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Is this birch or maple? Which should I use?

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Forum topic by Caitlin posted 01-30-2017 02:33 PM 473 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Caitlin

2 posts in 316 days


01-30-2017 02:33 PM

Hey guys, Im doing a DIY kitchen facelift. These are the cabinets that existed when I bought the place. At first I thought they were maple but now Im thinking probably birch (especially since the previous owner seemed to always go the cheap route!). Which do you think??:

Now I want to use a “matching wood” to make some floating shelves, wrap some wall cabinets, make an appliance face and wrap the refrigerator. I want a wood finish to match the cabinets, which I figure will include some stain matching experimentation. I figure I could use maple/birch wood to make the shelves pretty easy.. I found a woodworking shop that will sand and cut the wood nice and square.
Should I use a plywood or veneer to do the wider applications?? I figure if I did plywood I could glue on some maple finished edge hardwood to the edges for a finished look before sending it through the sander?
I appreciate your input and suggestions regarding wood species and degree of difficulty.


6 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4756 posts in 2327 days


#1 posted 01-30-2017 07:55 PM

It could be either, but I’m guessing (and it is a guess) it’s maple. Actually I see little difference in the cost of maple versus birch around me but that might be a regional thing. I’ve mixed the two woods in the same piece and had very good results. I don’t see what you want to do as being very hard, and for flat panels/shelves I would use plywood. For the shelves I would band the edge with hardwood…though your comment about “sending it through the sander” puzzles me. Most plywood is finish sanded to about 150 grit equivalent, and the surface veneers can be a little thin…sending such a piece “through the sander” might make it a fairly useless piece of wood. If any of the other parts will be frame and panel (like those doors) use hardwood for the frame and plywood for the panels. I can’t imagine you will need any veneer if you get a good quality maple (my choice) plywood. Your finish matching will go beyond stain (if there is any), that top coat could be tricky to match. Coloring maple is a real effort, it tends to blotch. If those pieces are colored you might be better off using dyes.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

956 posts in 425 days


#2 posted 01-30-2017 08:06 PM


especially since the previous owner seemed to always go the cheap route!
- Caitlin

Brilliant, blame everything on the other guy!
I can confirm that in my area too birch/maple price is almost the same.
I imagine what you would say finding out that your cabinets are mdf.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

8287 posts in 1320 days


#3 posted 01-30-2017 10:43 PM

Ditto on the birch maple.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Caitlin's profile

Caitlin

2 posts in 316 days


#4 posted 01-30-2017 11:37 PM

Thanks Fred!!
Just to clarify, I wouldn’t send the plywood or veneer through the sander, I was referring to if I choose to use straight boards of maple (which I am pretty sure I will) to make the shelves.
Thanks for the dyes suggestion! Can you point me in the right direction there? What brand to use? I have never heard of dyeing wood before.

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

798 posts in 1275 days


#5 posted 01-31-2017 12:03 AM

You had me going with this line also:

I figure if I did plywood I could glue on some maple …before sending it through the sander?

So no, don’t send plywood “through the sander”

I’m also guessing maple. Birch that I get tends to have more color variation. Hard maple is more consistently blonde.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4756 posts in 2327 days


#6 posted 01-31-2017 12:13 PM

Dyes (sometimes referred to incorrectly as “Aniline Dyes” are coloring agents you mix with something, water or DNA, and apply to the wood. Because there’s no binders (the adhesive component in a stain) or oil you don’t get the blotching that a stain will cause. It would be easier to get a good book like Flexner's or Jewitts and check them out for the use. There are solutions using stains, typically you would seal the wood first with something a wash coat (a very thin coating of finish, commonly but not always shellac) and apply stain over that. These aren’t advanced finishing techniques, actually fairly common.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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