rodger.

What domestic hardwood combinations to you like?

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I have been playing around with combining various wood species for interest. I don't work with exotics very much, so I'm sticking to the domestics. I was just curious if anyone came across a nice combination they would like to share.

I combined walnut (heartwood) with white ash, and it made a pleasing effect.

Please post photos if possible. I'll update and post a photo when I'm back in the shop.

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My default answer to this question is always walnut, cherry and maple.  Pick two of the three and it's really hard to go wrong.  The more important question is what are you building and what effect are you going for?  In-your-face contrast or subtle complement?  What parts of the build are going to be made of which species?  You can build a piece with two species and get drastically different results just by flip-flopping the colors, or by reducing the amount of one of the species.  A complete failure can go to home run with only tiny adjustments...and vicey-versy.

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My default answer to this question is always walnut, cherry and maple.  Pick two of the three and it's really hard to go wrong.  The more important question is what are you building and what effect are you going for?  In-your-face contrast or subtle complement?  What parts of the build are going to be made of which species?  You can build a piece with two species and get drastically different results just by flip-flopping the colors, or by reducing the amount of one of the species.  A complete failure can go to home run with only tiny adjustments...and vicey-versy.

Yes, I believe what you say to be true. I was just looking for generalities so I could experiment a bit more. I was thinking of incorporating this into my 10 x 10 challenge. I may go with walnut and ash, or walnut and white maple. I like the contrast of the colours. Walnut will prob be dominant, with ash or maple as compliment.

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I do walnut highlights on cherry anything... But if you were thinking of walnut as your primary, I'd say holly might not be a bad highlight, as it will be much sharper than ash/maple...

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I've done a couple of cherry dressers with walnut pulls...  understated, but nice (at least my wife thinks so)...

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All the above combos. Don't forget that even within all the species mentioned you can also do a lot with different figures - flame birch, curly cherry, quilted or tiger maple, etc.

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I would suggest trying to mix domestics where one of them has some figure. I think Tiger Maple and Walnut would make for a nice combination but like Eric said, it really depends on how its used. I do a lot of two-tone building. I just recently built a steamer trunk out of purple heart and cherry. I used ph for the rails and stiles and cherry for the panels. I am not sure it would look as good if I had reversed the two woods.

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Here is a little two-sided picture frame i made for my wife as a last minute birthday present. I used purpleheart, hickory and walnut. i originally planned on using poplar or maple to delineate between the PH and walnut but when i starting picking through my scrap pile and trying different combinations I thought the hickory and walnut looked much nicer together. This is a combination I will be looking to use more of.post-14089-0-01392900-1381111377_thumb.j

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+1 on hickory and walnut. It is a more subtle contrast than walnut and maple. If you want a stark contrast, go with walnut and maple. 

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Coordinating colors is one thing, trying to coordinate grain is another. I often see projects where, to me, the grain of one wood is competing with the other. I think it helps if one of the woods is mostly straight grain so the figure of the other species can stand out more. I also try to avoid 50/50 mixes because then the two species can compete too much. It can be done but is more difficult, at least for me. I think it works better when a single species is 75%+ of the project and the other woods are used for highlights.

Another combination that is nice is quartersawn sycamore and walnut. The ray fleck in QS sycamore can have a walnut tone when finished so combining with walnut can really make the fleck pop.

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Walnut primary and holly accents would be impressive. Use a really clear finish to prevent putting amber tones over the holly.

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Okay, I use a ton of Walnut. A ton of Cherry and a ton of Maple.

Mostly because I can get rough cut 8/4 Walnut at about $1.20/bf. Similar story with Maple.

Cherry, on the other hand, is tougher to find, but I just like it. So, I use it.

 

So, I tend to mix and match the above a lot.

 

BTW - I can also get tons of White Oak for a song, but I for what ever reason I'm just not a huge fan of the white oak.

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Okay, I use a ton of Walnut. A ton of Cherry and a ton of Maple.

Mostly because I can get rough cut 8/4 Walnut at about $1.20/bf. Similar story with Maple.

Cherry, on the other hand, is tougher to find, but I just like it. So, I use it.

 

So, I tend to mix and match the above a lot.

 

BTW - I can also get tons of White Oak for a song, but I for what ever reason I'm just not a huge fan of the white oak.

 

I use QSWO frequently.  People often type-cast oak as being only good for "golden oak" finished red oak or QSWO with a dark mission-type finish.  However, QSWO with a clear finish looks great and, to me, stands up there with cherry or walnut in terms of versatility and looks.  

 

I did a table top for my kitchen with QSWO and an Arm R Seal finish and whenever I tell people (not woodworkers, but "average" people) it is oak, they say "no its not".   And it also works well with walnut.  It gives you enough contrast so that you can see the difference, but no so much that it looks exagerated.   So, if you ever get bored of using maple, walnut and cherry (not likely, I know :)), give it a try.  I built a cutting board out of cherry with a piece of QSWO going down the middle, and the QSWO really glistened next to the cherry.  Sanded to a higher grit it really polishes nicely, especially the ray fleck.  Combined with the softer, more matte look of cherry, it had a nice contrast in color and texture. 

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I use QSWO frequently. People often type-cast oak as being only good for "golden oak" finished red oak or QSWO with a dark mission-type finish. However, QSWO with a clear finish looks great and, to me, stands up there with cherry or walnut in terms of versatility and looks.

Not an experienced woodworker, but I agree. I'm not a fan of oak because of the huge pores, and because it's usually what I work with, and I don't care for red oak. But quarter sawn white oak is really pretty, and looks great with a clear coat. Especially when it's tighter grain.

And I appreciate this thread. I've not done much wood mixing. I'm working on a walnut and ash book, and I'll post when I finish it.

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I use QSWO frequently.  People often type-cast oak as being only good for "golden oak" finished red oak or QSWO with a dark mission-type finish.  However, QSWO with a clear finish looks great and, to me, stands up there with cherry or walnut in terms of versatility and looks.  

 

I did a table top for my kitchen with QSWO and an Arm R Seal finish and whenever I tell people (not woodworkers, but "average" people) it is oak, they say "no its not".   And it also works well with walnut.  It gives you enough contrast so that you can see the difference, but no so much that it looks exagerated.   So, if you ever get bored of using maple, walnut and cherry (not likely, I know :)), give it a try.  I built a cutting board out of cherry with a piece of QSWO going down the middle, and the QSWO really glistened next to the cherry.  Sanded to a higher grit it really polishes nicely, especially the ray fleck.  Combined with the softer, more matte look of cherry, it had a nice contrast in color and texture. 

 

Photos?

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I don't see much mention of it but i love walnut and madrone.  I just scored  bunch of black locust and have been struggling to find a complementary wood choice for it.  any ideas? post-14725-0-92120100-1384020984_thumb.j

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