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Forum topic by woodworkingdrew posted 03-14-2014 11:18 PM 915 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View woodworkingdrew's profile


190 posts in 1786 days

03-14-2014 11:18 PM

I was wondering what wood preference people have. I am an intermediate wood worker building: book shelves, vanities, TV stands, and things of that nature. What wood would you recommend using that is: cost effective, semi easy to work with, stains/paints well, and is available in both vaneer plywood and solid stock? Thanks for the advice.

-- Andrew, California

8 replies so far

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1860 days

#1 posted 03-15-2014 12:20 AM

Walnut, maple, oak, and cherry are commonly available domestically in both sheet good form and in solid lumber at a variety of price points mostly driven by how much figure they have.

-- Jesse Felling -

View CoachSchroeder's profile


97 posts in 1781 days

#2 posted 03-15-2014 12:35 AM

Andrew- I’m looking forward to working with ash and poplar once it gets just a few degrees warmer.

-- -Sam, in Wisconsin

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2708 days

#3 posted 03-15-2014 12:54 AM


If you are looking to paint, porous woods like oak and walnut aren’t a great choice. For paintable projects you might want to consider MDF for sheet stock, adding a hardwood edging where needed.

Alder is also something to consider. On the soft side like poplar or western maple, but very easy to work with. One of the least expensive choices for solid and sheet stock in the west. The tree is relatively knotty so clear wide planks are rare. Clear planks under 6” are more common.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View mahdee's profile


4008 posts in 1945 days

#4 posted 03-15-2014 01:29 AM

You have to meet them half way if you are using rough lumber.


View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2754 days

#5 posted 03-15-2014 02:19 AM

Cherry is the nicest wood I’ve ever worked with.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3234 days

#6 posted 03-16-2014 06:52 PM

I prefer to work with local hardwoods: maple, birch, cherry, walnut, oak. When I was building lots of utilitarian furniture such as bookcases and a bedroom set for my daughter I used plywood and put 1/2” thick hardwood edging. In some cases I’ve put nice veneer over plywood and mdf. I like working with cherry. Easy to work, dust not as nasty as walnut which is my second choice.

-- Glen

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2434 days

#7 posted 03-16-2014 11:03 PM

I would use poplar or MDF for paint projects. Maple, walnut, cherry, oak, etc would be used if the project is to be stained. Maple and cherry are prone to blotching so I would first coat those with 1# cut shellac. Prices and availability vary by geography so you will need to check with your local lumber yards to see what they have available for reasonable prices.

-- Art

View jbartle's profile


15 posts in 2222 days

#8 posted 03-17-2014 12:08 AM

Ash has become my favorite. Cherry is close second, mostly based on price.

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