I'm undertaking a large "entertainment center" project made from white
oak and due to local plywood pricing, red oak is a fair amount cheaper
than white oak. Most of this unit will have interior areas that are
either difficult to see (inside tops of lower cabinets, cabinets of
drawers (the backs and sides), etc.). To save money and material how
feasible is it to substitute red oak plywood for these "hidden" areas?
The finishing plan is a fairly dark "Mission" finish, possibly a metal
dye or other stain covered with a clear (poly/laquer) topcoat. I am
concerned about getting the color to match (will I have to use a
different tint for each wood type) and if the two woods will look
close enough to the same so that even if a drawer is pulled out,
someone would have to know what to look for to tell the difference. I
hope that I could just finish the unit without worrying about changing
finish formulas for each wood species, basically the only noticible
difference should be the pores.
Could I even go to birch plywood in areas where I really only need a
color match or would this look really fugly?
I suppose I should also consider using a cheaper grade (species) of
plywood for all the interior areas that usually will be behind a
closed door where I could just go for a more solid color versus
something with grain that matches the exterior.
What would you all do in this situation?
Are you using quartersawn White Oak? In our area, Red Oak is significantly
more expensive than White (unless quartersawn).
I play with using contrasting hardwoods in some projects and have used Red
and White Oak together but you need to use them the same way in various
parts of the project (example legs, drawer fronts/facings, doors, tops, etc
should not share woods). Oak ply would probably be a better choice than
birch for the hidden areas that will not take a lot of direct ambient light.
Don't overlook Ash for some of the minor parts. Ash can do a good Oak
imitation especially Red Oak. You will have to experiment, on some scrap,
with stains to make sure everything can come together, especially with the
darker colors. Also, Ash can blotch so you might want to condition the
project with spririts or a commercial pre-stain conditioner. I have seen
several pieces of the dark red mission furniture that is actually made from
You seem to be talking about a piece that has all the wood visible like a
table. I'm talking about the insides of cabinets. I'm not brave enough yet to
try matching wood for a nice project :^)
I didn't think of finding wood with a similar grain wood like ash. Certainly
better potential than birch...
My project (entertainment center) will have solid doors on all parts except
for some shelves and the central area behind the monitor. These will be
visible so I'll have to use white oak for the shelves/backs/etc. The cabinet
interiors I want to look "nice" but I really don't want to pay top dollar for
something that I could substitute for a reasonable match.
Thanks for the ideas Ron!
On Wed, 1 Dec 2004 15:56:49 -0700, patrick conroy wrote
I'll try some of the better brands of gel-stain on some scraps, thanks for
the hints. I usually have used water based dyes, which I can match well, but
this unit will get direct sun and I know WB dyes tend to fade..
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