Wood choice. Oh, the agony!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by BTimmons posted 09-23-2013 11:28 PM 1401 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2483 days

09-23-2013 11:28 PM

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 Timmons -

21 replies so far

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3500 days

#1 posted 09-23-2013 11:42 PM

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


1222 posts in 2435 days

#2 posted 09-23-2013 11:53 PM

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


3052 posts in 2255 days

#3 posted 09-24-2013 12:07 AM

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


3940 posts in 2502 days

#4 posted 09-24-2013 12:16 AM

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

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Woodmaster1's profile


958 posts in 2585 days

#5 posted 09-24-2013 12:28 AM

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

View zzzzdoc's profile


550 posts in 3002 days

#6 posted 09-24-2013 12:58 AM

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

101 posts in 1937 days

#7 posted 09-24-2013 01:25 AM

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


2303 posts in 2483 days

#8 posted 09-24-2013 03:40 PM

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 Timmons -

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 1938 days

#9 posted 09-24-2013 04:14 PM

Black Marking pen.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2483 days

#10 posted 09-24-2013 04:20 PM

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 Timmons -

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2566 days

#11 posted 09-24-2013 04:51 PM

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

Click for details

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Randy_ATX's profile


878 posts in 2440 days

#12 posted 09-24-2013 04:53 PM

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

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

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2350 days

#13 posted 09-24-2013 05:01 PM

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

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2483 days

#14 posted 09-24-2013 07:25 PM

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 Timmons -

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2802 days

#15 posted 09-25-2013 12:17 AM

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. Keep your dust collector fed.

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics