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Mixing hardwoods. Anything I should know?

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Forum topic by MaroonGoon posted 188 days ago 640 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MaroonGoon

280 posts in 557 days


188 days ago

Hey guys,
I am designing a coffee table and have this idea. It involves using both walnut and cherry to make the top. Is there anything I should know or any tips you guys could give me about combining woods before I start making the top? I’ve never combined two woods together in one piece like this and I don’t have any wood left in case I screw it up so I need to get it right the first time.

Thanks for y’all’s time. Attached is a picture of what I’m wanting to do. It’s a rough drawing but you get the idea.

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso


20 replies so far

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richardwootton

1084 posts in 554 days


#1 posted 188 days ago

The only problem that I can potentially see off hand are the Breadboard ends. Really, it’s more of a question of how are you going to attach them?

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

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bondogaposis

2441 posts in 950 days


#2 posted 188 days ago

As long as you allow for wood movement, I see no problem w/ your design.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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MaroonGoon

280 posts in 557 days


#3 posted 188 days ago

Wood movement is one of the questions I have..I was just going to edge glue all the boards together except for the breadboard ends. I would attach it using loose fitting mortise and tenon joinery as is typical. My concern is edge gluing the cherry and walnut together. Cherry and walnut expand and contract at different rates right? Or will that not make much of a difference?

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

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BigRedKnothead

4410 posts in 581 days


#4 posted 188 days ago

Nah, won’t be any issue with edge gluing those bro. Long as you don’t glue the breadboard you’ll be fine.

-- Red -- "There's nothin' in the world so sad as talking to a man, who never knew his life was his for making." Ray LamMontagne

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ShaneA

5253 posts in 1197 days


#5 posted 188 days ago

As long as the breadboards are constructed/attached properly, there should be no concern.

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Picklehead

550 posts in 528 days


#6 posted 188 days ago

Walnut, cherry, bread…......I’m off to the kitchen…..................

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

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Clint Searl

1386 posts in 960 days


#7 posted 188 days ago

Bad combination, and breadboard ends are not a good idea.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

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MaroonGoon

280 posts in 557 days


#8 posted 188 days ago

Thanks guys. This eases my mind a bit.

Clint, is there another way you prefer to make the top? I haven’t made a table top this big before so I’m trying to figure out the best way to handle the movement. I’ve seen breadboard ends on here and they seem effective enough…

I was going to make it all from walnut but I don’t have enough good 42” long walnut pieces so that’s why I opted to include cherry. Do you just not like the way the two woods look together or is it something else about it?

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

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wseand

2116 posts in 1640 days


#9 posted 188 days ago

I’m with you PickleHead.

Looks good to me Maroon,

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

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shampeon

1287 posts in 782 days


#10 posted 188 days ago

I’m a fan of that combo. I much prefer cherry to maple as an accent wood for walnut.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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Picken5

117 posts in 1290 days


#11 posted 187 days ago

I combined walnut and cherry on a counter-top I made. It looked terrific (IMHO) — and it’s still holding up fine almost 3 years later. My only disappointment was the cherry darkened so much that the contrast between the two woods is much less than it used to be. Other than that, it still looks great.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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oldnovice

3599 posts in 1966 days


#12 posted 187 days ago

Clint, can I ask why you said ”Bad combination, and breadboard ends are not a good idea”

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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Nicholas Hall

339 posts in 705 days


#13 posted 187 days ago

Like the others posted, mixing walnut and cherry is not going to be a problem. I’m sure you’ve already done your homework on breadboard ends.

Just as a thought, you might want to try doing a single breadboard end out of cheap pine before you try it with a big beautiful panel of cherry and walnut. Like half-blind dovetails, it’s tougher than it looks. Also like half-blind dovetails, perfectly executed one’s are beautiful, and poorly done one’s are ugly as sin. The big difference is that you never see drawer dovetails, but the top of a coffee table will be on display for all to see.

Just one overcautious man’s 2 cents.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1449 days


#14 posted 187 days ago

I, too, would like to hear Clint’s explanation.

My input, maroongoon, is to go get another piece of wood.

Using your last piece on something you’re not sure of just adds stress and while you may make it work, it won’t be as much fun and certainly won’t have as much of your soul in it when you place it on the carpet.

I think it’s an attractive design and the results will be dazzling. Go for it!

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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Clint Searl

1386 posts in 960 days


#15 posted 187 days ago

Walnut and cherry are each too beautiful individually to be thrown against each other, IMO.

Breadboard ends are always too short or too long for the width of the top due to seasonal movement. Ugly, IMO.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

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