Rustic Mexican furniture wood species choice?

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Forum topic by FrankThomas posted 12-09-2011 05:45 AM 10439 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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46 posts in 3098 days

12-09-2011 05:45 AM

I’ve always been attracted to this style of furniture and the “old school” look and techniques in building it. I’ve designed a cabinet that I want to build in this style. What are some inexpensive wood choices. Northern pine boards may be the most obvious choice. Reclaimed and barn wood. Any other ideas?

How about buying construction lumber and milling it for this purpose?

Anyone know of any online sources for techniques and/or plans for rustic Mexican furniture? Thanks!!

-- Frank Thomas, Grand Rapids, MI

14 replies so far

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2502 days

#1 posted 12-14-2011 02:17 AM

Well I don’t know, but here in Mexico they use regular pine, not even the stuff you mention and a shit load of stain and wax…..your call :-)

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 2864 days

#2 posted 12-14-2011 04:40 AM

Stain and Wax?? Give it a sniff to be sure, down this way they use “burnt” oil… ie, old used motor oil :-S Really brings out the saw marks and tearout a treat.

Honestly I don’t think the type of wood is so important. It is more a question of technique… first step, take the blades out of all your cutting tools and take them outside. Now rub them on the pavement for a few minutes. Next, build yourself a table saw with an old milkcrate, some well weathered 2×4s, recycled chewing gum, a length of knicker elastic and a 20HP motor.
I probably shouldn’t continue…

Use pine, if you don’t put a fine surface on it it will soak up the stain unevenly which is part of the look you are after.

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Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2502 days

#3 posted 12-14-2011 09:56 AM

lol… I did not say what the stain was…down here they mix Kerosene, used oil and if they can get a hold of it black tar pavement…. it sure makes for an interesting mix and it is somewhat interesting to see them work it.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3101 days

#4 posted 12-14-2011 06:39 PM

Near where I live there is a good Mexican restaurant that has, what looks like, typical rustic Mexican furniture. At first glance, it looks impressive. Then, if you look closer, you see that it is made of plastic.

I sure hope this is an isolated example and fear it is not.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3258 days

#5 posted 12-14-2011 06:57 PM

Southern Yellow Pine is what we use here in Texas. I have friends down south as it were, that use Lodgepole pine. Generally speaking pine is used, typically with a fairly high count of tight knots. You do NOT want loose knots in this…

Kind of like what I would think for traditional American Country pieces, but without the paint…

Depending on the look you are going for, and just “how rustic” you want, you will vary the finish quite a bit. But I found that any yellowing oil such as Tung Oil, or BLO, applied in liberal fashion over several coats, and let to dry, then gone over with beeswax gives the look I find south of the border… And is the Methods I saw being done in street shops in places from Nogales to Valladolid. (Yes I have spent plenty of time in Mexico, what can I say, I like that place, except for all the drug cartel garbage these days…)

As far as plans… we don’t need no stinking plans… oh wait, that’s not it…

Haven’t come across any… I typically find something close, rework the plan to fit the style and go for it… Typically the designs are pretty simple.

What can be fun to find is hardware for Mexican Rustic… There used to be a little place in Seabrook Texas that sold the stuff, but they are gone now… I need to get with some friends down south and see what it would take financially and legally to import some of the wrought iron rustic hardware they make down there…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View FrankThomas's profile


46 posts in 3098 days

#6 posted 12-14-2011 07:24 PM

Thanks all for the great responses. “We don’t need no stinking plans” I like that. I actually prefer to do just what you said dbhost, find something I like and draw my own variation to the dimensions and style that I like. Really what I am looking for is typical joinery used in this style, type of drawer face and runners, panels, etc…

I am trying something this weekend as a sort of proof of concept. I’ve drawn my corner tv stand/dresser in Google Sketchup. I’ll post of anyone is interested. I am going to build a couple of the panels in frame and shiplap style from some construction grade 2×4’s i carefully selected. I’ll rip and mill to dimensions and see what happens. I know this lumber can really move on ya but it’s acclimating in my shop for a week and I’ll dimension and assemble the panels in one day. Anyone have any experience with that?

-- Frank Thomas, Grand Rapids, MI

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3771 days

#7 posted 12-14-2011 07:48 PM

Frank, there is a New Mexican style. I think there’s a couple of books on the style details. Google New Mexican furniture books and you’ll find them.

View dustprocrastinator's profile


76 posts in 2712 days

#8 posted 12-15-2011 05:10 AM

this what i think of when i think of rustic mexican furniture. at least this what my grandmother had back in her in home courtyard in sayula, jalisco.
follow the link

View Zboom's profile


72 posts in 2381 days

#9 posted 12-15-2011 04:19 PM

Hey Frank I’m in New Mexico and typically the wood used here is a knotty pine with streaked staining. We also have the crazy colors like turquoises, pepper type paint colors.

-- Michael,

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2502 days

#10 posted 12-15-2011 05:00 PM

dustprocrastinator, those are equipales, which is one of the styles, the more common style here is a link with pics of the more typical rustic mexican furniture

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2720 days

#11 posted 12-15-2011 06:36 PM

Rustic Mexican furniture mocked up in SketchUp? There’s a first time for everything. My first guess would be pine. Here in WV, they use a lot of hickory for similar projects. I had all my kitchen cabinetry made from local hickory and I really like the appearance. Do you own a round tenon cutter yet? If not, brace yourself for the price. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View FrankThomas's profile


46 posts in 3098 days

#12 posted 12-15-2011 11:00 PM

I finally found a piece online that is a perfect example of the style and especially the finish that I am trying to reproduce. This antique looking painted finish of the drawer faces, in particular the red. This is the look I am after.

Anyone have experience with this kind of finish? Both the painted and the medium brown.


-- Frank Thomas, Grand Rapids, MI

View Zboom's profile


72 posts in 2381 days

#13 posted 12-16-2011 02:05 AM

No experience but the paint looks like it has been glazed

-- Michael,

View Carpintero's profile


16 posts in 2226 days

#14 posted 05-18-2012 05:13 PM

New Mexican and Mexican are two different styles, and New Mexican furniture has gone through several phases of development with characteristic features. Traditionally, New Mexican furniture was made of Ponderosa Pine. I’m not sure what was/is used in Mexican.

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