Good pairing for maple that isn't walnut - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-12-2018, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Good pairing for maple that isn't walnut

I wish I could afford walnut and maybe I really just should buy it but I am trying to design out a TV stand. I want to frame panels of birdseye maple using breadboard joints and trim the birdseye maple top with another wood. I can get away with a 1 inch trim of a dark wood for the top but the posts and supports are probably going to be about 3 inches wide. The wood has to be stained dark and I want it to look good.

This is probably going to result in a lot of board feet and walnut is really expensive. Is there an alternative that works well but won't break the bank? Should I just save up the money and get good enough to not screw it up?
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-12-2018, 06:32 PM
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This isn't answering your question but around here Birdseye Maple costs more than Walnut. And Birdseye Maple is harder to find, too. That aside, can you stain another wood with a Walnut stain and assemble after that? Assuming you're going to shoot/wipe/rub a clear coat on after it's all together, of course...

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post #3 of 10 Old 12-12-2018, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Yea. I was just told by someone here that using something like red oak with birdseye maple is just not that great and white oak is worse. Like, for reference, I can get walnut for about 9.50 a BF, quarter sawn white oak for about 6.50, and red oak for about 4$. The maple was pricey at about 7.50 but that is my favorite wood and this is going in my home, so I don't really mind. Also, I won't need too much of it. Using walnut for trim around each of the birdseye maple pieces will add up rapidly.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-12-2018, 07:19 PM
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My advice? Spend extra on the walnut - at least, if it's your TV stand. If not, then go with cherry or sapele instead, or a stained wood.

If it IS your TV stand, my advice is to go with the walnut. That's going to be one of the focal points of your home for years, maybe decades. Sure, it may be another $50 or $100 right now (at least, that's what the price difference would be between that and cherry where I live), but you spend it once and enjoy it for a loooong time. In a year or two, that $100 you saved or didn't save won't matter: And you'll still have a beautiful TV stand.

EDIT: Your pricing seems pretty close to what I'm working with in the central valley of California. And my advice comes from my experience with my own coffee table, built when I was trying to be as budget-conscious as possible. As a result, there are little details about the table that still bug me a little two years after building it, when an extra $50 would have alleviated those issues completely.

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post #5 of 10 Old 12-12-2018, 09:35 PM
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How many board feet of birdseye maple will this project require? How many board feet of dark wood?

The walnut costs just over 25% more than the maple. and based on your comments, it is a much smaller percentage of the project. Let's assume that the project requires 100 board feet, with 80 board feet of maple, and 20 board feet of other (dark) wood. Here would be the relative costs:

100% Maple, no dark wood, for comparison: 100 board feet x $7.50 = $750

80% Maple and 20% Walnut: 80 x 7.50, plus 20 x 9.50 = $790

80% Maple and 20% SPF (spruce, pine, or fir) at $2/BF: 80 x 7.50, plus 20 x 2.00 = $640.

I bet that you need a lot less than 100 board feet, so the relative savings would be much less. Based on the numbers above, it seems like a false economy to skimp on the walnut.

Have you considered using plywood and birdseye maple veneer instead of solid birdseye maple?
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-12-2018, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bholland View Post
Yea. I was just told by someone here that using something like red oak with birdseye maple is just not that great and white oak is worse. Like, for reference, I can get walnut for about 9.50 a BF, quarter sawn white oak for about 6.50, and red oak for about 4$. The maple was pricey at about 7.50 but that is my favorite wood and this is going in my home, so I don't really mind. Also, I won't need too much of it. Using walnut for trim around each of the birdseye maple pieces will add up rapidly.
Doesn't really make sense does it?

If you are willing to pay for the maple, and you know walnut is going to look fantastic with it(it will), then why are you scrimping?

Have you figured out how much you need to show you how much of a price difference there really is?

Can't imagine you are going to need more than 50bf, something cheaper than walnut is likely still $6.50 to $7.50(cherry would look good too), so you are saving $2 to $3 a bf, or $100 to $150. Not much for something you want to be nice that is going in your home...

Last edited by shoot summ; 12-12-2018 at 09:48 PM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-12-2018, 09:58 PM
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Is there a sawmill in your area, a small independent maybe? I buy kiln dried, unsteamed, rough Walnut directly from a sawmill about 40 minutes away. The cost is less than the Quarter Sawn White Oak price you mentioned. I can go across town to the only hardwood supplier in our area and they want $12 - $14 per board foot for steamed Walnut. I've never bought Walnut from them because I don't like steamed and won't pay that price.

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post #8 of 10 Old 12-13-2018, 06:52 AM
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cherry goes beautifully with maple. if you can't swing the cherry, poplar with cherry stain looks very close.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-13-2018, 07:03 AM
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You may not know what steamed walnut is. Walnut is so hard to find that they steam it to make the sap (whitewood) dark. What happens is some of the dark color bleeds over and makes the sap wood dark but it also makes the dark wood lighter. So what you wind up with is a mess where nothing looks as it should.
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Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-13-2018, 11:30 AM
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If you can find it, purple heart. Contrasts nicely with most other woods, dark or light.
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