Lumber choice for project

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Forum topic by Umpire20 posted 01-26-2010 03:47 AM 1289 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 3661 days

01-26-2010 03:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood oak birch

Gentlemen and Ladies,

I am headed off to the lumber yard in the morning to pick up the necessary wood to build my first Kreg project. It is the small bookcase.

I’ve been to Lowes and Home Depot in search of the wood. I found hardwood plywood in 3/4 and 1/4 sizes in Oak and Birch. However, I can only find Red Oak, Pine, Aspen, and Poplar to use as the “face frame” material.

I like the look of the Birch plywood and that would be my choice. My question is this ….. can I mix the other “face frame” woods with the birch (and will it look ok) or should I just switch to Oak for the whole project.

This may sound silly, but I’m not sure how each of the different woods will take the stain and I want this to look good when it’s done.


-- Steve, New Mexico, USA

5 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4824 days

#1 posted 01-26-2010 04:17 AM

It’s a good question. Different woods will definitely take stain differently.

Of the woods you mentioned, I think pine would be the best match for that birch ply. The color will be fine, but stain will accentuate the grain in the birch, while the pine frame will have less grain. The only way to know if you will be happy with the look is to experiment with smaller pieces of lumber and plywood. Apply the stain you plan on using, and see how they look.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View CoolDavion's profile


466 posts in 4430 days

#2 posted 01-26-2010 04:44 AM

I used birch ply and pine screen moulding from HD on the is project
Click for details
and it matches pretty close.

Your best bet would be to try out some test pieces to be sure of the results

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View Umpire20's profile


20 posts in 3661 days

#3 posted 01-26-2010 11:12 PM

Well, as luck would have it, I went to a different lumber yard (SUTHERLANDS) and found Birch plywood in my 2 required dimensions and also found MAPLE for all the “face frame” type stuff. And I saved about $15.00 vs. the pricing at Lowes.

That’s what I purchased and I do plan to “test stain” some of my “left-over” materials to get an idea of how it will look when assembled.

Thank you all for your suggestions.

-- Steve, New Mexico, USA

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4801 days

#4 posted 01-27-2010 12:25 AM

As part of your test staining, I would recommend sanding fine enough to finish, applying Zinsser’s sanding sealer first, & when dry do a light sanding, and then stain. This will eliminate the possible blotchiness you might get in the plywood without sealing it first. Try it that way on the other wood, too. I find that gel stains seem to give me better control in application on both sealed & unsealed woods.

I believe this way will allow you to better match the 2 woods to each other. You can let the stain dry & apply additional coats if needed to darken. The birch & maple sound like a good combination.
The sanding sealer dries pretty fast so it won’t add too much time to your project. Make sure to allow the stain adequate dry time & then coat with a good polyurethane or finish of your choice. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4491 days

#5 posted 01-27-2010 01:26 AM

FWIW – I’ve had good luck matching birch plywood with oak edge banding using golden oak stain. As was said earlier seal the maple 1st or it will probably be blotchy. YMMV

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

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