Wood species recommendation for dining table


NASASteve
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Hi All - Next up in my project queue is to make a new dining table to replace the IKEA-special that's there now.  The table will measure almost 4'x8'.  

So, the question: The wife is asking looking at those pottery barn inspired dark espresso colors.  So, we've settled on General Finishes Java gel stain.  I'm debating what I should construct the table out of.  Obviously, the grain and figure of the wood will be largely hidden under the dark color.  Given that, what would you all recommend? I was thinking of hard maple for durability but it might be tough to get such a dark color in a light wood like that. Doesn't make any sense to use something expensive like walnut or mahogany.  Any recommendations?

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Depending on where you live, sapele may be as expensive as walnut.

I have never used the java stains but whatever you decide on,  test it out first.  I've made the mistake of committing to a finish just to get it on a project and go ooh crap. . Test on the material you intend to use = no surprises. 

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Ash would look good with a dark finish. You can see the grain patterns. 

What you want is not a stain , use dye. If you can spray use an alcohol or acetone based dye. Water based dyes can be hard to get an even consistent color especially over a large area. Practice before you try to finish a table that size. Pay special attention to careful consistent sanding to get an even finish, any flaw will show .

Soft Maple will work too. I haven't tried to dye hard maple that dark.

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Thanks all! Some great comments.  I just purchased some 6/4 sapele for a different project.  It's great, but it costs an arm and a leg here in the northeast.

I think Ash might be the way to go based on the suggestions here.  Poplar will be way too soft. 

I think I'll employ a finishing schedule as Mike and Steve suggested.  I'll spray a dye coat, followed by a top coat.  I was planning on spraying Target2000 as my topcoat.  Not sure if that will be compatible over an alcohol based dye coat.  (If I spray shellac, it'll bring the dye back up, right? Other advice here is appreciated.) Either way, after a top coat, I'll use the Java gel stain, followed by spraying the Target2000 waterborne alkyd after plenty of time to dry. Any other comments or criticisms are welcome.  I worry I'll start to outsmart myself soon!

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Ash would look good with a dark finish. You can see the grain patterns. 

What you want is not a stain , use dye. If you can spray use an alcohol or acetone based dye. Water based dyes can be hard to get an even consistent color especially over a large area. Practice before you try to finish a table that size. Pay special attention to careful consistent sanding to get an even finish, any flaw will show .

Soft Maple will work too. I haven't tried to dye hard maple that dark.

Agree completely. Here's a project I did recently for my wife w the same requirements. It's Ash and then dyed with SolarLux Jet Black. For a table you'll want to use 2 coats of pore filler unless you want to feel the grain. I did the pore filler after dye but mixed the dye w the pore filler. I used all Behlen's products. 7d36b6afc4dc79651437fc46b00b15ee.jpg Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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