Joining multiple species of wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-09-2018, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Joining multiple species of wood

I was surprised that this has no good hits on google.

I am designing my living room furniture. I am going to use birdseye maple (golden stain) with a white oak trim of about 2 inches ("oak" stain) I think this is going to look great but when I mentioned this to some friends they pointed out problems with wood having different properties of expansion. They recommended a breadboard as the cross grain joint but mentioned this was not as easy as it sounded, particularly with wood like mahogany.

I am thinking through a few more designs but realized there is probably a lot about mixing and matching wood that I simply don't know, particularly regarding larger pieces. Can you recommend a good reference or what I should be searching for? Do you have any tips and tricks?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-10-2018, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bholland View Post
I was surprised that this has no good hits on google.

I am designing my living room furniture. I am going to use birdseye maple (golden stain) with a white oak trim of about 2 inches ("oak" stain) I think this is going to look great but when I mentioned this to some friends they pointed out problems with wood having different properties of expansion. They recommended a breadboard as the cross grain joint but mentioned this was not as easy as it sounded, particularly with wood like mahogany.

I am thinking through a few more designs but realized there is probably a lot about mixing and matching wood that I simply don't know, particularly regarding larger pieces. Can you recommend a good reference or what I should be searching for? Do you have any tips and tricks?

Thanks!
Usually when you mix species of wood you use species that are dramatically different such as mixing maple and walnut. I don't think you would get the benefit you are looking for mixing birdseye maple and white oak. The color of the two woods are too close alike. Even mixing red oak would be more of a contrast. Then with oak you would have the issue of finishing. Maple is a very tight grain wood which would finish smooth where oak is a very open grain wood which you could see the texture of the wood in the finish. To make it look right you would have to mask off the maple and use a grain filler on the oak to make the surface uniform.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-10-2018, 09:41 AM
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Mixing species of wood is not a problem, woodworkers have done it from the early days of Woodworking, using less desirable wood where it doesn’t show.

The problem you can have with any species of wood is not designing for the inevitable expansion and contraction of the wood caused by humidity changes. Properly executed breadboard ends are just one example of designing table tops with humidity changes in mind.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-10-2018, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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What are other ways that I might accomplish what I am after?

Also, I wanted to do quarter sawn oak trim to offset the grain pattern in the maple. I like the idea of wavy dense lines with speckled knots offset by very smooth and finished lines. I will have to think more about this though and look through a bit more selection.

BTW, the oak will get a different stain than the maple. The colors will be quite different in contrast.

Last edited by bholland; 12-10-2018 at 10:57 AM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-10-2018, 12:55 PM
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I think you need to come up with a sketch of a piece so we can offer suggestions on potential problem areas. Starting on easy pieces first will give you a chance to learn how to design more complicated pieces later.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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