Cabinet in White Oak

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Project by bygrace posted 05-29-2019 09:05 PM 904 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A floor standing cabinet in white oak. The customer I built this for wanted beadbaord panels in the doors and all I could find was red oak, so i used an “esspresso” stain under the red mohagany stain I used on the rest of the cabinet. This took out the pink shade of the red oak. It turned out darker, but I dont mind that. Looking back, I wish I had used something with less obvious grain in the beadboard, its too “busy”. I used mortise and tenon joinery, with dowels more for looks and detail than extra support. One problem I was unable to resolve is with the quarter sawn white oak ply on the sides and back. The strips of veneer stained different tones as you can see in the last photo. I tried using a toner mixed with amber shellac, but my inexperience shows. So my question is, is the typical of stained plywood, or just a poor quality plywood? If you’ve had a similar experience or answer, please let me know! It was a.real disappointment for an otherwise satisfying project.

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

16 comments so far

View Knockonit's profile


675 posts in 982 days

#1 posted 05-29-2019 10:05 PM

wow, beautiful unit, until i read the details, was thinking the color toning was great and came off well, and intended.
I think it looks fine, as for plywood, i hate having to attempt to stain it, seems it almost never stains like solids, unless you are of course one of the gurus of stain, which i also am not one of.

looks great, imo, nothing like white oak, absolutely beautiful grains
rj in az

-- Living the dream

View Andre's profile


3574 posts in 2585 days

#2 posted 05-29-2019 10:07 PM

That is some amazing grain, even if it is stained:)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View bygrace's profile


198 posts in 2749 days

#3 posted 05-29-2019 10:41 PM

Knockonit – I do like the color of both the doors and the hardwood, just think the grain of the bead board competes too much with the white oak. My only problem in staining was with the quarter sawn white oak ply on the sides and back. You can see in the last photo the striping. I have noticed that ply seems to stain darker than hardwood, so I sanded the hardwood to 180 and the ply to 320. Maybe that’s part of the problem.

Andre – I don’t particularly like to stain hardwood either, with white oak being an exception. Just a simple oil finish and let the natural beauty shine through. Some day I will experiment with fuming white oak.

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

View Bud_3's profile


907 posts in 2004 days

#4 posted 05-30-2019 12:36 AM

Great work!

-- Personality and character of a man is like wood,you must polish it to shine.....

View Redoak49's profile


4756 posts in 2768 days

#5 posted 05-30-2019 12:47 AM

Nice job….

I am trying to decide about the bead board . I love the finish on the cabinet and the way it brings out the grain. I also like the finish on the bead board but not the combination of the two grains. I think “busy” may be a good description of the bead board. Overall, it is an I interesting combination.

View mjon's profile


58 posts in 4559 days

#6 posted 05-30-2019 02:34 AM

Next time try dyeing for your first coat,then shellac, then stain,finish off with waterlox.sometime plywood veneer is super thin so you can get bleed through,always do a sample before the real thing. Fuming sucks !
Good luck. Michaeljon

View therealSteveN's profile


5783 posts in 1354 days

#7 posted 05-30-2019 02:39 AM

That RO ray fleck is a rocking on that piece. I kinda like the door finish, yep it is darker, but I was reading to see what kind of fancy pants veneer that was. I saw “beadboard” and went hummmmmmmm.

I like it, and that is saying something, because I am not fond of RO.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9561 posts in 3108 days

#8 posted 05-30-2019 01:53 PM

Love the QSWO ray flecks… makes for a stunning piece.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View BrianHurstWW's profile


56 posts in 621 days

#9 posted 05-30-2019 02:17 PM

Nice! I really like the tonal balance on the red and white oak. I think the different grain patterns help accentuate each other.

View bygrace's profile


198 posts in 2749 days

#10 posted 05-30-2019 02:27 PM

Bud_3 Thank you!

Redoak49 – yeah, although I like the grain on the bead board, I think it detracts from the white oak.

mjon – yes, first time using stained ply in a project. Next time I’ll experiment with a scrap piece before it gets assembled.

The realSteven – the hardwood is actually quarter sawn white oak and I also like the contrast with the darker panels, would’ve just liked a calmer grain in the door panels so it wouldnt compete with the WO.

Mainiac matt – QSWO – you either love it or hate it!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

View pottz's profile


9940 posts in 1764 days

#11 posted 05-30-2019 05:17 PM

gorgeous,some of the nicest oak ive seen.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6160 posts in 3593 days

#12 posted 05-30-2019 06:12 PM

I think the quartersawn plywood looks pretty good. That is typical of how I expect white oak ply to finish. If I need something more uniform, I’ll glue up solid white oak panels. Even that is no guarantee. And it adds time and cost to the project that some customers aren’t willing to pay.

Another thing I’ve realized over the years is that woodworkers think grain should look uniform. Yet if I look at a piece of furniture that someone else made, often my favorite pieces have somewhat uneven grain / color / or character. If we truly wanted bland, uniform panels… Formica would be a lot more popular.

Nice work and thanks for sharing.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View splintergroup's profile


3801 posts in 2002 days

#13 posted 05-30-2019 06:46 PM

Wow! I also think that QSWO is exceptional!

Your plywood issue may be chatoyance. Look at it as it sits and observe which flitches in the group are darker and which are lighter. Flip the piece onto its top and look again. If the dark/light has switched (what once was dark is now light, etc.) the flitches on that plywood were probably alternated in grain direction. What you would be seeing is not different stain absorption, just different grain orientation.

View sansoo22's profile


912 posts in 434 days

#14 posted 05-30-2019 07:07 PM

I like the whole thing. I don’t think its too busy at all. The fact you used continuous grain on the bead board lets your eyes just focus on it. Or you can visually explore the rest of the beautiful grain and craftsmanship of the white oak. In fact after further review the grain pattern in the red oak bead board assists with drawing the viewer’s eyes across the piece. From an artistic standpoint i think you have a great composition going on there.

View bygrace's profile


198 posts in 2749 days

#15 posted 05-30-2019 08:23 PM

pintodeluxe – thanks for your input, all valid points. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Splintergroup – didnt think of chatoyance, that could be it. Ill have to check that out on the leftover pieces.

sansoo22 – thank you for your kind words. I’m trying to pay closer attention to grain and how I use it. I tend to be too hard on myself. I guess I need to quit doubting myself and just go with my gut.

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

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