Reply by Fred Hargis

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Posted on Is this birch or maple? Which should I use?

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Fred Hargis

5760 posts in 3008 days

#1 posted 01-30-2017 07:55 PM

It could be either, but I’m guessing (and it is a guess) it’s maple. Actually I see little difference in the cost of maple versus birch around me but that might be a regional thing. I’ve mixed the two woods in the same piece and had very good results. I don’t see what you want to do as being very hard, and for flat panels/shelves I would use plywood. For the shelves I would band the edge with hardwood…though your comment about “sending it through the sander” puzzles me. Most plywood is finish sanded to about 150 grit equivalent, and the surface veneers can be a little thin…sending such a piece “through the sander” might make it a fairly useless piece of wood. If any of the other parts will be frame and panel (like those doors) use hardwood for the frame and plywood for the panels. I can’t imagine you will need any veneer if you get a good quality maple (my choice) plywood. Your finish matching will go beyond stain (if there is any), that top coat could be tricky to match. Coloring maple is a real effort, it tends to blotch. If those pieces are colored you might be better off using dyes.

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