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Do you typically use the same wood species for every part?

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Forum topic by LearningAsIGo posted 12-03-2017 06:51 PM 1144 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LearningAsIGo

47 posts in 2476 days


12-03-2017 06:51 PM

I generally prefer the look of painted furniture, so thats what I have experience building. I’m interested in making a coffee table that will be stained. When designing a project that will be stained is it typical to use all of the same wood species so that you hopefully get a uniform color? For example if I was making a coffee table out of oak and I wanted drawers, would the drawers also be made out of oak?


18 replies so far

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bbasiaga

1011 posts in 1835 days


#1 posted 12-03-2017 07:04 PM

The drawer faces would be ok to match, but sometimes people choose to use poplar or something less expensive, since they are only visible when open.

Of course you may also choose to use accent woods on the outside of the piece of a different color for aesthetic purposes too.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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bbasiaga

1011 posts in 1835 days


#2 posted 12-03-2017 07:07 PM

I should add….if you do not make all the visible pieces out of the same wood, you should not expect the stain to even them out. Even within the same type of wood it can take some work to get everything even.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10645 posts in 2220 days


#3 posted 12-03-2017 07:24 PM

Short answer: For a hobbyist, yes, most use the same species. For professionals, no, because they have a more complex finishing regimen that can disguise the type of wood. Another thing to consider, besides color, is grain type. If you use an open pored wood like oak and a tight grain wood like maple, there will be 2 different textures and they will absorb stain differently.

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

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

989 posts in 431 days


#4 posted 12-03-2017 07:33 PM

“Professionals” stopped making solid wood furniture and switched to particle board or in the best case plywood long ago. I could not get a quote for some furniture I wanted to be hardwood and everyone pushed me into buying their particle board crap and tried to persuade me how much better it is. ( thats how I got interested in woodworking )
And yes, all primary wood should not only be the same species but also matched by grain pattern.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

748 posts in 335 days


#5 posted 12-03-2017 07:58 PM

I think the answer is ‘it depends’. Depends on what look you are after, what your budget is, etc.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the mixed wood look but that is simply my taste. Some people like it and that is fine too.

For drawers, I like drawer fronts to match the rest of the piece but I typically make my drawer boxes from maple and leave them natural (no stain) with just clear finish for protection. I prefer the lighter color drawers because it’s easier to see the contents.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Rich

1987 posts in 429 days


#6 posted 12-03-2017 08:04 PM

I assume you’re asking if all of the surface pieces would be the same wood. I regularly use things like poplar, basswood, etc in structural elements of the carcass because it’s less expensive. I use maple almost exclusively for drawer sides and backs because I like its fine grain and the contrast from the (often) darker wood on the drawer fronts, especially when it’s dovetailed directly to the front, that is, not a false front screwed to a drawer box.

Regarding using different woods for parts like frames, drawer fronts, tops, etc, that comes down to design principles like complementary and contrasting colors and textures. They write whole books on that stuff. Depending on your tastes, woods like walnut and maple might go nicely together. I’ve seen pieces with a walnut top and frame and then maple drawer fronts for contrast. Done right, I think it looks good. Do the same thing with bocote and zebrawood and I think it would be smart to keep some barf bags around, and definitely do not allow anyone on LSD near it.

I guess the bottom line is, if you like it, that’s all that matters.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View Loren's profile

Loren

9639 posts in 3488 days


#7 posted 12-03-2017 08:07 PM

One of the advantages of building your own
stuff is you can do whatever you like. Contrasting
woods are not that common in factory made
furniture. I think that partially comes out of
tradition because wood used to be the only
available material for furniture and I think wood
was not viewed as inherently beautiful the way
it is today.

If you look at traditional windsor chairs, the seat
would be pine, other parts of different woods
and it would all be a painted to make it look
uniform. In that case different species were
used simply because they made making good
chairs easier.

I will say that it’s easy when you’re starting out
with design choices to get excessively inventive
and make things that may be pleasing in the
present but can become cringe-inducing many
years down the line.

View LearningAsIGo's profile

LearningAsIGo

47 posts in 2476 days


#8 posted 12-03-2017 08:39 PM

My goal for this piece would be to have everything look the same color as much as possible. I was unsure if people typically build drawers from the same species and stain them as well.

I will stick with all oak except for the drawer boxes. Thanks.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

691 posts in 656 days


#9 posted 12-03-2017 08:42 PM

Sometimes, combinations of species are striking and beautiful. Sometimes they are just tacky. When you are making something for the first time, it isn’t always easy to envision which way it will turn out.

View jdmaher's profile

jdmaher

417 posts in 2420 days


#10 posted 12-03-2017 08:44 PM

Yes, all the “show” pieces would usually be the same species.

As Rick_M pointed out, many people (like me) go to great lengths to match grain so that we can get a very consistent look. But that’s sometimes difficult to do with certain designs.

For a coffee table, I’d try to find boards of comparable grain, as follows. One board to make up the top. One board to make up the legs. One board to to make up the skirts / drawer fronts. Being just a little CDO (like OCD, but properly alphabetized), I might try to find three boards that were actually cut from the same tree. But that’s just me.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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AlaskaGuy

3662 posts in 2149 days


#11 posted 12-03-2017 08:51 PM

This is probably not a very good answer but….....Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. It’s your wood and your choice mostly. Do what please you. Most the time I’ll switch the drawers in kitchen cabinets to plywood. For a nice chest of drawers I’ll use the same wood as I use for drawer fronts. Sometimes it depends on what I have on hand and how much wood it’s going to take not to change to a secondary. I’ve even painted cherry white before.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile

Rich

1987 posts in 429 days


#12 posted 12-03-2017 08:56 PM


As Rick_M pointed out, many people (like me) go to great lengths to match grain so that we can get a very consistent look. But that s sometimes difficult to do with certain designs.

- jdmaher

JD makes an excellent point that goes beyond simply using the same species for a piece and is a big factor in a piece that’s nice versus a piece that’s awesome. Using a single board for the front of a table with a drawer so that the grain flows without interruption looks much better than random rails and stiles with a random drawer front. They may all match in species and color, but it won’t be as nice. Also, bookmatching panels. All of those things make a big difference. I’d bet that even a non-woodworker would look at JD’s matched grain versus random pieces and say it looks much better, even if they don’t know exactly why.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3662 posts in 2149 days


#13 posted 12-03-2017 10:04 PM


“Professionals” stopped making solid wood furniture and switched to particle board or in the best case plywood long ago. I could not get a quote for some furniture I wanted to be hardwood and everyone pushed me into buying their particle board crap and tried to persuade me how much better it is. ( thats how I got interested in woodworking )
And yes, all primary wood should not only be the same species but also matched by grain pattern.

- Carloz

Lol, you must have went to some cracker jack factory. There are plenty of professionals making solid wood furniture.

Of the 2 project in you gallery which ones a all solid wood

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1207 posts in 1570 days


#14 posted 12-03-2017 11:00 PM

I’m surprised no one has mentioned wood movement yet. Keep your exposed pieces the same species, and when making drawers, keep that wood all the same even if different from the exposed stuff. It’s just common sense…...... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3662 posts in 2149 days


#15 posted 12-04-2017 12:12 AM


I m surprised no one has mentioned wood movement yet. Keep your exposed pieces the same species, and when making drawers, keep that wood all the same even if different from the exposed stuff. It s just common sense…...... Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

Are you saying you shouldn’t do any of these common ways of making drawers unless the drawer face is the same wood as the the drawer box.

Perhaps I misunderstand your point. Wlouldn’t be the first time.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

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