Wood choice. Oh, the agony!

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Forum topic by BTimmons posted 209 days ago 710 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1904 posts in 988 days

209 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question padauk wenge walnut maple

I’m going to be making a revised version of the jewelry box I did for my wife. The response has been overwhelmingly positive wherever I’ve shown it, and I’m hoping that this go around I can sell one.

Click for details

I’m going to be using paduak again for the top, front, and sides. The rear panel will be cherry, in order to conserve exotic material, and no one looks at the back anyway. What I’m struggling with is what wood to use for the accent pieces. The original had wenge for the legs and pulls, but I don’t want to bother with that again because now I’m aware of just how toxic it is!

So the paduak I found has some GORGEOUS figure, with lovely dark mineral streaks throughout. I can’t decide whether I should use some walnut, keeping with the original color scheme, or highly figured maple. Artistically, I can’t decide whether I should allow the legs and pulls to be more subdued and let the paduak speak for itself, or should I just go all Spinal Tap and crank it up to 11 with the maple?

Here’s a shot of the maple, walnut, and paduak together with a bit of mineral spirits.

What would you do?

-- Brian in Arlington, TX

21 replies so far

View littlecope's profile


2785 posts in 2005 days

#1 posted 209 days ago

With that choice I’d use the Walnut for the legs and handles…
The maple would look fantastic too, but it seems kind of a shame to “waste” that particular Maple on such small pieces, the curl wouldn’t show as well… I’d save it for another project!
Great looking Box either way Brian!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View tefinn's profile


1171 posts in 940 days

#2 posted 209 days ago

I second the walnut as well. I don’t think you could really appreciate the maple’s grain in the smaller pieces. If you were going to use the maple in place of the paduak, that would work.

Edit: I just checked out your first one. Love it! Added it to my favorites.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View AandCstyle's profile


1133 posts in 760 days

#3 posted 209 days ago

I agree with Mike. If you add the maple I think it will start to look too “busy” with the maple and padauk fighting for attention. However, you could make one in maple/walnut and another in padauk/walnut and see which one sells faster. Either combination will be a winner.

-- Art

View DKV's profile


3053 posts in 1007 days

#4 posted 209 days ago

If she puts the box on a dresser in front of a mirror everyone will be looking at the back. :-)

-- 2014 will be a different least for me it will.

View Woodmaster1's profile


412 posts in 1090 days

#5 posted 209 days ago

I am finishing a finger joint box where I mixed paduak and maple looks good together. I like the contrast.

View zzzzdoc's profile


503 posts in 1506 days

#6 posted 209 days ago

Also just finished a box with padauk and maple and it looks great. But I used ebonized walnut for the accent pieces like yours.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View Chris Peroni's profile

Chris Peroni

100 posts in 442 days

#7 posted 209 days ago

I’m going to echo what was said about saving the maple for another project. The dark of the walnut sets off the padauk well – better than the maple would imho

-- Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. -Plato

View BTimmons's profile


1904 posts in 988 days

#8 posted 208 days ago

Alright, the walnut has it. I do like the idea of making it a tad darker though. Anyone have any favorite (and cheap) method for ebonizing walnut?

-- Brian in Arlington, TX

View LakeLover's profile


272 posts in 442 days

#9 posted 208 days ago

Black Marking pen.

View BTimmons's profile


1904 posts in 988 days

#10 posted 208 days ago

Just a marker, huh? I’d heard about the steel wool and vinegar approach. Is there any noticeable difference? Does either approach fade over time?

-- Brian in Arlington, TX

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

13950 posts in 1070 days

#11 posted 208 days ago

ebonizing makes it pretty dark. I’m sure there are a lot of others, but this plane is ebonized walnut.

Click for details

-- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)

View Randy_ATX's profile


642 posts in 945 days

#12 posted 208 days ago

Brian – that original box is a beauty – added to favorites.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View bondogaposis's profile


2233 posts in 854 days

#13 posted 208 days ago

I also vote for ebonized walnut, I just tried and it makes walnut almost black like ebony.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BTimmons's profile


1904 posts in 988 days

#14 posted 208 days ago

So, any word on how steel wool & vinegar compares to just using a plain black marker? I don’t want any surprises once it’s time to put on the top coat.

Don, that’s a beautiful plane. Pretty sure I commented on that already but it’s worth saying again.

Randy, thanks!

-- Brian in Arlington, TX

View Roger's profile


13062 posts in 1307 days

#15 posted 208 days ago

Build it and paint it different ways in a “paint” program, or something like that. You can really see how it will look. It’s gonna look gr8, no matter what, i.m.o.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

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