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What wood should I use for a vanity

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Forum topic by Andy Hardin posted 04-01-2009 02:46 AM 6877 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andy Hardin

7 posts in 2859 days


04-01-2009 02:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry maple birch vanity

I’m planning on building a 42” vanity for a bathroom remodel. I want a dark finish on the wood (with a light finish on the inside) so I’m thinking that the grain of the wood won’t show much, if at all. With that in mind I was wondering if using something like birch would be acceptable instead of cherry or maple? Also if anybody has any good designs for a vanity that they could send me, or point me to, I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks,

Andy


24 replies so far

View Bureaucrat's profile

Bureaucrat

18337 posts in 3117 days


#1 posted 04-02-2009 05:03 AM

If you are going to stain it dark, birch should be fine. I’d recommend that you do a LJ search on birch, staining, projects and see what kind of results other jock have gotten.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 3007 days


#2 posted 04-02-2009 07:26 AM

Birch is a little more $$ than maple and can have some really nice figure in the grain, which I would not want to cover up. I would say alder. It stains up really nice without having to spray and isn’t that expensive.

Check out this vanity I built. It’s a cool design that the owners wanted and it is made out of knotty alder with black melamine boxes and drawers.

-- Childress Woodworks

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

714 posts in 3084 days


#3 posted 04-02-2009 07:02 PM

Birch or Maple can be difficult to stain a dark color. If Poplar is available in your area that would be a good choice as it is cheap and easy to finish. Hey Childress….nice vanity!

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View jleiwig's profile

jleiwig

47 posts in 3235 days


#4 posted 04-02-2009 09:39 PM

Don has it right. Birch will be splotchy with out a pre-stain conditioner. I stained some birch with “jacobean” stain and used conditioner on the top and not on the bottom side where I practiced. The side without the conditioner was very blotchy and not attractive at all.

I don’t know that I’d use poplar if it is going to be going into a bathroom with a shower. It has a tendency to warp pretty good under varying humidity conditions.

-- I intend to live forever, or die trying..........Justin, Ohio

View Andy Hardin's profile

Andy Hardin

7 posts in 2859 days


#5 posted 04-03-2009 05:21 AM

Thanks for the recommendation on the pre-stain conditioner. Would a gel stain also work?

I’m kind of limited on what lumber I can get at HD or Lowes. They have birch, maple, and oak plywood with birch being slightly cheaper. As for solid wood, it’s poplar, oak, or aspen, I think. I’m not familiar with aspen. Is it known by another name? Can I mix birch ply and poplar or aspen solid wood with good results?

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3779 days


#6 posted 04-03-2009 05:29 AM

You are not limited on lumber. You really need to find a real supplier. HD or Lowes charge too much and have too little selection. Look around for a real wood supplier. Unless you are in the backwoods of Alaska someone around you sells real wood. On some woods the big box stores charge 3 times what it cost me to buy.

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Andy Hardin

7 posts in 2859 days


#7 posted 04-03-2009 05:35 AM

The closest place to me is an hour away and for the small amount that I would need for this project it would cost me more to go there than to HD or Lowes. There are some wholesalers here but they don’t sell to the public.

I live in Huntsville, AL and I’m surprised that I can’t find a retailer here.

View indnajns's profile

indnajns

2 posts in 2806 days


#8 posted 04-03-2009 01:32 PM

“You really need to find a real supplier. HD or Lowes charge too much and have too little selection. “

I am intrigued with this sentence. I am all too aware of the lousy crap the Big Box Stores sell as “quality” wood. But I also know I can’t afford anything else that I’ve seen. Where do you live and what retailer is in your area?

View Andy Hardin's profile

Andy Hardin

7 posts in 2859 days


#9 posted 04-03-2009 04:14 PM

The answer to your question is in my post just before yours. I’m in Huntsville, AL and I have yet to find a retailer in this city. I think there were some here at one time but, if I recall correctly, they went out of business. The nearest lumber retailer that sell rough solid hardwoods in over an hours drive away. That seems hardly worth the drive to get the small amount of wood I need, which is enough for doors. drawers, and face-frame.

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 3007 days


#10 posted 04-03-2009 04:44 PM

Then I would just use poplar and try to find the clearest material with the gel stain like you said and let it sit and penetrate as long as possible. I have also built a vanity out of poplar and ended up spraying the stain on to get it dark and it didn’t look all that bad. And yes you can mix the birch ply with the poplar. Even if the color doesn’t match exactly, you are not really looking at them at the same time, unless the doors are open.
Another option would be to use melamine boxes. You never have to finish them.

-- Childress Woodworks

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3779 days


#11 posted 04-03-2009 04:58 PM

True many of the local guys have gone out of business. Some times a local cabinet maker will be able to get the wood for you for a slight mark up. You just wont be able to go pick out the boards. In Boise Idaho I can think of four different suppliers. You might check out the hardwood center in scottsboro just down the road. Lots of these place sell exotics that are expensive. I had a project out of Poplar about 40 board feet. I ended up getting 100 board feet at the same price homedespot wanted to charge. Just a few years ago we had a small family owned lumberyard that stocked a wide variety of hardwoods. They went out of business when Lowes opened up…and they where cheaper! In you area you might have some small saw mills that supply lumber at a very reasonable price. Talk to the wholesalers they will know someone who will sell you their product.

View Andy Hardin's profile

Andy Hardin

7 posts in 2859 days


#12 posted 04-03-2009 05:52 PM

The place in Scottsboro is the closest place and it’s an hour drive. Trying to avoid going over there, if possible, for a couple of reason. One is obviously the time and distance, the other is the fact that I don’t have a moisture meter and I have no way of gauging how dry the wood is so I’m not sure if I can use it when I get home or if it needs to dry some more. With the big box stores, there lumber has been there a while and I’m fairly comfortable that it’s dry enough to begin working. Am I totally of base here?

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3779 days


#13 posted 04-03-2009 06:13 PM

The drive is a big deal. Do they deliver? I would not worry to much about moisture. They might even have a meter there.
Oak takes a dark stain very well.

View Charles Mullins's profile

Charles Mullins

94 posts in 3177 days


#14 posted 04-03-2009 06:38 PM

Andy, I live in Fayetteville, just north of you. It’s a darn shame that there are no suppliers of wood near you there in Huntsville. I have some of the same problem. I have to go to get the wood I want.

I believe there is a supplier in Decatur but that is again a drive, but not too far.

I get most of my wood from Tennessee Valley Wood Products, in Huntland, TN, Prices are good compared to Scottsboro. Their phone number is (931) 469-7777. I’m not sure but they may deliver to you if they have another delivery in Huntsville. I think they deliver to the Arts and Crafts Center on the Arsenal. I’m a volunteer there.

I have used oak and soft maple for cabinets and both stain well.

I’ll send a PM to give you some more ideas.

Charlie M.

-- God makes the wood beautiful--I simply rearrange it to make it more useful, hopefully.

View Joey's profile

Joey

276 posts in 3280 days


#15 posted 04-04-2009 08:44 PM

Use http://woodfinder.com
I use acadian hardwoods. http://acadianhardwoods.com If you live in certain parts of the southeast they will deliver for a $20 surcharge. They are $10-$20 a sheet cheaper for birch than HD or lowe’s. They also sell to the geneeral public at just above wholesale prices.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms http://woodnwaresms.com

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