bedroom furniture set #1: choosing the wood, an oak/maple contrast?

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Blog entry by martin007 posted 10-22-2008 03:28 PM 7102 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of bedroom furniture set series no next part

Hi all

I am in the process of designing and choosing the wood for our new bedroom furniture set. I have plenty of red oak and hard maple, along with some curly maple in the shop. I wood like to use the lumber in the making but I worry a little bit of the final look of the oak/maple contrast. I have searched in the projects section for a maple / oak furniture and haven’t found one. I have seen a lot of cherry/maple, walnut/maple etc. but never oak/maple.

The first piece to be built will be a chest of drawers. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to for a solid wood carcase or frame and panel, so everything is pretty much in the air right now.

Any suggestion is welcome and any link to a picture of a oak / maple piece would be nice


-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

8 comments so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4507 days

#1 posted 10-22-2008 03:52 PM

I would not mix oak and maple because maple is a very hard wood and oak is a softer wood also I don’t think it would look good I build one and I used all maple it came out real nice….also both wood dont take the varnish the same

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4490 days

#2 posted 10-22-2008 04:47 PM

I won’t say don’t do it, but I would think the contrast isn’t enough to really “POP”. (I can’t believe I used that word like that) To me, those woods are just too similar in “color”, even if the oak is “Red”. If you want the woods to stand out, then I’d pick something darker, The Cherry even, to go with the Maple, as it’s mostly always harder than the Oak will ever be. At least in my (limited) experiences with Cherry.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 4617 days

#3 posted 10-22-2008 05:03 PM

To me, personally I don’t like that combination. The Oak with its open pore and pronounced grain just doesn’t go with the tight grain and refined look of maple. There is just something about that combination that visually doesn’t apeal to me. But we all have different tastes and these types of thing are largely subjective. If unsure I would build a test piece of the frame and panel construction and I would follow the entire process through the finish schedule so that you can see what the combination will look like before you put all that effort into your project.

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4532 days

#4 posted 10-22-2008 05:30 PM

A lot of good comments here. I personally do not favor Oak because of the grain as bfd has mentioned. It’s a very pronounced, rustic grain and is excellent for floors and rustic furniture if you like that look. (I prefer a more modern, sleek look, although my floors are Oak as they are originial to my 1956 circa home.)

One way to satisfy your dilemma would be to make a small item out of these woods and see if you like the results. A picture frame made of one wood, then place the other wood behind it (like a floating panel door) to give you the idea of the finished project.

I love the figured maple so I’m leaning towards that as part of the project. Maple & Cherry, or Maple & Black Walnut are good tried and true combinations.

Let us know how your project comes along.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View ben's profile


158 posts in 4680 days

#5 posted 10-23-2008 04:10 AM

While I agree that oak and maple don’t easily slap together, they’re far from incompatible.

I just built a tool cabinet with white oak (QS) case and door frames, with coopered maple panels. It’s gorgeous, and the frame and panel provides enough “separation” to mix the two divergent woods nicely. Once I get the shellac on it I will try to post some pictures as a reference. In the meanwhile here is a poor picture from earlier:

Also, you can often play games with (pre)finishing to either hide or accentuate grain differences, and reduce the contrast inherent in the oak. I am no expert on the topic though.


View martin007's profile


142 posts in 4585 days

#6 posted 10-23-2008 03:22 PM

thanks all for your comments

Ben, your tool cabinet looks very nice indeed, looking forward to see it finished. I might just give oak/maple a try by making a mockup like bfd and mmh suggested

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4483 days

#7 posted 12-07-2009 03:08 AM

This going to be fun.

View Shoni's profile


4 posts in 2216 days

#8 posted 08-27-2014 05:54 AM

Yes all are right because these two different woods combination is not good. it makes your furniture bad.


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