solid body stain like Sherwin Willams BAC wiping stain or MLCampbell’s wiping stain, you will get a look that simulates other species.

Alder is another one that is good and poplar or alder is often used to simulate cherry and is often referred to as “poor man’s cherry.” Alder tends to come as knotty or clear, knotty alder is less expensive as you can guess than clear.

Poplar comes in white wood to hues of green, with streaks of purple and even black. If you stay away from the dark streaks, a heavy body stain as mentioned before will cover nicely. The heavy body stains are high in pigment and solids content and they cover the colors well.

Poplar is often used as a paint grade trim. It mills and cuts wonderfully, very similar to cherry. It is more stable than pine and is relatively inexpensive. Trim companies offer a wide variety of profiles in poplar and the stock can be easily found in boards as 4/4”, 6/4”, or 8/4” by 14” wide and 12’ long.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3520 days

#3 posted 01-11-2010 10:22 PM

This is the interior of a big house that I built with my brother. The interior is all trimmed out in poplar and stained with a cherry-like color. This includes the base trim, the light trough and sconces that cap the rock columns, the door and window casing, the beam wraps on the ceiling, all the wood between the big windows.



-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8098 posts in 2849 days

#4 posted 01-11-2010 11:45 PM

Not to digress from the OP’s question…which has been quite adequately answered….but, Todd, you do beautiful work!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View papadan's profile


1166 posts in 2789 days

#5 posted 01-12-2010 12:04 AM

Nuther Poplar vote! A friend of mine built his home, he used Poplar for all of his woodwork throughout the house and he and his wife were very satisfied with it for about 14 years. I only use real hardwoods for my woodworking, I choose the wood depending on color desired, never use stain. She started quilting so I built her a Mahogany quilt rack. She loved the looks of it but didn’t know what it was until they asked me, when I told them they thought I was joking. They both told me that thier bedroom had Mahogany moldings all through the room and it was a lot darker red color than my rack. I showed them pictures online of Mahogany compared to that stain they used. He is still mad at me, he had to replace all the molding in thier master suite to real mahogany to match the quilt rack.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 2909 days

#6 posted 01-12-2010 12:34 AM

Ummm Todd? I don’t think that’s a “house.” LOL. A mansion maybe, maybe even a hotel, but definitely not a house. :)

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3520 days

#7 posted 01-12-2010 02:54 AM

This house was designed in the prairie style. It is a beautiful house full of features that the clients, my brother, and I personally designed.

Cooper House

The Cooper House At Night.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3520 days

#8 posted 01-12-2010 03:08 AM

I forgot, all of the interior passage doors are poplar too.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View BillD's profile


1 post in 2196 days

#9 posted 10-20-2010 11:51 PM

Todd A. ClippingerHope you don’t mind a question from a newbie, but on those beautiful finishes you did to poplar did you have to prep the wood in anyway?

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