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Which [Ply]wood for Walnut-ish Result?

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Forum topic by mike12ophone posted 09-14-2017 04:34 PM 355 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mike12ophone

28 posts in 607 days


09-14-2017 04:34 PM

I’m building a storage bench on a tight budget so plywood will be the way to go. My question is what ply to use to achieve a nice dark brown finish somewhat similar in tone to walnut. The obvious way to go is walnut ply but cost is the barrier there.

I’ll have to use home center stuff. Home Depot sells Columbia Forest stuff in birch, alder, red oak, mahogany, and of course walnut.

Also, I’m a beginner and this will be my first time staining which is why I’m asking. I really appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks!

-- - just a man with too many hobbies


8 replies so far

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Rick_M

10101 posts in 2137 days


#1 posted 09-14-2017 05:00 PM

Oak, mahogany stain well. Birch, not as good. No idea about alder.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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MrRon

4313 posts in 3001 days


#2 posted 09-14-2017 05:22 PM

Home Depot has a plywood panel under the name “Arauco”. It is made from radiata pine, both surfaces and in the core. The outside veneers are 1/10” thick, so it can take sanding without going through the veneer, like the plywood from China. I think the cost is $40 per 4×8x3/4” sheet. It is also 9 ply, so it stays flat.

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mike12ophone

28 posts in 607 days


#3 posted 09-14-2017 07:38 PM

Thanks MrRon, does Arauco behave like birch ply?

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

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mike12ophone

28 posts in 607 days


#4 posted 09-14-2017 07:50 PM

Oh and it just occured to me theres a woodcraft. Have you all had any experience buying plywood pieces there?

-- - just a man with too many hobbies

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

4776 posts in 2023 days


#5 posted 09-15-2017 02:36 PM

I’ve stained oak plywood and had very nice results. A friend recently did a cabinet job and put a dark walnut stain on red oak plywood. The results were really outstanding. As I recall he used Varathane dark walnut.

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Firewood

138 posts in 1391 days


#6 posted 09-15-2017 02:43 PM

Woodcraft will have Baltic Birch plywood. They will be 30×60 inch. They will also have some smaller sizes. Cost per Sq ft will be higher then big box full sheet, but quality is typically better.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

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MrRon

4313 posts in 3001 days


#7 posted 09-15-2017 05:27 PM



Thanks MrRon, does Arauco behave like birch ply?

- mike12ophone


Pine being as porous as it is requires a conditioner to allow for an even stain color to be applied. Shellac is a good conditioner. It will seal any large pores in the wood. I prefer Arauco over birch due to Auarco’s thicker veneer.

View Loren's profile

Loren

9307 posts in 3405 days


#8 posted 09-15-2017 05:43 PM

The appetite for “dark” wood I think comes from
oak’s natural oxidizing over long periods of
time. It turns quite dark and that’s the old
“medieval” appearance furniture makers like
Stickley imitated by fuming oak with ammonia.

Oak ply takes stain well, but the open pores
absorb a lot and the rest of the wood less,
so you’ll get an effect that doesn’t look consistently
dark with a dark stain. Stain has solids in it
that stick in the open pores but wipe off
the non-porous sections.

Replicating what walnut really looks like is
pretty difficult, but a dark brown stain all over
can be had on birch or alder. A lot of stains
sold in stores are not as dark as clients want
so I’ve added oil-soluble black powder dye
to oil-based stains to get that dark color.

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