Ash or Douglas Fir for this project

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Forum topic by maxhall posted 03-05-2017 09:45 PM 1650 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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80 posts in 2377 days

03-05-2017 09:45 PM

So my wife wants me to build her a kitchen table that seats four with a pedestal base. She wants the base very similar to what is linked with a concrete octagon top that is 40” in diameter. I calculated ~60 bdft for the project. She keeps going back and forth between a light milk paint for the grain to still show, or full on paint. I’m guessing she will probably end up going with regular paint since she intends to paint the chairs we already own to match. I can get ash for ~2.5 per bdft. I figure douglas fir would be around $100 (purely conjecture based on price estimate on a similar DIY project I found online). My wife says she wants this for the long haul so I’m inclined to build it out of ash even though the cost is higher for longevity/quality purposes. Just wondering what others opinions were since it’ll be painted and it looks to be pretty rudimentary fastening together of pieces Trying to figure out how to spruce it up a bit.

8 replies so far

View bigJohninvegas's profile


506 posts in 1638 days

#1 posted 03-05-2017 11:17 PM

I am using ash on a bookcase project now. good clean wood. I would consider ash for the top, and poplar for the base. The ash will hold up well to the everyday contact a kitchen table will get. And the poplar is a cheap paint grade hardwood. I think the fir would work as well for the base, I would not use it for a table kitchen table top.
I can get kiln dried, very clean fir where I am at, but it is pricey. The local box store, HD, or Lowes, only stock fir green. If you can get kiln dried fir as cheap as poplar, i suppose it would work ok.

-- John

View newwoodbutcher's profile


776 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 03-05-2017 11:46 PM

If I were making something out of wood, that I was going to paint, I would use poplar which paints nicely

-- Ken

View JayT's profile


5928 posts in 2387 days

#3 posted 03-05-2017 11:56 PM

If the project is going to be painted, I’d go with a finer grained wood, such as poplar or soft maple. Grain filling ash well enough to get a nice surface will be difficult and time consuming.

Now, if it is going to be washed with paint so the grain still shows, an open grained wood like ash can give a very nice effect.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View TheFridge's profile


10506 posts in 1662 days

#4 posted 03-05-2017 11:59 PM

If you’re gonna put a concrete slab on it you need to glue and screw the piss out of it.

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

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3824 days

#5 posted 03-06-2017 12:58 AM

The problem with knotty woods like doug fir
is the knots will telegraph through the paint.

I agree that poplar is a good choice… pretty
cheap, comes fairly clear of knots, and the
closed grain takes paint well. Regionally,
alder or birch are good alternatives.

View maxhall's profile


80 posts in 2377 days

#6 posted 03-06-2017 02:53 AM

Thanks for the replies guys. I relayed the concerns about the open grain prior to reading these replies. She plans on using a grey analine dye with a white on top to highlight the grain. We have four old oak chairs that she intends to refinish in the same way. She’s a badass so I know it’ll look awesome as long as I can build the thing. I calculated the top to weigh around 175 lbs. Don’t have alot of experience with concrete aside from putting into forms, so that’ll be something I experiment with on a smaller scale.

View Slider20's profile


119 posts in 697 days

#7 posted 03-06-2017 02:58 AM

Just an idea, why not make the top out of Oak? If you look around it won’t be much more than Ash, and it will match the chairs

View maxhall's profile


80 posts in 2377 days

#8 posted 03-06-2017 03:13 AM

The wife has her heart set on concrete. The wife gets what the wife wants.

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