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Complementary Woods - need a source, site or book

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Forum topic by drhuntsman posted 883 days ago 1765 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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drhuntsman

3 posts in 885 days


883 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am looking for a source or book that describes which different woods complement each other. I understand open and closed grain woods, but sometimes you want to use contrasting woods or better yet woods types that complement each other and don’t clash.

There is a true design element to this; for example would strait grained hard maple look good with strait grained black walnut? How would this look with quarter sawn white oak? How about ambrosia maple with walnut? Would zebrawood look good with curly cherry or strait cherry or tiger cherry? What if I put purple heart accents with pad auk? etc.

I know that this can be subjective, but there must be some design rules that assists with selecting complementary woods and wood types?

(my wife keeps telling me that my Navy Blue suit and chocolate brown shoes and red argil socks don’t work)


8 replies so far

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childress

839 posts in 2048 days


#1 posted 883 days ago

FWW has covered this a couple of times from what I can remember. This article here is one, but you do need to have a membership to view the whole thing. Or you could just look it up if you have access to back issues.

On another note, you are completely right about this being subjective. As I was searching for it on their website, I came across this statement sent in by a reader

I am a longtime reader of the magazine and Web site. I have always valued FWW as a skill-builder and a technical resource. But I was disappointed with you for the first time when I read Garrett Hack’s article on how to use contrasting woods. I have a fine-art background, and in art, there is no right way—only a critic’s opinion. When I read the article, I felt a wet blanket being spread over a large group of up-and-coming woodworkers. Never once did I read “in my judgment” or “it is my opinion.”

—Kenny Bond, Madison, Wisconsin

-- Childress Woodworks

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Tennessee

1447 posts in 1021 days


#2 posted 883 days ago

Boy, I gotta say, if your eye likes it, and just to be sure if a couple people around you like it, you’re probably in the ball park.
In the guitar world, tradition rules, but if you look at my website, I’ve built some real eye poppers, and they sold fast, often before done. Many were commissioned that way. Would I build a purpleheart dining room table with bloodwood chairs for my dining room? No way… But I built a guitar with exactly that, and it turned out looking great!
So for me, the design element, if there is even any one, is more the application of the wood and it’s placement in your life, or the life of your customer. Otherwise, there would only be about 20 paint colors in the sample rack at any large home improvement store! Real estate people always want the colors of your walls to be neutral. Why? Because they are afraid of offending a potential buyer, and paint is cheap. So the hidden agenda is the real estate agent trying to sell the house, not the real focus of design. That type of thinking would make all cars black, white or silver, and all wood pecan colored…

I agree with the voice of Kenny Bond shown above. Why put a wet blanket on imagination? If it looks good to you, build the doggone thing and go forward!!

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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Loren

6779 posts in 2154 days


#3 posted 883 days ago

You might want to look into studying color theory. It is taught in
art and design schools and text books.

View SeaWitch's profile

SeaWitch

149 posts in 901 days


#4 posted 883 days ago

I agree with Loren. That’s what I was going to suggest. Even just some basic understanding of color theory and design theory that you can find on the net…..

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1357 days


#5 posted 883 days ago

I would think Google Images would be a good friend here. Pick an object—jewelry box, morris chair, whatever—and ask for pictures. The species may not always be obvious or identified, but by taking some notes you will begin to discover, in a very inexpensive way, what you like and what you don’t like.

Or, an educational practice I particularly subscribe to: Try, Fail, Learn.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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a1Jim

109576 posts in 2084 days


#6 posted 883 days ago

explore the projects on LJs and see what you like.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View KayBee's profile

KayBee

981 posts in 1753 days


#7 posted 882 days ago

You could get a sample pack and check out different variations to see what you like.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2003323/3973/Veneer-Sample-Pack-50piece.aspx

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View DHaden's profile

DHaden

73 posts in 1165 days


#8 posted 878 days ago

The combonation I use most often, and alot of others I have seen is hard maple/walnut. I think they compliment each other very well. I think we all agree that if it looks good to you or your customers/gift recipients, then you made a good choice of wood combination. Don’t let anyone tel you you cannot use certain combnations because they dont “look right”. There are structural reasons to not combine certain woods, but I do not believe there should be any athstetic reason not to combine different woods. As Tennessee said we wouldn’t have any variety if we didn’t try new combinations. The worst that will happen is you find a combination you don’t like, big deal you got to spend time woodworking. Best case you post something new and creative on here that inspires the rest of us to try something new and creative.

-- Measure once, cut twice.

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