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Is there a wood more affordable than Maple that will stain similarly?

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Forum topic by mcg1990 posted 05-25-2015 06:53 PM 1147 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mcg1990

159 posts in 754 days


05-25-2015 06:53 PM

The title says most of it, but the context is a round pedestal table. The client wants a rustic, dark stain, similar to projects I’ve completed with Pine. However, they want the durability of a hardwood and we’ve settled on hard Maple as the most likely candidate for the top.

So, my question is, is there a wood similar in appearance that I can use for the pedestal? I can use Maple if I have to, but would rather save some bucks if I can.

Secondly, if there are one or two options, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d let me know of any prep that would be crucial to the success of the matching. I don’t usually use staining conditioners, or a pre-coat of shellac, due to the rustic nature of the work that I do, but I will do it here if it’s a must.

Thanks


21 replies so far

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2280 days


#1 posted 05-25-2015 07:03 PM

It will depend on where you live, but here I can generally get yellow birch for a bit cheaper than sugar maple (not that sugar maple is that expensive, but I live in eastern Canada). Yellow birch is as strong as maple, but slightly softer. It very closely resembles maple, although I find it a bit easier to work. Around here they traditionally did hardwood floors out of a mixture of maple and yellow birch.

I almost never stain wood, so can’t be much help to you on that.

As an aside, it almost sounds like you’re going to use a different wood and then tell your clients it’s maple. But I assume that’s not the case.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2880 posts in 2989 days


#2 posted 05-25-2015 07:07 PM

Thos. Moser recommends yellow birch. In How to Build Shaker Furniture, he writes:
“Since few people can tell the difference between maple and yellow birch, and since birch is easier to work and more readily available, for general applications the use of yellow birch is advised.”

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View TomB19's profile

TomB19

51 posts in 1430 days


#3 posted 05-25-2015 07:36 PM

How about a thick veneer of hard maple, say 1/4 or even 3/8”?

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paxorion

1102 posts in 1508 days


#4 posted 05-25-2015 07:42 PM

Am I naive in saying that soft maple may also be a candidate? All the hard and soft maple I’ve used have similar grain patterns. Left natural, there are differences in color. However when stained, one would think they are similar?

-- paxorion

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7910 posts in 1842 days


#5 posted 05-26-2015 05:08 AM

If the customer asks for, and believes they are paying for, hard maple, substituting something else without their consent is unethical. If that is not your intention, then disregard.

I wouldn’t worry about saving money, just pass along the cost to the customer. That said, around here hard maple is pretty darn cheap compared to most hardwoods.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1771 days


#6 posted 05-26-2015 06:24 AM

Do your research on staining maple. Maple is notorious for badly blotching. Most will recommend a dye instead of a penetrating stain. Also check into Charles Neil blotch control. I have not use it but it get very good reviews.

http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Staining_and_Blending_Difficult_Woods.html

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1771 days


#7 posted 05-26-2015 06:47 AM



If the customer asks for, and believes they are paying for, hard maple, substituting something else without their consent is unethical. If that is not your intention, then disregard.

I wouldn t worry about saving money, just pass along the cost to the customer. That said, around here hard maple is pretty darn cheap compared to most hardwoods.

- Rick M.


I agree with you completely.

Now let me play “the devil’s advocate”.

Why does the little guy working out of his garage have to be different than everybody else?

Have ever looked at the hype on most furniture store furniture. An advertised piece of solid cherry furniture may turn out to be poplar with a cherry finish. Finish manufacture can sell tung oil with no tung oil in it.
I’m not going to list a whole bunch of examples cause I don’t want to waste my time. But, you get the idea and this kind of product misrepresentation is common place.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1546 posts in 3223 days


#8 posted 05-26-2015 12:06 PM

AlaskaGuy is right on. Hard maple does not stain well. Use a dye.

Here in the U.P. I work with both yellow birch and curly maple. On the maple, a dye will really make the curl “pop” out in a most beautiful manner.

Yellow birch (actually the wood is rather white) is a great wood to work with. I like to use a cherry stain.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 983 days


#9 posted 05-26-2015 01:27 PM


Why does the little guy working out of his garage have to be different than everybody else?

- AlaskaGuy

..Because, if consumers don’t already know, we should make it no secret that commercial furniture dealers are notorious deceivers and their word should not be trusted. That’s why their furniture is so inexpensive .. it’s cheap.

We serious woodworkers are better than that. We should make that well known and we should live up to our collective expectations.

I say, show the customer some finished hard maple and some finished soft maple and/or birch and ask if it will OK. Please don’t spring it on him or her.

View bannerpond1's profile

bannerpond1

397 posts in 1361 days


#10 posted 05-26-2015 06:47 PM

Folks, the reason we don’t act the furniture stores or anyone else who uses deceit to sell a product is called “integrity.” What they do does not dictate what we should do. Just do the right thing. Most of us know what is right. Our problem is sometimes that we think we deserve special consideration from doing what’s right. It they want maple, give ‘em maple and charge them accordingly. Put it on the estimate. If they balk, give them cheaper alternatives.

-- --Dale Page

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1508 days


#11 posted 05-26-2015 07:15 PM



Folks, the reason we don t act the furniture stores or anyone else who uses deceit to sell a product is called “integrity.” What they do does not dictate what we should do. Just do the right thing. Most of us know what is right. Our problem is sometimes that we think we deserve special consideration from doing what s right. It they want maple, give em maple and charge them accordingly. Put it on the estimate. If they balk, give them cheaper alternatives.

- bannerpond1

Amen to that

-- paxorion

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1832 days


#12 posted 05-26-2015 07:54 PM

Just a question…how much is the maple that you’re using that it’s not affordable (could you find it more affordably?)

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7910 posts in 1842 days


#13 posted 05-28-2015 06:06 AM


But, you get the idea and this kind of product misrepresentation is common place.

- AlaskaGuy

I understand your point but ultimately it’s about my ethics.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

693 posts in 686 days


#14 posted 05-28-2015 03:59 PM

Funny how turns into a question about ethics and people acting like he’s doing a bait and switch rather than reading the entire question and just answering it.

If you read his post he says that maple is the MOST LIKELY candidate, and then also said for the top.

Then he asks for similar woods for the base.

Sometimes it’s just easier to answer the question than go on a witch hunt.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7910 posts in 1842 days


#15 posted 05-28-2015 04:28 PM


Funny how turns into a question about ethics and people acting like he s doing a bait and switch rather than reading the entire question and just answering it.
- AZWoody

Question was read and answered. Apply your reading skills to the whole thread before your knee kicks in gear. And if you have an issue with something I posted, address me directly.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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