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Mixing hardwoods. Anything I should know?

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Forum topic by MaroonGoon posted 01-19-2014 01:56 AM 665 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MaroonGoon

280 posts in 614 days


01-19-2014 01:56 AM

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

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1254 posts in 611 days


#1 posted 01-19-2014 02:10 AM

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

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2528 posts in 1007 days


#2 posted 01-19-2014 02:12 AM

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

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MaroonGoon's profile

MaroonGoon

280 posts in 614 days


#3 posted 01-19-2014 02:25 AM

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

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4998 posts in 638 days


#4 posted 01-19-2014 02:32 AM

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

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5304 posts in 1254 days


#5 posted 01-19-2014 02:32 AM

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

View Picklehead's profile

Picklehead

580 posts in 585 days


#6 posted 01-19-2014 02:35 AM

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

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

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1457 posts in 1017 days


#7 posted 01-19-2014 02:39 AM

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

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View MaroonGoon's profile

MaroonGoon

280 posts in 614 days


#8 posted 01-19-2014 02:50 AM

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

View wseand's profile

wseand

2258 posts in 1698 days


#9 posted 01-19-2014 03:03 AM

I’m with you PickleHead.

Looks good to me Maroon,

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

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1377 posts in 839 days


#10 posted 01-19-2014 03:06 AM

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."

View Picken5's profile

Picken5

121 posts in 1348 days


#11 posted 01-19-2014 04:16 AM

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

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3766 posts in 2024 days


#12 posted 01-19-2014 07:11 AM

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!"

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

348 posts in 763 days


#13 posted 01-19-2014 05:52 PM

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 1506 days


#14 posted 01-19-2014 06:07 PM

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"

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1457 posts in 1017 days


#15 posted 01-19-2014 07:02 PM

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....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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