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Swapping birch for cherry?

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Forum topic by pashley posted 1470 days ago 1521 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pashley

1013 posts in 2317 days


1470 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: cherry birch

I’m building a sizable toy chest for someone, and wanted to use cherry plywood for panels (1/2”), but after checking out prices, would like to consider another option. It seems that I read somewhere that birch plywood is very similar in grain to cherry, and is often used as a substitute? I could just stain the birch a light cherry color, and I’d still have the look I’m after, at about 1/2 the price.

Anyone comment?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com


9 replies so far

View rwyoung's profile

rwyoung

369 posts in 2071 days


#1 posted 1470 days ago

Overtime as the cherry and birch change colors the stain will no longer match.

You can make your own small quantity of cherry ply by using cherry veneer over MDF, etc. This will present its own set of problems and it can still shift color differently than solid cherry. Might even be cheaper than buying a full sheet of 1/2” cherry ply. You will have to run the numbers for yourself.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2421 days


#2 posted 1470 days ago

I have never heard that birch and cherry were interchangeable. I have used birch and maple plywoods in this fashion though since it is difficult to tell the two apart (this was a tip that Norm gave out on one of the episodes of the NYW).

But even if you can get the two to look similar now I agree that over time the colors of the two woods will not be the same.

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

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pvwoodcrafts

222 posts in 2521 days


#3 posted 1470 days ago

Is solid cherry out of the question?

-- mike & judy western md. www. pvwoodcrafts.com pvwccf1@verizon.net

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2247 days


#4 posted 1470 days ago

birch can resembles maple but cherry is darker and not quite a good swap.

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

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pashley

1013 posts in 2317 days


#5 posted 1470 days ago

I guess I mis-spoke. I’m making the toybox out of QSWO, the frame, that is, and the panels were to be cherry plywood. Instead, I’d like to use birch, stained a light reddish-brown, to simulate cherry. I don’t think birch will darken, as cherry would have, which is fine; I don’t want it too.

I was looking to see if anyone else had made such a swap successfully…

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View woodprof's profile

woodprof

44 posts in 1789 days


#6 posted 1470 days ago

I tried that with a couple of bookcases, and although it came out OK, the plywood won’t fool anyone taking more than a casual glance into thinking it’s cherry. In retrospect I wish I had bitten the bullet and sprung for the extra cost of cherry ply.

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pashley

1013 posts in 2317 days


#7 posted 1470 days ago

Interesting….

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com

View MOJOE's profile

MOJOE

547 posts in 1868 days


#8 posted 1470 days ago

I sprayed “medium brown” tinted shellac on a birch crib not too long ago…...I kinda think it looks cherry-ish….might check it out and see what you think…..the headboard has birch ply panels as well, but the slats are maple.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

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fussy

980 posts in 1650 days


#9 posted 1469 days ago

Pashley,

Birch plywood is a fine substitute for cherry; especially if cherry is around $90/sheet as it is here. Stain scrap until you get what you want. You MAY want to look at the qswo up against the cherry stained birch and see how the color/grain combination play together. It may work with just a clear finish on both. It pays to test first.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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