Red Oak for Arts and Crafts style? finishing?

Recently got a pickup truck load of red oak thats currently drying and is down to about 14 percent. My wife would like a new bed for our new queen size mattress with matching side tables and I have some plans for this project. I believe that quartersawn white oak was mostly used for the original arts and crafts furniture but is there any reason red oak would not be okay? Any recommendations for finishing the red oak so that it appeares as a resonable fascimilie of the white oak? The red oak is not quartersawn. I have never built any nice furnature nor done any fine finishing but have a broad enough background and experience to be confident of at least getting the parts cut out and put together, nor is money for finishing supplies a problem It's the actual finishing steps I'm worried about. Although I do not have an HVLP sprayer I do have a good quality automotive spray gun with compressor. I have DAGS and read quite a bit on finishing in general and arts and crafts in particular but most all of it does call for white oak. I want it to look nice and would like to use the red oak I have. Do you think I would be better off getting some white oak or will the red be okay? Finishing recommendations? TIA Mike in Arkansas
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Red doesn't, and won't look like white. It'll look pretty if you treat it right, and that means not like white. Your "fumed" finish will have to come from a can of stain. As long as you don't mix in the same piece, should make a nice bed.

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George is correct that you can make some nice furniture in this style with the red oak. You're likely going to want to get really familiar with dyes, rather than pigment stains. DAGS for this oft-covered topic.
I'd like to add that you will want to pay attention to grain, particularly with red oak. The relatively open grain will take stain differently than will most other woods. This means that you need to understand what that will mean in your finished projects, or you will have more, (or possibly less) grain showing than you wish to have.
Make a small table, or something with a leg similar to what you anticipate using on your magnus opus. Use you finishing schedule (which you have tested earlier on scrap), and see how the grain looks after a couple of weeks. Red oak has a tendency to look considerably different on edge grain from face grain, in the same piece.
Woodsmith, FWW and probably a number of other magazines have had articles over the past few years on how to take what you've got, and make it behave more closely like QS, or match up well within the one leg piece. They've explained it better than I could here.
And have fun with this project. It's nice to build stories for the family for later on.
Patriarch
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Re: Finishing recommendations for red oak....
We've been doing a great deal of work with red oak over the past few months on an arts and crafts style home. Beams, moldings, mantles and archways are all red oak finished to match some of the original architectural woodworking. We take pains to mill it without tear out, which you need to watch for on this large grained wood. Then we finish it to 150grit, taking pains not to lift edges (and impail our hands on gigantic splinters) when breaking them. Use sandpaper wrapped around a block with slightly rounded edges to avoid this. We then flood it with a golden oak/walnut stain mix to start. Then we apply 2 coats of dyed satin varnish, sanding lightly in between. We leave the pores only partially filled. It looks nice.
JP
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Thanks to you gentlemem for your replys. Just read two more oak finishing articles and both filled the pores. One by using a product made for that as a first application and the other sanded with oil to fill the pores. How do you manage to 'leave the pores only partially filled'/ Mike in Arkansas
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On 29 May 2004 22:44:56 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (JMWEBER987) stated wide-eyed, with arms akimbo:

Having just picked up some 20.7% ammonia Monday AND having just read an article by Stickley last night, I'll try to do as he did: fume and wax. I'll try using a shoe- brush on the wax to remove it from the pores. Since I had to settle for red oak (some QS), I'll play with finishes until I get something I like, but I won't intentionally fill the Oak's lovely pores.
JPGs to follow...some day. ;)
- Yea, though I walk through the valley of Minwax, I shall stain no Cherry. http://diversify.com
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Just be careful with that stuff.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (JMWEBER987) wrote

We don't use pore filler - we just spray a couple of coats of finish on after staining. This seals, but doesn't "fill" the larger pored areas.
JP
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I see. Well It's off to the library for me after the Holiday. I saw on their online catalog that they have a couple of books on wood finishing. Obviously, I need to rectify my ignorance a little in this area. I want a nice finish. More than slaping on a coat of poly but not so complex it will take forever. A bed is a pretty big project for me. . Thanks, Mike in Arkansas Everyone is ignorant, just in different areas.
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