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Birch or maple

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Forum topic by Danpaddles posted 03-01-2017 02:45 AM 392 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Danpaddles

573 posts in 2030 days


03-01-2017 02:45 AM

A customer wants me to make two shelves to match one they have presently. I heard mention of stain- “we will drop the stain by later”. It is 3/4 plywood with an edge glued on to hide the plys. Factory stuff- they used brads then did not even fill the holes.

It is a very pale yellow color. I can not tell from the looks of it if this started as maple or maybe birch. I went to the big box tonight, they have both, but I left no smarter as to what wood I have here. The bLowes dude suggested it may not matter. Some of the birch stuff has dark areas, which I don’t see on the shelf I am holding.

Thoughts? Will it matter? Should I go for a disclaimer, they need to pay even if I have the wrong wood?

I am leaning toward using maple, partly because I have some here that would work well on the edge. I have no birch in my shop, that I know of. I’d post a photo, but not sure it would be very helpful. Maybe if I shoot it in the daylight.

thx-

-- Dan V. in Indy


8 replies so far

View bc4393's profile

bc4393

49 posts in 860 days


#1 posted 03-01-2017 03:05 AM

If iI had to guess I’d say It’s most likely it’s birch. Its one of the more common veneered plywoods. Most cabinetry is manufactured using “baltic birch” which is sandwiched in thinner layers making it more stable and uses a generally better birch veneer (less knots cracks, etc.) It’s harder to match furniture then say using the same piece of stock for both pieces because you can get the same grain pattern. I’m sure you could get it close enough noone would notice at 100mph as long as you got the yellow tinge right using the right kind of stain/sealer (maybe its shellac if its yellowish) I made this with birch veneered plywood (I think the cheap stuff I don’t recall) with a couple coats of clear deft lacquer. You might be able to get away with solid poplar (which is cheap and would save you the edge banding but I think Id tried staining test pieces and it blotched. Not to undercut your skills or experience. Hard to gage from reading one post. I’m no expert I don’t have “customers” but that’s my experience. :) Maybe someone else will chime in. Might help to see a picture of the existing shelf.

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Danpaddles

573 posts in 2030 days


#2 posted 03-01-2017 03:27 AM

I’ll shoot it tomorrow. I think you are right tho, it is maybe birch. And maybe, won’t matter!

The customer thing, well, I am not real happy about that. I’d just as soon do it for free, then be absolved of goofs! And all of a sudden, my hobby isn’t a hobby anymore. I like walking out there, and deciding what I want to do to, given any new tools, maybe a new chunk of wood, or my mood or available time.

Some people can not believe I do not want to do this for money, one guy in particular, keeps saying, hey, I can pay you, just do this for me. I worked for a lot of years, now it is time to screw around. I don’t need the money, the bills are all paid, so I want to keep it fun!

-d

-- Dan V. in Indy

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2515 posts in 1891 days


#3 posted 03-01-2017 04:44 AM

Remember once you start taking money it is no longer a hobby but a job. I just tell people no I pick my projects and that is something I am not interested in.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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Andre

1314 posts in 1524 days


#4 posted 03-01-2017 06:43 AM

My whole house is done in Maple, doors and casings, when I built out the basement and priced out the maple for down there a cheaper alternative was Birch! After the stain and varnish no one can see the difference, well I guess I can. I’ve done a lot of work with both Maple and Birch and after it is stained 95% can’t tell the difference. IMHO!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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bc4393

49 posts in 860 days


#5 posted 03-01-2017 04:39 PM

Yeah I see the dilemma. With money comes expectations. Then it stops being fun. :/ I read somewhere when it comes down to it, wood working ends up being on average a 15 dollar an hour job. High volume is always the exception but when you looks at what materials cost to build say a dresser, how many hours is it going to take you to finish it there’s no way to justify the cost unless its spectacular. I’d go broke.


I ll shoot it tomorrow. I think you are right tho, it is maybe birch. And maybe, won t matter!

The customer thing, well, I am not real happy about that. I d just as soon do it for free, then be absolved of goofs! And all of a sudden, my hobby isn t a hobby anymore. I like walking out there, and deciding what I want to do to, given any new tools, maybe a new chunk of wood, or my mood or available time.

Some people can not believe I do not want to do this for money, one guy in particular, keeps saying, hey, I can pay you, just do this for me. I worked for a lot of years, now it is time to screw around. I don t need the money, the bills are all paid, so I want to keep it fun!

-d

- Danpaddles


View cicerojoe's profile

cicerojoe

63 posts in 3163 days


#6 posted 03-01-2017 04:44 PM

I doubt they will think beyond “wood.” In other words, your customer probably is not aware of the differences between maple and birch, so use the one you want.

-- John from the Cherry Valley Studio in NY http://www.cvalleystudio.com

View Danpaddles's profile

Danpaddles

573 posts in 2030 days


#7 posted 03-06-2017 01:49 AM

I found a piece of birch that was a little lighter then every thing else on the rack.

thanks for the advice, and sharing thoughts on the hobby/ job thing.

-Dan

-- Dan V. in Indy

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

642 posts in 309 days


#8 posted 03-06-2017 04:08 AM

It’s not worth it. There is no money in woodworking these days. I know quite few people here that made pretty decent stuff, all went belly up. Most people do not understand the difference between a mahogany man made stuff and mass produced MDF or particle board disaster.
On the other hand once you get a $1 nominal payment for the stuff you produce in your garage your home insurance is not valid anymore and you are in the breach of the zoning rules. So stick to your hobby and make money somewhere else.


The customer thing, well, I am not real happy about that. I d just as soon do it for free, then be absolved of goofs! And all of a sudden, my hobby isn t a hobby anymore. I like walking out there, and deciding what I want to do to, given any new tools, maybe a new chunk of wood, or my mood or available time.

Some people can not believe I do not want to do this for money, one guy in particular, keeps saying, hey, I can pay you, just do this for me. I worked for a lot of years, now it is time to screw around. I don t need the money, the bills are all paid, so I want to keep it fun!
- Danpaddles

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