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I have always been the most fond of furniture styles that are NOT made all from the same wood.

I really liked the mid-century modern oak and walnut combination back in the day. Lot's of modern European/Danish etc. styles include contrasting lighter and darker woods.

I wanted to get some guidance on some alternative darker woods that will contrast well with the most readily available lighter woods such as cherry and maple. (and around here in NC, hickory and poplar)

The go-to example of a darker-but-nowhere-near-black wood for me is Walnut. I like it, but would like to explore some other similarly toned woods. Sapele seems like one possibility. Almost everything else seems to be "unobtanium", and is priced way higher, like way more than $10/bd foot. (mahogany, bubinga, and other even more exotic woods)

Do you usually just use stain to get contrast in your designs? Or are there some other reasonably priced alternative moderately darker woods that I'm missing?

If you go the stain route, what are the best "bang for your buck" woods for showing nice grain pattern after staining?
 

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Remember that cherry will darken significantly over time. I usually use Walnut, but that's because it's my favorite domestic wood.

Sapele is another good choice. At my supplier it's the same cost as walnut. I think hickory can be darker as well, but I could be wrong.

I don't use stain. I don't care for it at all. So, I can't help you there.
 

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I'm still new at this but i've read Oak is one of the best woods at taking a stain. It is supposed to be pretty hard to mess up. I have limited experience with traditional stains b/c i mostly use dyes and have done so with good results. Even with poplar.

I am looking at my local hardwood dealers price list and they have Mahogany (African and Philippine) and Sapele cheaper than walnut. Genuine Mahogany is significantly more expensive. Purpleheart and Jabuta is the same price as walnut and Paduk just a little higher.
 

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