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Which hardwood to use for a bed?

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Forum topic by skogie1 posted 03-08-2018 05:39 PM 409 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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skogie1

119 posts in 1567 days


03-08-2018 05:39 PM

I’m about to embark on building a bed frame. This will be the first piece of an eventual bedroom set. My wife would like something lighter than walnut or mahogany. Importantly, I’ll be using a spokeshave and hand planes for some of this project so I’d like something that won’t be too difficult to use hand tools on. I’m leaning toward cherry even thought it will darken. But I wanted to put it out there and see if anyone has any suggestions. Many thanks in advance!


9 replies so far

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Loren

10477 posts in 3852 days


#1 posted 03-08-2018 05:44 PM

I’d suggest ash. It generally works well
with planes and is not difficult to scrape and
sand.

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bbasiaga

1240 posts in 2199 days


#2 posted 03-08-2018 05:46 PM

Check out my projects and see what a maple bedroom set looks like. The first is is wb poly over shellac which adds all the yellow. You could go lighter by skipping the shellac and have almost pure white. Or darker with stains or dyes.

Cherry is beautiful when it turns that dark red.

Red oak would also be between mahogany and maple in color. I have a set of tables in my projects made of that with wipe on poly as the finish.

Brian

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

View gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 979 days


#3 posted 03-08-2018 05:58 PM

Cherry is much lighter than walnut (typically). Still much darker than maple, though.

If she’s OK with the color of cherry, then yes, it’s a great wood in terms of workability with hand tools; one of the least prone to tear-out, and not too hard so you don’t have to fight it.

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Dustin

597 posts in 944 days


#4 posted 03-08-2018 08:04 PM



Cherry is much lighter than walnut (typically). Still much darker than maple, though.

If she s OK with the color of cherry, then yes, it s a great wood in terms of workability with hand tools; one of the least prone to tear-out, and not too hard so you don t have to fight it.

- gargey

+1

I’m not much of a hand tool user, but I sure do love planing and scraping cherry. For me, in terms of appearance, durability, worakability, availability and price ($2.70/bd ft at my local mill), I can’t get any better bang for my buck.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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LesB

1866 posts in 3647 days


#5 posted 03-08-2018 09:32 PM

There is some joke circulating with some LumbeJocs here about Alder that I must have missed: but that is another possibility to use. Color wise it is between Walnut and Maple, doesn’t darken like cherry and is about as easy to work with as Cherry. Depending on you location it is probably less expensive. It is frequently used in place of cherry for cabinets. At least in the Pacific North West.
Oak, either white or red are also in that color range and are easy to stain darker, although they are a little harder to work grain wise. Red oak has more open pores so if you need a glass smooth surface you will need to use a filler on the pores before finishing. There are some forms of Mahogany that are lighter but they too have open pores.

-- Les B, Oregon

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eflanders

318 posts in 2054 days


#6 posted 03-08-2018 09:36 PM

Cherry or maple would be my top two choices, then ash, oak and hickory. With especially the last 3, be very aware of the grain. For the rails and slats the wood needs to be free of large knots, pin knots are OK if tight.

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gargey

1013 posts in 979 days


#7 posted 03-08-2018 09:51 PM

Regarding LesB’s suggestion:

I was excited to use alder when I first bought some for a project. Mostly due to claims of easy workability.

Dispassionately, in practice I thought it kind of sucked. Its not very attractive, it is very very soft (for a hardwood), it does like to splinter, and it does move a lot with changes in humidity. Don’t plan to work with it again.

Just my opinion on that…

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2113 posts in 2842 days


#8 posted 03-08-2018 09:59 PM

Cherry can get very dark if not protected from the sun.

View gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 979 days


#9 posted 03-08-2018 10:00 PM

One wood that is awesome – if you want really light colors – is vertical grain alaskan yellow cedar.

Can expensive though.

Great workability, beautiful. Definitely on the soft side, though, so beware.

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