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post #1 of 25 Old 07-27-2011, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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What Wood to use for Built-Ins

I am planning to put a large built-in bookcase in my study. The contractor indicated that Poplar and Walnut were possible options. For the experts, which type of wood would you recommend? Poplar or Walnut? Or should I look for another kind of wood?

Also, we would like to stain the wood a dark dark brown.

Thanks!

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post #2 of 25 Old 07-27-2011, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahefner View Post
I am planning to put a large built-in bookcase in my study. The contractor indicated that Poplar and Walnut were possible options. For the experts, which type of wood would you recommend? Poplar or Walnut? Or should I look for another kind of wood?

Also, we would like to stain the wood a dark dark brown.

Thanks!
Between Poplar and Walnut, there's no comparison. Walnut is a much more decorative wood, and more dense. It is dark brown to start with. My vote is Walnut. Mahogany would be another choice.








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post #3 of 25 Old 07-27-2011, 01:14 PM
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As cabinetman says. There is no comparrison between popular and walnut.

Walnut is one of the most beautiful woods in my opinion. Also much more expensive than popular. With walnut I would just finish natural.

Popular I would only use if I was going to finish in a color.

If you are not familiar with walnut then you need to go to a high end furniture store and have them show you some products.

George
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post #4 of 25 Old 07-27-2011, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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How much more expensive would Walnut be?
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post #5 of 25 Old 07-27-2011, 01:21 PM
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How much more expensive would Walnut be?
You would have to check in your area.







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post #6 of 25 Old 07-28-2011, 03:45 PM
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You can count on Walnut being WAY more expensive than poplar most everywhere. Also be advised that sapwood (whick is very light in walnut and cherry) is not considered a fault.

However, to get a good even, dark stain in poplar will require a professional finisher, or you will wind up with a blotchy looking mess. So the walnut, finished naturally, may not actually cost any more after all is said and done.

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Last edited by clampman; 07-28-2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: added second thoughts
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post #7 of 25 Old 07-28-2011, 06:08 PM
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welcome sahefner, a friend of mine just did a whiskey step up cab, out of poplar and alder, but if you got some pics your looking at of some, show me i'm thinking of doing one as well
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post #8 of 25 Old 07-29-2011, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Guys, thanks for the insights. I can see that Walnut is the runaway pick. I just wish the contractor would get back to me with the Walnut price.

I never new wood could be so complicated. For the experts, will you rank the following woods? Remember, we want to stain it a dark brown.

Alder, Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Poplar, and Walnut.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-29-2011, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahefner View Post
Guys, thanks for the insights. I can see that Walnut is the runaway pick. I just wish the contractor would get back to me with the Walnut price.

I never new wood could be so complicated. For the experts, will you rank the following woods? Remember, we want to stain it a dark brown.

Alder, Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Poplar, and Walnut.

Thanks!
I would start with either Walnut or Mahogany.








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post #10 of 25 Old 07-29-2011, 12:06 PM
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How bout cherry. I dont like to stain it, but it darkens quickly.
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post #11 of 25 Old 07-29-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahefner View Post
Guys, thanks for the insights. I can see that Walnut is the runaway pick. I just wish the contractor would get back to me with the Walnut price.

I never new wood could be so complicated. For the experts, will you rank the following woods? Remember, we want to stain it a dark brown.

Alder, Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Poplar, and Walnut.

Thanks!
To rank woods as to which it is the best to use, we have to know what use you will be putting them to.

Each of those would be the best in a given use.

George
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post #12 of 25 Old 07-29-2011, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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I plan on building a large built-in bookcase in my study. It is roughly 13 feet long and 10 feet tall.
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post #13 of 25 Old 07-29-2011, 01:06 PM
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Walnut would only need an oil finish applied to it (Tung Oil & Walnut is beautiful). Mahogany would cost about half as much as walnut and will look great as well with just an oil finish. Alder & Poplar are good woods but staining them dark takes a lot of work as others have mentioned.

Are you building this yourself or having it built? If you are doing it yourself walnut & mahogany are hard woods to work with while poplar is pretty forgiving and easy to use.
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post #14 of 25 Old 07-30-2011, 01:08 PM
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Walnut is the only way to go its beautiful wood and I would finish it with Tung or danish oil for a terrific looking addition
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post #15 of 25 Old 07-30-2011, 01:19 PM
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Welcome! One thing to keep in mind is that although walnut is beautiful, it is very expensive and can be hard to work with. I made costly mistakes on my first couple projects. If you're just starting out my recommendation would be to go with cheaper stock, or start with a smaller project- unless you're a really fast learner you'll probably end up ruining some of you stock (which if you're using walnut can get expensive quick). Just an opinion. Good luck!
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post #16 of 25 Old 07-30-2011, 02:13 PM
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All of my painted built-ins are made with poplar wood and birch ply. If they want to spend the money I will make it out of any species of wood they want. I do love a nice mahogany built in with a low sheen clear...

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post #17 of 25 Old 08-01-2011, 09:55 AM
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For reference: When I took the table building classe earlier this year - prices were roughly:

poplar: $3 / board foot
Mahogany: $5 / board foot
Walnut: $7 / board foot
Cherry: $10 / board foot

This was at a shop that buys A LOT of lumber directly from the mill. While not exact pricing it should get you a ballpark figure.
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post #18 of 25 Old 08-01-2011, 11:03 PM
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I love the look of walnut cherry and mahogony they all look great but are very costly even more expensive for be because I tend to goof up sometimes with pine or popular it is no big deal but with cherry costing atleast 10 a board foot if you screw up your introubel

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post #19 of 25 Old 08-10-2011, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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What about Oak? No one has really mentioned it yet. It is a nice hard wood with a nice grain.

Would oak stain well? Thoughts?
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post #20 of 25 Old 08-21-2011, 08:05 PM
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What about Oak? No one has really mentioned it yet. It is a nice hard wood with a nice grain.

Would oak stain well? Thoughts?
I'm building a coffee table out of red oak right now. It's very hard so make sure your tools are very sharp.

As for staining it, i bought dark walnut transtint dye. I mixed it with water and it looks amazing. Nice even color.

I would definitely recomend oak. It would look way better than popular and is much cheaper than walnut.
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