Best substitute for elm?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Hmlee posted 07-27-2014 03:50 AM 893 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Hmlee's profile


16 posts in 1348 days

07-27-2014 03:50 AM

I’ve been working on a rather large media console for a while. Originally, I planned on making both shelves of the unit out of elm (top 6/4, bottom 4/4). The bottom shelf went swimmingly, but the top shelf… well turns out some of the elm I bought was more warped than I realized.

So I’ve got 2/3 of a shelf built. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get more elm to finish out the shelf, since it seems to be rather hard to find in Chicago.

So, I’m wondering, would any of the following woods finish to a similar color as the elm / look good in combination with it: basswood, birch, hickory, red oak, lyptus, makore?

(Those are the options available in 6/4 at the place I’d like to go to…)

5 replies so far

View Yonak's profile


979 posts in 944 days

#1 posted 07-27-2014 04:38 AM

The only wood I can think of that may come anywhere close to elm as far as looks and similar properties could be a nice light colored pecan. I don’t believe any of the woods you mentioned are very close.

If you’re looking for a contrasting wood I would avoid basswood and lyptus, and maybe birch and makore, as the grains may clash. My 2ยข.

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2306 days

#2 posted 07-27-2014 11:49 AM

ash also is similar to elm, at least the stuff I’ve worked with. Why don’t you just buy some more elm online?

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3848 posts in 1917 days

#3 posted 07-27-2014 12:42 PM

It’s so dependent on the particular wood you have on hand, I think I’d take a sample with me to the yard you frequent and compare. You might check out the hickory along with the other suggestions. Take a spray bottle with water to must the surface of the sample and the boards you are looking at. Of course, this is easiest if the boards have been (at the very least) skip-planed. If it’s all rough sawn you may need a block plane as well.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 1536 days

#4 posted 07-27-2014 07:07 PM

If your staining it red oak can come pretty close.

View CharlesA's profile


2979 posts in 1221 days

#5 posted 07-27-2014 09:29 PM

Checked these folks?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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